Temporary Support During The Energy Crisis

Published date18 November 2022
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Tax, Retirement, Superannuation & Pensions, Income Tax, Withholding Tax
Law Firmlus Laboris
AuthorClaeys & Engels

Belgium has introduced a state-supported temporary unemployment scheme for 'energy intensive' companies and other employment-related measures to help businesses and individuals facing the current energy crisis.

Today a new law setting out temporary support measures in response to the energy crisis was published in the Belgian State Gazette. This law seeks to provide both citizens and organisations with various measures to face the current energy crisis. Here we explore the measures that have an impact on the employment relationship, that is: temporary unemployment for energy-intensive companies and its possible consequences on pension accrual and the postponement of payment of income taxes and withholding taxes on professional income.

Temporary unemployment for energy-intensive companies

The law introduces a special system of temporary unemployment for energy-intensive companies, which exists alongside traditional economic unemployment systems and is subject to a specific procedure. It is a temporary system that will apply from 1 October to 31 March 2023. This period may be extended by Royal Decree.

A company is considered an energy-intensive company if it meets one of the following non-cumulative conditions:

  • the purchase of energy products, including energy products other than natural gas and electricity, constituted at least 3% of the company's added value in 2021; or
  • the company can prove that the final energy bill (not the advance bill) of the quarter before the application for unemployment has doubled compared with the bill of the same quarter last year.

An employer who wishes to make use of this scheme (temporary employment energy) for blue-collar and/or white-collar workers because of the energy crisis must make a declaration on honour using a C106A-Energy form to the National Employment Office (NEO) that the company meets at least one of these conditions. This must be done at least five calendar days before notification of the first day of unemployment.

In addition, the NEO, the employees concerned (via posting or individual notification) and the relevant consultation body (works council or if there is none, the trade union delegation) must be notified about the suspension of employment contracts and the economic reasons justifying it three calendar days before the first day of unemployment. The NEO must also be notified monthly about the first day of unemployment in that month.

In the event of a lack of work due to economic reasons, the...

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