The aid measure for the hotel sector is extended for the third quarter of 2021

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Date:

The reduction in contributions for the hotel sector is extended by one quarter, and now runs over two quarters.   

Contribution reduction extended to two quarters

The support measure for the hotel sector initially ran for the 2nd quarter of 2021: see our Infoflash of 15 April 2021

As the domestic tourism sector was not able to pick up sufficiently in the 2nd quarter, the government aid is also granted in the 3rd quarter 2021.

This is a target group reduction, i.e. a reduction in employer's social security contributions.  In terms of amount, it is the largest possible reduction: the entire basic employer contribution is exempted (25.00%).

Which employers?

Definition of the hotel sector

The hotel sector in this context consists of the employers who:  

  • Fall under the joint committee for the hospitality sector (JC 302, employer category 017 or 317)
  • AND have as their principal activity the exploitation of a hotel or the provision of accommodation or have an establishment unit with this activity. 

These are the following NACE codes:

  • NACE 55100: hotels and similar accommodation
  • NACE 55201: youth hostels and youth residential centres
  • NACE 55202: holiday parks
  • NACE 55203: gites, holiday homes and apartments
  • NACE 55204: guest rooms
  • NACE 55209: holiday and other short-stay accommodation
  • NACE 55300: camping sites and sites for camping cars and caravans
  • NACE 55900: other accommodation

Decrease of turnover or wage bill

To open the right to the reduction, the employer must prove a decrease of at least 60% of the normal activity, regulated as follows on the basis of the VAT Code:

  1. employers subject to tax who are obliged to make a VAT declaration: effective turnover decrease of at least 60% in the quarter for which the reduction applies, versus in the corresponding quarter of 2019. The evaluation shall be done separately for each quarter:  
  • for the target group reduction 2nd quarter 2021, the turnover in the 2nd quarter 2021 must be at least 60% lower than the turnover in the 2nd quarter 2019
  • for the target group reduction 3rd quarter 2021, the turnover in the 3rd quarter 2021 must be at least 60% lower than the turnover in the 3rd quarter 2019
  1. employers not subject to tax and employers subject to tax without obligation to make a VAT declaration: decrease of the wage bill (declared to the NSSO) of at least 60% in the quarter for which the reduction applies, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019. Here, too, the evaluation shall be done separately for each quarter:  
  • for the target group reduction 2nd quarter 2021, the wage bill in the 2nd quarter 2021 must be at least 60% lower than the wage bill in the 2nd quarter 2019
  • for the target group reduction 3rd quarter 2021, the wage bill in the 3rd quarter 2021 must be at least 60% lower than the wage bill in the 3rd quarter 2019

Since the turnover or wage bill of the 2nd and 3rd quarter 2021 is part of the comparison, the evaluation can only be done after the closing of the 2nd or 3rd quarter 2021 and therefore after the registration of the dmfa for this quarter.

For employers who are obliged to make a declaration, the decrease of turnover can be verified on the basis of the VAT returns, while for other employers the decrease of the wage bill can be verified on the basis of the dmfa.

Which employees?

The reduction is applicable to five employees per establishment unit. Employees opening the right to reduction must come under JC 302.

Additional conditions

To guarantee entitlement to this reduction, the employer must simultaneously meet four additional conditions:

  1. Keep any employee for whom he applies the target group reduction in continuous employment continuously employed during the relevant quarter with reduction, except if that employee:
  • resigns
  • is dismissed due to urgent reasons
  • takes time credit/thematic leave
  1. Make a specific and individual training offer to all employees in 2021, both those in temporary unemployment and those employed (with or without target group reduction). The offer must cover at least 5 full training days per full-time equivalent employee, i.e. a full-time employee working the full period. For part-time employees, the number of training days can be reduced proportionally to the contractual working time.
  2. Do not implement any of the following actions in 2021:
  • payment of dividends to shareholders
  • payment of bonuses to members of the Board of Directors and the company's management staff
  • purchase of own shares.
  1. Inform the works council (in the absence thereof, in decreasing order, the trade union delegation or the employees themselves) about the application of this measure in the company and the conditions to be complied with, in particular with regard to the training offer. The regulations also refer to consultation with the employees (and employees’ representatives): in practice this mainly concerns the organisation of the training.

Compliance with the additional conditions cannot be checked automatically upon registration of the dmfa. The NSSO can/will conduct ad hoc monitoring a posteriori, possibly based on data mining.

In practice

Partena customers falling under JC 302 and one of the selected NACE codes received a personalized message inviting them to notify their "opt-in" for the application of the reduction in the 2nd quarter 2021, provided that:

  • confirmation of 60% drop in turnover or wage bill;
  • commitment to meet the additional conditions

An analogue message will be sent to these customers regarding application in the 3rd quarter 2021.

 

Source:

  • Draft law on temporary aid measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chamber doc. 2070/001 – subject to publication in the Belgian Official Gazette
  • Message on NSSO portal site

 

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