Via our Infoflash of 29 June 2015, we already informed you that the social partners (viz. the organizations of employers and unions) of the joint committee 200 (ex JC 218) had decided to sign their 2015-2016 sectoral agreement. An important difference in this agreement was the granting of an annual bonus of €250. This annual bonus was then elaborated in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) of 9 July 2015, which comes into effect on 1 January 2016.
Seeing as 1 January 2016 is fast approaching, we go systematically through everything you need to know about the bonus, once more, below.
The annual bonus is part of the Act of 28 April 2015 serving to fix a maximum margin by which wage costs can increase for the years 2015 and 2016. For 2015, the social partners will heed the maximum envelope for negotiation of 0%. However, from 2016 onwards, the negotiating margin will return and the employers and/or sectors can then grant the following:
- a maximum increase of 0.5% of the gross salary bill (total costs for the employer, all charges included);
- this maximum margin can be increased by 0.3% of the total wage bill with no additional costs for the employer.
The social partners have therefore, in this regard, opted for a recurring, annual gross bonus of 250 EUR that will be granted, as from June 2016, to every full-time non-manual worker with a complete reference period.
Despite a common misconception about this, the annual bonus doesn’t come instead of the (still to be granted) eco-vouchers, but both systems will continue to exist, side by side.
Every full-time non-manual worker with a complete reference period receives an annual bonus of 250 EUR.
For part-time non-manual workers, this annual bonus is granted in proportion to the number of days that they have worked part-time. Example: A non-manual worker who works part-time, receives only 50% of the annual bonus (250 EUR x 50% = 125 EUR)
- non-manual workers dismissed for misconduct;
- non-manual workers who leave service during the reference year, but before 1 January 2016;
- non-manual workers whose annual bonus was converted into an equivalent benefit;
- a special arrangement for sectors with manual workers who have a sectoral, top-up pension scheme. The social partners reserve the right, as part of the harmonisation of manual and non-manual workers, to conclude – by 31/10/2015 at the latest – a sector-specific CBA, so that non-manual workers get these benefits too (e.g. the construction- and wood industry). If you are in this category, please wait a while until such a CBA is concluded before pursuing further a possible transfer/conversion of the annual bonus. We shall, of course, keep you posted as soon as we have any more information.
The reference period = a period of 12 months that runs from June of the calendar year prior to the calendar year in which the annual bonus is disbursed up and till May of the calendar year in which the annual bonus is disbursed.
Conditions for the granting thereof
- The amount of the annual bonus is calculated in proportion to the number of days actually worked and the days treated as such (= suspensions of the performance of the employment contract for which wages were paid, including guaranteed income, statutory leave, … plus the days-off for paternity leave and maternity leave) during the reference period.
Example: a non-manual worker on sick leave from 01/11/2015 till 31/01/2016 will receive 10/12ths of the annual bonus (250 EUR x 10/12 = 208 EUR).
- Only those non-manual workers who leave service in the course of the reference period for payment of the bonus and after 01/01/2016, shall receive a pro rata annual bonus based on the number of days actually worked and the days treated as such in 2016.
Example 1: a non-manual worker on the payroll since 01/01/2010, leaves service on 31/10/2016.
o 30/06/2015: the non-manual workers receives the full bonus of 250 EUR
o On 31/10/2016 the non-manual worker receives a proportionally adjusted annual bonus: 250 EUR x 5/12 = 104 EUR in annual bonus.
Example 2: a non-manual worker on the payroll since 01/01/2010, leaves service on 31/12/2015. As no hours were worked in 2016, the non-manual worker is not entitled to the annual bonus.
Example 3: a non-manual worker on the payroll since 01/01/2010, leaves service on 31/03/2016. In this case, the bonus will be proportionally adjusted based on the hours worked in 2016, viz. 250 EUR x 3/12 = 62.5 EUR.
Conversion of annual bonus into another kind of benefit
As the employer, you can also opt to convert the annual bonus into an equivalent benefit. In that case, every individual or collective increase that affects the total labour cost and which is individually distinguishable per non-manual worker will enter into the calculation (e.g. an increase in the monthly wage, the granting of (or an increased level of) luncheon vouchers, the contribution to the top-up pension, the hospitalization insurance bonus, …). It must, however, relate to new benefits.
The conversion need not happen via a company CBA; it can be done unilaterally by the employer. The procedure differs, of course, depending on whether the company has a trade union delegation or not.
IMPORTANT: If you opt for conversion of the annual bonus, certain procedures, formalities and time-limits should be observed, depending on the type of benefit you choose. For more information about this, please refer to the sectoral documentation on our Web portal (https://payroll.partena.biz/Home.aspx). For guidance and advice, contact Legal Partners, any time (firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 02/549.30.20).
Date of payment
The annual bonus shall be paid as from June 2016 (in June of each year) or upon leaving employment, together with the normal pay slip (only for those leaving service after 01.01.2016).
Source: CBA of 9 July 2015 concluded in the additional joint committee for non-manual workers within the framework of the Act of 28 April 2015 serving to fix a maximum margin by which wage costs can increase for the years 2015 and 2016 relating, more specifically, to purchasing power and the annual bonus
Author: Leen Lafourt