APE: everything changes on 1 January 2022

Author: Anne Ghysels (Legal Expert)
Date:

The Walloon employment aid, commonly known as APE (Aides à la Promotion de l'Emploi), will undergo a profound reform from 1 January 2022.

An implementing order has yet to be published but we are providing you with the major changes expected.

The aims of this reform are, in addition to administrative simplification, to make the jobs created under the current APE measure permanent and to create jobs that meet priority societal needs.

Initially, the Walloon Government and the Forem are working to ensure the sustainability of the jobs currently existing under the APE measure.

Who is eligible for APE aid?

As a private sector employer, you must belong to the non-profit sector, i.e. be:

  • A non-profit organization or a foundation of public utility;
  • A non-profit organization with legal personality whose purpose is to assist businesses;
  • A public service housing company (covered by the Walloon housing code);
  • A social real estate agency (covered by the Walloon housing code);
  • An IDESS

The non-profit sector is defined as the sector of activities which both:

  • Have a public utility;
  • Have no profitable aim;
  • Satisfy societal needs that would otherwise only be partially met.

The following are excluded:

  • Bodies with legal personality for vocational training activities as well as those subsidised within the framework of its organic or statutory tasks other than those whose purpose is to assist enterprises and which are subsidised by a public authority or a public interest body dependent on it;
  • Non-profit organizations and public utility institutions whose social purpose is education;
  • De facto associations.

The measure is also available to you if you belong to the education sector or the local, regional and community authorities.

What conditions must you meet?

Location

As an employer in the non-market sector, you must have an establishment in the French-speaking Walloon Region (excluding the German-speaking Community).

The employees for whom you benefit from the APE measure must be employed in an establishment unit in the French-speaking Walloon Region.

Exception: the APE measure as it exists until 31 December 2021 allows you to benefit from the APE aid for employees that you employ on the territory of another Region.

In the context of this reform, you must not relocate them. However, the Forem will notify you by letter the maximum number of APE employees that you can employ on the territory of a Region other than the French-speaking Walloon Region.

You can continue to benefit from the new aid for them provided that the number of employees you employ in the other Region (BCR or FR) is not higher than the number of employees who were employed there between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 under the old APE measure.

Employment volume

The Forem will carry out 3 controls:

  • Control of the volume of permanent employment: these the APE jobs.
  • Control of the global volume of employment: these are all the employees you employ. It is based on a snapshot of an average over 2017-2018-2019. The preservation of the global volume of employment is checked in year N+1, i.e. for the first time in 2023.
    • If your global volume of employment is higher than 5 FTE employees and you meet your obligation at 90%, your obligation is considered to be fulfilled.
    •  If your global volume of employment is less than or equal to 5 FTE employees and if you meet your obligation at 80%, your obligation is considered to be fulfilled.
    • If you do not meet your obligation, the amount of the grant for the year in question will be recovered to the extent of the global volume of employment not met.
    • If you fail to meet your obligation for 3 consecutive years, the amount of the grant will be permanently reduced by the amount of the decrease that has occurred in each of the 3 years.

The Walloon government has yet to determine how this global volume of employment will be monitored. The role of controller is entrusted to the Forem which will do so on the basis of data from authentic sources (DMFA).

  • Control of the cost actually borne by the employer for the APEs. The Forem will use the DMFA on 30 June 2023 for the year 2022. It is not excluded that the Forem asks you for some additional information to communicate via its interface.

Financial aid

The financial aid you receive as an employer when you employ employees with APE status will be a grant from 1 January 2022.

This means that you will no longer receive a reduction in your employer's social security contributions.

The grant you will receive is calculated by the Forem on the basis of the amount of the APE aid you have received during 3 reference years: 2017, 2018 and 2019.

It is paid in 4 quarterly instalments.

The Forem has provided you with the information you need to calculate your future APE grant on its website.

What must you do?

If you benefit the actual APE measure on 30 September 2021, you can continue to benefit the new APE measure as of 1 January 2022. 

You have probably already received information from your Federation and/or the Forem concerning the transfer of your current APE employees to the new measure.

Thanks to the credentials that were given to you by the Forem, you can activate your personal employer space. This is essential as you will need to complete the APE employee file (which you will need to keep up to date).

This will also give you access to the calculator in case you hire a new employee under APE status. The day before his recruitment, you can check his eligibility for the APE measure via the calculator.

Source: Decree of 10 June 2021 on the perpetuation of jobs created under the employment promotion scheme (APE) and the creation of jobs meeting priority societal needs, M.B. 01.07.2021

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