Associative work: the new legislation has been introduced

Author: Anne Ghysels - Isabelle Caluwaerts- Catherine Mairy (Legal Experts)
Date:

The legal provisions that regulated associative work were in effect until 31 December 2021. As of 1 January 2022, associative work is covered by new legislation now in effect.

In this Infoflash, we discuss the social, tax and labour law aspects.

Social aspects

The decision taken at social security level aims to include association workers in the social regime governed by Article 17 of the Royal Decree of 28 November 1969 on social security of workers.

Until 31 December 2021, workers falling within the scope of this Article 17 (socio-cultural sector) were not liable for social security contributions if they did not work more than 25 days per year.

Since 1 January 2022, the scope of this Article 17 has been extended to include association workers. The conditions that must be met in order not to be liable for social security contributions have also been modified.

Scope of Article 17

The employers and activities covered by the new Article 17 are:

  • the State, the Communities, the Regions and the provincial and local administrations for persons employed in a job involving work performed (Art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 1° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969):
    • in the capacity of responsible leader, administrator, caretaker, monitor or deputy monitor in the cycles for holiday sports organised during school holidays and during the days off or partial days off in education;
    • as an animator of socio-cultural and sports activities employed during the days off or partial days off in education;
    • by way of introduction, presentation or lecture, which take place after 4.30 p.m. or during the days off or partial days off in education;
  • the RTBF, VRT and BRF for persons who are included in the organic framework of their staff and are also employed as artists;
  • the State, the Communities, the Regions, the provincial and local administrations as well as employers organised as a non-profit association or as a company with a social purpose whose articles of association stipulate that the members do not seek any financial profit, who organise holiday camps, playgrounds and sports camps and the persons they employ as caretakers, stewards, monitors or security guards, only during school holidays (Art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 3° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969);
  • organisations recognised by the competent authorities or organisations that are affiliated to a recognised umbrella organisation and whose task is to provide socio-cultural training and/or sports initiation and/or sports activities and the persons that these organisations employ as  animators, leaders, monitors, coordinators, sports trainers, sports instructors, sports coaches, youth sports coordinators, groundsmen-material managers, teachers, coaches, process supervisors outside of their working or school hours or during school holidays (art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 4° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969);  
  • organisations in the amateur arts sector recognised by the competent authorities or organisations which are affiliated to a recognised umbrella organisation, which employ persons as artistic or (art) technical supervisors and teachers, coaches and process supervisors and whose work is not artistic work that is already covered or eligible for the flat-rate reimbursement of expenses (Art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 4° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969);
  • the organising authority of schools subsidised by a Community for persons employed as animators of socio-cultural and sporting activities during the days off or partial days off in education (Art. 17, § 1, paragraph 1, 5° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969);
  • organisers of sports events and the persons they employ exclusively on the day of these events, with the exception of paid sportsmen and women (Art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 6° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969);
  • organisers of socio-cultural events and the persons they employ for a maximum of 32 hours, to be spread according to the needs on the day of the event and 3 days before or after the event, excluding artistic work  that is already covered or eligible for the flat-rate reimbursement of expenses (Art. 17, § 1, para. 1, 7° of the Royal Decree of 28.11.1969). 

Work under Article 17 may not be performed:

  • between an employer and a worker already bound by a contract of employment, a statutory assignment or a services contract during a period of one year preceding the commencement of the work; 
  • by a worker already employed by the employer as a temporary agency worker.

These two prohibitions do not apply:

  • If, during the same period, a student employment contract bound the worker and the employer or if the employment contract was terminated as a result of a pension; 
  • Persons carrying out activities in the context of associative work such as:
    • artistic or technical-artistic supervisor in the amateur arts sector, the artistic sector and the cultural education sector;
    • facilitator of training courses, conferences, presentations or shows on cultural, artistic and societal themes in the socio-cultural, cultural education, arts education and arts sector

who have entered into a service contract between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021. The lifting of the ban is valid until 31.12.2022.

  • for persons employed by the RTBF, VRT and BRF.

 Conditions to be met

In order for the worker not to be liable for social security contributions under this article 17, quarterly and annual quotas must be observed.  These quotas differ according to the type of activity carried out under associative work.

Quotas

Type of activity performed

Annual quota

Quarterly quota

 

 

1st, 2nd and 4th quarter

3rd quarter

All activities carried out under Article 17

( = socio-cultural + current article 17 except RTBF-VRT-BRF)

300h

100h

190h

Activities in the sports sector

450h

150h

285h

RTBF-VRT-BRF

25 days/year

/

/

If a worker works in different sectors of activity covered by Article 17, the rules on the combination of quotas apply.

Quotas activities in the sports sector

 450h

+

Quota of all other activities carried out under Article 17

300h

= 450h

 

Exception: students

 

 

 

 

= 190h

We therefore note that the two quotas cannot be combined: it is not possible to work more than 450 hours in the sports sector and in the other sectors at the same time.

Remark regarding students 

Students may combine their two quotas:

  • 190 hours/year for Article 17 activities (regardless of the type of activity)
  • and 475 hours/year as a student.

The quarterly ceilings remain applicable.

Once one worked hour has been declared for the student under Dimona STU, the 190-hour quota (not the 450-hour quota) applies to him.

If the student exceeds the 190 hour/year quota, the hours will be charged to his student quota (475 hours).

Thus, if a student has already worked more than 190 hours under article 17 before he was declared as a student, his hour quota is 665 hours (190 hours under article 17 + 475 hours as a student)

The student will be able to consult his article 17 quota not only on the A17@work application but also directly on the Student@work application.

Consequences of exceeding the quota

If the quotas are exceeded, the entire quota of hours will be reclassified as classic hours worked subject to social security contributions. The NSSO will notify the exceeding of the quota by means of a blocking anomaly.

Social security contributions

Hours worked as an association worker within the quota are exempt from social security contributions.  No DMFA with the NSSO needs to be carried out for the worker.

Administrative formalities

As an employer, you are required to identify yourself with the NSSO and make a Dimona declaration for that worker. You can also consult the quota status on the A17@work application.

Both the specific "Article 17" Dimonas and the application are operational from 7 April 2022.

Identification with the NSSO

Although you do not have to make a DMFA declaration with the NSSO for the worker, you as the employer must identify yourself with the NSSO. After all, there is an employment contract between you and the worker.

To this end, the "WIDE" application has been adapted to enable you to identify yourself. You will be assigned a final registration number even if you do not employ staff subject to the NSSO.

Dimonas

Three new types of workers are created by the NSSO in Dimona:

  • Dimona O17: for the socio-cultural and other sectors;
  • Dimona S17:  for the sports sector;
  • Dimona T17: for the "article 17" activities at RTBF, VRT and BRF.

These Dimona declarations are to be made at the beginning of each quarter and not earlier than 15 days before the beginning of each quarter.

For Dimona declarations that should have been made as of 1 January 2022, the date on which the new legislation came into force, but which could not be made because these Dimonas only exist from 7 April 2022, a retroactive regularisation must take place.

We ask you to make the Dimona declarations without delay so that the quotas are corrected and in order.

Application A17@work

Through this application, the worker can:

  • consult the hours "A17" declared per quota;
  • consult the quota "A17" per quarter and for the year;

A remark "STU" will be made if the worker worked as a student and his maximum annual quota has changed (190 annual hours instead of 300/450 annual hours)

This application can be accessed at www.travailassociatif.be.

Tax aspects

Income from associative work, which is exempt from social security contributions under Article 17 (see "Social aspects" above), is subject to a 10% tax (20% minus a flat-rate charge of 50%) to be paid at the time of the tax assessment.  This only applies if the gross amount of income received from associative work and the collaborative economy does not exceed 6,540 €/year (2022 income). If the ceiling or the limits provided for in Article 17 are exceeded, the total remuneration from associative work during the calendar year will be considered as professional income.

Please note: The tax provisions are in draft form. They have yet to be confirmed.

Labour law aspects

Conclusion of a written employment contract

An employment contract must be concluded, in writing, between the employer and the worker performing work under Article 17 (see "Social aspects" above).

This employment contract is governed by the Act of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts, with some exceptions (see below).

Application of labour laws

A worker who works under Article 17 (§ 1, para. 1, 1° and 3° to 7°)  falls within the scope of the following legislation:

  • the labour Act of 16 March 1971;
  • the Act of 12 April 1965 on the protection of workers' wages and salaries;
  • the Act of 8 April 1965 on employment regulations;
  • the Act of 5 December 1968 on Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and Joint Committees subject to certain exceptions (see below);
  • Act of 4 August 1996 on the well-being of workers in the performance of their work;

Exceptions

Derogatory periods of notice

The period of notice to be observed in the event of termination of the employment contract (by the employer or by the worker employed under Article 17) must be stipulated in the employment contract.

If the employment contract is concluded for an indefinite period, the period of notice is:

  • minimum 14 days when the worker has less than 6 months seniority;
  • minimum 1 month when the worker has at least 6 months of seniority.

If the employment contract is concluded for a fixed term, the period of notice is:

  • minimum 14 days when the contract is concluded for a period of less than 6 months;
  • minimum 1 month when the contract is concluded for a period of at least 6 months.

However, we point out that these periods of notice may be modified by a CBA made compulsory by Royal Decree.

No entitlement to guaranteed pay in the event of incapacity for work under common law

In the event of incapacity for work due to an illness other than an occupational disease or an accident other than an accident at work (accident on the way to or from work), the (manual or non-manual) worker who is employed in application of Article 17 is not entitled to the guaranteed pay payable by the employer.

However, we point out that the entitlement to this guaranteed pay may be provided for in a CBA made compulsory by Royal Decree.

Not entitlement to certain pay supplements

A worker who performs work under Article 17 is excluded from the scope of CBAs that establish pay supplements for evening, night and Sunday work.

No entitlement to training

A worker who performs work under article 17 is excluded from the scope of application of:

  • the CBAs that govern the entitlement to training;
  • the provisions on training contained in the Act of 5 March 2017 on feasible and flexible work.

All aspects of the entitlement to training, including bonuses, allowances or other financial benefits, do not apply to this worker.

Non-application of the regulation on social documents

The worker who performs work under Article 17 is excluded from the scope of application of Royal Decree no. 5 of 23 October 1978 on the keeping of social documents (e.g. no individual account).

Combination of work

Work may be performed under Article 17:

  • by a benefit-eligible fully unemployed person;
  • by a socially insured person during a period of incapacity for work

but subject to certain conditions which vary according to the type of situation.

 

Sources:

  • Royal Decree amending various provisions relating to article 17 of the Royal Decree of 28 November 1969 implementing the Act of 27 June 1969 revising the Decree-Law of 28 December 1944 on social security for workers, Belgian Official Gazette of 30.12.2021;
  • Act of 17 March 2022 amending various provisions relating to article 17 of the Royal Decree of 28 November 1969 implementing the Act of 27 June 1969 revising the Decree-Law of 28 December 1944 on social security for workers, Belgian Official Gazette of 31.03.2022.
  • NSSO.

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