Closing of enterprises: simplification and harmonization in sight

Author: Anne Ghysels - Laurence Philippe (Legal Experts)
Date:

Changes are announced in the field of the closing of enterprises. These changes are expected to take effect on 1 July 2022. The ONEm/RVA has already communicated on this subject.

In addition, the salary brackets applicable for the calculation of the compensation contribution calculated on the contract termination indemnity for the benefit of the Closing Fund would also be modified as of 1 Januari 2023.

Compensations paid by the Fund for the Closing of Enterprises

Until 30 June 2022, the compensations paid by the Closing Fund are capped at 3 separate limits:

  • Remuneration, compensations and benefits due at the time of termination of the contract (with the exception of the severance pay): maximum of €6,750;
  • Holiday pay (non-manual workers): maximum of €4,500;
  • Termination indemnity: maximum of €25,000 from which the first two items are subtracted.

The Royal Decree should be amended with effect from1 July 2022, so that there is only one global ceiling. This ceiling is increased to € 30,500. This new ceiling applies to the closing of enterprises as of 1 July 2022.

Closing allowance: harmonization between manual and non-manual workers

When an enterprise with an industrial or commercial purpose that employed an average of at least 20 workers closes, the employer must pay certain workers a closing allowance. This concerns dismissed workers with at least one year of seniority and with a contract of indefinite duration. Until 30 June 2022 the dismissal must have taken place:

  • Within 12 months prior to the closing date for manual workers;
  • Within 18 months prior to the closing date for non-manual workers;
  • And during the 12 months following the date of closing of the enterprise.

The Royal Decree should be amended to harmonize the time limits. For closings occurring as of 1 July 2022, workers laid off in the 18 months prior to the closing of the enterprise will be entitled to the compensation whether they are manual or non-manual workers.

Compensation contribution on termination indemnities: change in salary brackets

The employer is liable to pay a special compensation contribution on the termination indemnities if the annual salary is equal to or higher than a certain amount. This amount is currently €44,509. It would be €50,166 as of 1 Januari 2023.

The contribution is calculated on the part of the termination indemnity that is constituted on the basis of work performance since 1 January 2014.

The amount of the contribution is a percentage that depends on the worker's annual salary. These salary brackets would be adjusted as of 1 Januari 2023:

  • 1% if the worker's annual salary is ≥ €50,166 and < €61,437
  • 2% if the worker's annual salary is ≥ €61,437 and < €72,707
  • 3% if the worker's annual salary is ≥ €72.707

These new amounts would apply for layoffs as of 1 Januari 2023.

These provisions have not yet been published in the Belgian Official Gazette. Changes are therefore still possible.

 

Sources

Opinion No. 2.306 of the National Labour Council - Closing of enterprises - Amendments to the Closing Act and the Act of 29 June 1981.

Opinion No. 2.290  of the National Labour Council - Closing of enterprises - Amendment of the Royal Decree of 23 March 2007.

Notice of the ONEm/RVA of 06.07.2022.

ONSS/RSZ

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