Corona crisis: support measure for the hotel sector

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Date:

The hotel sector will receive an additional reduction in employer contributions, but only for the 2nd quarter of 2021.

A temporary target group reduction

The reduction is intended to support employment in the hotel sector in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

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:  

  • come 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. 

Decrease of turnover or wage bill

To be entitled to the reduction, the employer must experience a decrease of at least 60% of the normal activity, as follows:

  • employers subject to VAT: decrease of turnover of at least 60% in the 2nd quarter 2021 versus the  2nd quarter 2019
  • employers not subject to VAT: decrease of turnover (declared to the NSSO) by at least 60% in the 2nd quarter of 2021 compared to the 2nd of quarter 2019

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

For employers subject to VAT, 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.

The decrease of the turnover is considered at the level of the entire legal entity, this means that any activities other than the hotel (e.g. restaurant) are included in the comparison.

We are still expecting an instruction from the NSSO as to how these conditions will be verified.

Which employees?

The reduction is applicable for five employees per establishment unit exploiting a hotel or providing accommodation as defined in the scope.

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 between 1 April and 30 June 2021, except if that employee:
  • resigns
  • is dismissed due to urgent reasons
  • takes time credit/thematic leave
  1. Make a concrete and individual training offer to all employees in 2021

(those in temporary unemployment or actually working, 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.

  1. 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.

It is unclear how these conditions will be verified, again we are waiting for an instruction from the NSSO.

 

Source: Act of 2 April 2021 on temporary support measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgian Official Gazette of 13 April 2021.

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