Coronavirus: extension of the increased attachment thresholds

Author: Laurence Philippe (Legal Expert)
Date:

In order to mitigate the impact of the crisis on low-income earners and the temporarily unemployed, the exemption of attachment thresholds were raised. As a result, employees retain a larger part of their wages. This increase in the thresholds applies to both attachments and assignments.

The measure, which came into force on 24 December 2020, has been extended until 30 June 2021. The Council of Ministers has approved a further extension until 30 September 2021. The Royal Decree has yet to be published.

Reminder, the creditor who is seeking to obtain payment of the amounts due to him by his debtor may apply directly to his employer. This right is exercised mainly in two ways: either in the form of an attachment, either in the form of an assignment.

The attachment or the assignment shall be applied to the employee's net earnings, i.e. after the deduction of the social security contributions, withholding tax and other deductions (if any) intended to guarantee an additional social security benefit, with the exclusion of any other amount or deduction.

Moreover, it is true that only a part of these net earnings can be assigned or attached since the legislation has established income brackets within which the amount is liable to assignment or attachment. This is called the assignable or attachable amount of the earnings. The calculation of these amounts varies according to whether it regards an occupational income or a replacement income.

Moreover, the employee is entitled to an exemption if he has (a) dependant child(ren). This exemption shall be granted in the form of a reduction of the assignable or attachable amount.

From 24 December until 30 September 2021, the amounts (or income thresholds) for the calculation of the attachable or assignable portion are determined as follows:

Net monthly earnings

Attachable or assignable portion

 

occupational income

(employees or self-employed persons)

replacement income

Up to € 1,366

Nothing

Nothing

From € 1,366.01 to € 1,467

20 % of the amount between these 2 values, being € 20.20

20 % of the amount between these 2 values, being € 20.20

From €1,467.01 to €1,619

30% of the amount between these 2 values, being €45.60

40 % of the amount between these 2 values, being €60.80

From €1,619.01 to €1,770

40 % of the amount between these 2 values, being €60.40

40 % of the amount between these 2 values, being €60.40

Over € 1,770

The full amount is assignable or attachable.

The full amount is assignable or attachable.

The exemption for (a) dependant child(ren) has been raised to € 84.

Here you will find the thresholds applicable in 2021, outside this period.

Reminder: there is no limit if the attachment or the assignment is the result of a claim for payment of maintenance allowances or a claim for payment of the wages in application of article 221 of the Civil Code (assignment of earnings). The above mentioned income brackets are therefore not applicable in this case. The full amount of the employee's earnings shall be assignable or attachable. Furthermore, in that case the attachment or assignment has absolute priority over all other attachments or assignments (if any).

Source: Council of Ministers of 4 June 2021: "Covid-19: extension of certain measures within the competence of the Justice department”.

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