The Flemish Government plans the first payment of the job bonus at the end of 2022, and a recent draft decree clarifies how this will be done.
The job bonus in a nutshell
The Flemish job bonus is a measure from the Jambon government's coalition agreement, which has been announced for several years and will become a fact as of 2022. It is a bonus that the Flemish government will pay to persons who work in Flanders at a relatively low salary. The job bonus is intended to increase the difference between people who are working and not working and thus boost the employment rate. For the implementation, the Flemish government resolutely opts for a pragmatic approach under its own management, outside the payroll administration of employers.
The job bonus is intended for employees (except student workers), statutory civil servants and cross-border workers, but NOT for self-employed persons.
- have their address in the Flemish Region on 1 January of the year following the reference year (thus on 1 January 2022 for the job bonus to the salary of 2021, etc.);
- have a salary/income below the thresholds laid down for this measure - see below
The place of employment is of no importance, but the employee must be subject to the Belgian social security system (except for cross-border workers).
According to the Flemish Government, a quarter of working Flemings are in the target group.
When will this job bonus be awarded?
The Flemish Government has to formally determine the starting date, but there is a political consensus to calculate a job bonus for the first time in 2022, based on the salaries and days worked in 2021. The first payment is expected at the earliest at the end of 2022.
Amount of the job bonus
The job bonus is an annual amount between €20 (minimum) and €600 (maximum), depending on the average gross salary during the reference year
Average gross monthly salary during the reference year
Annual amount of the job bonus
up to €1,800
from €1,801 to € 2,499.99
an amount decreasing from €600 to €20
The annual amount in the table represents full-time employment during the entire reference year. In case of part-time employment and/or incomplete year worked, the annual amount will be converted.
From awarding to payment in practice
This measure will be implemented through an operational partnership between the Employment and Social Economy Department (DWSE) and the Flemish Tax Administration (VLABEL)
The DWSE will be responsible for examining the requirements for awarding the bonus, processing salary and employment data and calculating the job bonus.
The salary and income data (and the days worked for the calculation on a pro rata basis, if applicable) are retrieved from the authentic source, in practice the dmfa. Entitled persons appearing in the dmfa do not need to apply, the job bonus will be paid automatically if the average salary is within the salary thresholds. Entitled persons who do not appear in the dmfa (cross-border workers) will have to make an application - an on-line application module will be provided.
VLABEL will be responsible for communication with the entitled persons, payment, handling of objections and possible recovery.
The payment can only start once a register of account numbers has been created - at the moment this information is not available to VLABEL or is not necessarily linked to the persons entitled to the job bonus. In this context, the Digital Flanders Agency will organise a survey and register the account numbers (in principle once only).
Frequency of payment
The intention is to calculate and pay the job bonus once per quarter (after registration of the dmfa). However, in a first phase (certainly in the starting year 2022) the annual amount of the job bonus will be paid out in one go.
The job bonus in the global income package and in tax law
The job bonus is in principle an income that counts towards the income limit of all kinds of allowances and that is taxable for personal income tax purposes. Without corrections, the job bonus is “taxed away” and/or taken back via shrinkage of other income sources.
The Flemish Government will intervene where it is competent and will exclude the job bonus for determining the entitlement to income-related measures such as the growth package, childcare, social housing, study grants, fares with De Lijn, social energy rate, etc.
The Federal Government must exempt the job bonus from personal income tax (the bill is in the legislative process). The Flemish government will only pay out the job bonus once the federal exemption is final.
Impact for the employer?
Based on the draft decree: none!
The awarding up to and including payment is in the hands of the DWSE/VLABEL duo, based on the data of the dmfa registered in the NSSO’s network.
Source: Draft Decree of the Flemish Government regulating the awarding of a job bonus (with explanatory memorandum), approved by the Flemish Council of Ministers on 19 November 2021.