Holiday pay in 2022 for unemployment due to corona in 2021: compensation for employers of non-manual workers

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Read time: 6min
Publication date: 11/04/2022 - 08:36
Latest update: 11/04/2022 - 10:25

The compensation for holiday pay following unemployment due to corona in 2021 will soon be calculated by the NSSO and will be deducted from the contributions of the 2nd quarter 2022.


In 2021, temporary unemployment due to corona was again treated as days worked for the annual leave. This means that absence following unemployment due to corona in 2021, entitles the worker, just like days actually worked, to annual leave and to the corresponding single and double holiday pay in 2022.

For manual workers, employers do not bear the cost of the equal treatment anyway, because the contribution for the sector annual leave (15.84%) is only calculated on the actual wages of their manual workers. It is the National Office for Annual Leave that funds the equal treatment (by granting an allowance).

The situation is different for non-manual workers: in this case the individual employer pays the single and double holiday pay on the (fictitious) pay for the days treated as days worked.  The compensation mechanism described below is intended for them. The compensation is calculated through a formula analogous to the one used in 2021 but based on a smaller budget (about half of the 2021 budget).

In a nutshell

To compensate the holiday pay 2022, the government provides a closed budget of 46,146,551 €. The compensation is therefore not calculated on the basis of the actual costs of each individual employer, as that would not respect the budget.

The closed budget of 46,146,551 € is divided among the employers of non-manual workers having experienced unemployment due to corona in 2021, according to a well-defined allocation key that takes into account two data per employer: 

  1. the share of unemployment due to corona among non-manual workers in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021: the larger this share, the larger the share of the budget that the employer can obtain at most.
  2. the average share of unemployment due to corona among non-manual workers in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021 (reference quarters): the larger this share, the more the compensation actually paid will approximate the ceiling set out in point 1 above.

Calculation per employer in detail

Step 1 = Determine the average percentage of unemployment due to corona in the first and second quarters of 2022

The higher the average percentage of unemployment due to corona among non-manual workers in the first and second quarter of 2021, the higher the final compensation may be.

The calculation starts at the lowest level, per quarter and per individual non-manual worker based on a "corona employment fraction":  days of unemployment due to corona/(13 x contractual number of working days per week)

Unemployment due to corona is identified by work code 77 dmfa.

The "corona employment fraction" follows the principles of the employment fraction (µ) structural reduction, this means:

  • that hours are used for the calculation for non-manual workers who are also declared in hours (e.g. part-time workers)
  • that, if necessary, an overall corona employment fraction is determined on the basis of partial corona employment fractions per line of employment. 

The average of the individual corona employment fractions of all non-manual workers, calculated over the first and second quarter 2021, gives the average percentage of the unemployment due to corona, which for the employer concerned continues in step 2 below.


Employer X has 10 full-time non-manual workers in a 5-day week in the first quarter of 2021. 5 of these experience 30 days of unemployment due to corona and 5 experience 40 days of unemployment due to corona (work code 77 dmfa).

5 x (30/65) + 5 x (40/65) = 5.40

To keep things simple, we assume that the situation in the second quarter has the same outcome - so the first & second quarters each have a total corona employment fraction of 5.40 for 10 non-manual workers each

Average over the two quarters: 5.40/10 = 0.540 = 54%

Step 2 = determine the compensation percentage

The compensation percentage determines the percentage of compensation:

Average % unemployment due to corona non-manual workers in the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021

Compensation percentage for this employer

< 41

No compensation

≥ 41 and < 51


≥ 51 and < 61


≥ 61 and < 71


≥ 71 and < 81


≥ 81 and < 91


≥ 91


Continuation of the example

Employer X has an average percentage of unemployment due to corona of 54% in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021. His compensation percentage is 50%.

Step 3 = calculate the compensation in EUR

The budget of 46,146,551 € is the starting point. An individual employer has a maximum share in this budget, in proportion to the share of his unemployment due to corona in the overall 2021 unemployment due to corona. The maximum share is reduced on the basis of the compensation percentage from step 2.

The regulation uses the formula: E x (A/T)

E = the budget of 46,146,551 €

A = the share in the budget of the individual employer: the sum of all corona employment fractions of the non-manual workers of this employer in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter of 2021 (calculation per non-manual worker as in step 1), reduced by the compensation percentage of step 2

T = the shares of all employers combined: the sum of all results A of all employers

Continuation of the example

We continue with the data of employer X

Compensation percentage = 50%

Suppose the situation at employer X in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2021 is the same as in the 1st and 2nd quarter

A = (5.40 x 4) x 50% = 10.80

Suppose the sum of factor A for all employers combined = 700,000 

Compensation in € for employer X:  46,146,551 € x 10.80/700,000 = 711.98 €

In practice

The NSSO calculates the compensation automatically on the basis of the dmfa of 2021 - the employer does not have to make an application.

The result is deducted from the contributions payable by the employer for the 2nd quarter 2022. Unused credit shall be carried forward to subsequent quarters provided that there are sufficient contributions.

At the end of June 2022, each employer concerned will receive a message in his e-box, detailing the compensation.



- Programme Act of 27 December 2021, Belgian Official Gazette of 31 December 2021

- NSSO portal site


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