Holiday pay in case of corona unemployment in 2020: compensation for employers of non-manual workers coming soon

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)

The long-announced compensation will soon be calculated by the NSSO and will be deducted from the contributions of the 2nd quarter 2021.


In 2020, corona temporary unemployment was treated as days worked for the annual leave. Absence due to corona unemployment therefore entitles the worker, just like days actually worked, to annual leave and to the corresponding single and double holiday pay.

This equal treatment is based on a political agreement, in which it was negotiated that employers would not (fully) bear the cost.

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.

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.

In a nutshell

For the compensation, the government provides a closed budget of 93,582,741 EUR. 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 93,582,741 EUR is divided among the employers of non-manual workers having experienced corona unemployment in 2020, according to a well-defined allocation key that takes into account two data per employer:

  1. the share of corona unemployment among non-manual workers in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020: the higher this share, the larger the share of the budget that the employer can obtain at most.
  2. the share of corona unemployment among non-manual workers in the 2nd quarter of 2020 (reference quarter): the higher this share in the 2nd quarter of 2020, the more the compensation actually paid will approximate the ceiling set out in point 1 above.

The corona unemployment in the 2nd quarter 2020 determines the pro-rata rule applied to the maximum possible compensation. In this way, the overall budget will mainly benefit employers most affected by the first lockdown.

Calculation per employer in detail

Step 1 = Determine the average percentage of corona unemployment in the second quarter 2020

The higher the average percentage of corona unemployment among non-manual workers in the second quarter of 2020, the higher the final compensation may be.

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

Corona unemployment is identified by service 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-timers)
  • 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 gives the average percentage of corona unemployment, 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 second quarter. 5 of these experience 20 days of corona unemployment and 5 experience 30 days of corona unemployment (service code 77 dmfa).

5 x (20/65) + 5 x (30/65) = 3.85

3.85/10 = 0.385 = 39%

Step 2 = determine the compensation percentage

The compensation percentage determines the percentage of compensation:

Average % corona unemployment non-manual workers in second quarter 2020

Compensation percentage for this employer

< 10

No compensation

≥ 10 and < 20


≥ 20 and < 50


≥ 50


Continuation of the example

Employer X has an average corona unemployment percentage of 39% in the 2nd quarter of 2020. His compensation percentage is 66%.

Step 3 = calculate the compensation in EUR

The budget of 93,582,741 EUR is the starting point. An individual employer has a maximum share in this budget, in proportion to the share of his corona unemployment in the overall corona unemployment of 2020. 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 93,582,741 EUR

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 2020 (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 = 66%

Suppose the situation at employer X in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2020 is the same as in the 2nd quarter

A = (3.85 x 3) x 66% = 7.62

Suppose the sum of factor A for all employers combined = 1,000,000 

Compensation in EUR for employer X: 93,582,741 EUR x 7.62/1,000,000 = 713.10 EUR

In practice

The NSSO calculates the compensation automatically on the basis of the dmfa of 2020 - the employer does not have to make an application.

The result is deducted from the contributions due by the employer for the 2nd quarter 2021. Unused credit shall be carried forward to subsequent quarters provided that there are sufficient contributions.

During the 2nd quarter, each employer concerned will receive a message in his e-box, detailing the compensation.


- Act of 20 December 2020 on temporary support measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgian Official Gazette of 30.12.2020

- Communication of the NSSO to the payroll offices

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