Increase of the price of the railcard: what are the consequences

Author: Jonas Verplanken (Legal Expert)

On 1 February 2021, the price of the SNCB rail card shall be increased by 1.95%. What impact does this increase have on the employer’s obligation to contribute to the commuting costs?

Collective bargaining agreement No. 19/9: a minimum obligation

The employer’s financial contribution to the price of the employees’ commuting travel is provided for by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) No. 19/9 which was concluded in 2019. The employers are obliged to pay a contribution when their employees use the train and/or any other means of public transport for their commuting travel. From 1 July 2020 onwards, employees are entitled to a contribution from the 1st kilometre onwards when they make use of public transport. No minimum distance is required any more.

CBA No. 19/9 has drawn up a schedule of lump sums which determines the employer 's contribution. This schedule applies according to the distance travelled. In 2019, these amounts corresponded to an average of 70% of the railcard's cost price. They remain unchanged.

Sector requirements often prevail

This agreement of the National Labour Council is supplementary, this means it establishes a minimum obligation. The majority of the sectors has concluded CBAs laying down more far-reaching requirements for the employers: higher amounts, contribution for the use of a private vehicle, bicycle allowance ...

For the sectors referring to the amounts of CBA No.19/9, the contribution remains unchanged on 1 February 2021. However, other sectors directly refer to the amounts of the railcard. In view of the increase of the fares, the amounts granted to the employees in these joint committees will go up on 1 February 2021. This is particularly the case for all employees who benefit from a third-party payer agreement (the employer pays a contribution of 80% of the price of the railcard, the state pays the remaining 20%). 

The maximum exempted amount of the bicycle allowance was not increased on 1 January 2021. This amount remains 0.24 EUR per kilometre travelled.

The transport costs within my sector

Please refer to the sector documentation for detailed information on the applicable amounts for each joint committee.

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