SESAM: changes as from 1 April

Author: Anne Ghysels
Date:

The SESAM measure, which came into force in June 2013, allows small and very small Walloon companies to benefit from employment subsidies. 

Legal changes apply as of 1 April 2019. A new application form and a new digital platform are also being developed to simplify the application procedure for the employer and to optimise the administration of the ever-increasing requests.

By way of introduction, we ask you to consult this video published by the Walloon Public Service on its website: SESAM video from 1 April 2019

Legal changes

Brief overview of the measure

Employers

SESAM is a measure for small and very small enterprises that hire an unemployed job seeker. Foundations and associations are excluded.

Are concerned:

  • Self-employed
  • Micro-enterprises
  • Small enterprises

Some NACE-codes are not covered by this measure.

The employer must have an establishment unit in the French-speaking region in which he employs the person hired.

Employees

Under the SESAM measure, an unemployed jobseeker registered with the Forem may be hired.

Subsidy

The subsidy is a degressive flat-rate amount:

10,422 EUR

For the 1st year

7,816 EUR

For the 2nd year

5,211 EUR

For the 3rd year

(amounts for 2019)

This subsidy is increased for certain categories of employees. (2,605 EUR/year/employee - amount for 2019)

Procedure

Before proceeding with the hiring, the employer must have received the approval of the Administration to grant the SESAM subsidy.

What changes on 1 April?

  • The unemployed jobseeker may be a part-time employee with continued rights who receives an income guarantee allowance.
  • The Walloon Region uses the term "sole” enterprise (and no longer related companies) to verify the relations between the different companies;
  • The employer in bankruptcy has no access to SESAM (formerly these were enterprises in difficulty);
  • As regards the excluded NACE codes: service voucher companies were not previously excluded for administrative staff. This will be the case from 1 April: they are now completely excluded from the measure.
  • Obligation to maintain the employment: the employer must maintain the number of workers hired (calculated in FTEs) in relation to the average of the reference workforce established during the 4 quarters preceding the quarter preceding the date of receipt of the application for the granting of SESAM (previously 4 quarters preceding the application submission date)
  • Obligation to increase employment: the employer must increase the reference workforce of the number of FTEs envisaged in the grant decision for the duration specified in the decision.  This obligation is therefore now reduced to 1x the duration of the granting of the SESAM measure (instead of 2x the duration previously)
  • The categories of unemployed jobseekers eligible for an increase in subsidy have been amended:
    • The categories relating to economic growth and sustainable development have been deleted.
    • A young employee now refers to an employee younger than 25 years of age (instead of 30 years of age)
    • An older employee now refers to an employee of 55 years of age or older (instead of 50 years of age or older)
  • An increase per employee is possible (previously two could be combined)
  • The employer may not benefit from the grant for more than 5 FTEs simultaneously (calculated at the time of receipt of the application under assessment but including the FTEs for which the application is being made).  The maximum of 5 FTEs previously related to hirings and not to the grants. The Walloon Government became aware that there were more applications than hirings and wanted to put an end to this practice.
  • It is now expressly stated that SESAM cannot be combined with any redeployment programme or any other financial contribution to the employee's wage. However, this can be combined with a measure to reduce employers' social security contributions.
  • Enterprises that have already benefited from SESAM in the 3 years prior to receiving a new application must have fulfilled all the required conditions.
  • The "Employment Annex" required at the time of submission of the application is repealed. On the other hand, the sheets "Percentage of Employment" to be communicated to the Forem for each month concerned are retained.
  • The maximum amount of 55,000 EUR/year/enterprise is abolished. (However, the de minimis subsidy limitation remains applicable)
  • In the event of an incomplete application, the employer has 30 working days (previously 15 days) to further complete the application or to provide the requested additional information.

New Application Form

Since April 1, 2019, a new on-line form is to be used for all your SESAM subsidy applications.

This is managed by a new digital platform (see below).

Applying for a SESAM subsidy through a paper form is still possible. You can find it on the new platform or request it specifically by contacting the Administration, although they prefer you to use the digital format. 

Remark: attached you will find the information you requested (on-line or on paper):

  • "the references of the legal representative of the enterprise for which the subsidy is applied for;
  • the company number of this enterprise;
  • the contact person for managing the account (if necessary);
  • the enterprise's actual activities on the basis of the 2008 NACE codes adopted by the CBE and the percentage of turnover corresponding to each of these activities;
  • public aid falling within the scope of the de-minimis subsidy measures from which the sole enterprise to which the target enterprise belongs already benefits;
  • the result of the tool "Are you a SME? Take the test". This document contains:
    • the information necessary to determine the "sole" enterprise to which the enterprise concerned belongs and, where applicable, the figures of all related and partner enterprises.
    • the figures to be used in determining the size of the sole enterprise concerned (very small, small or medium-sized).
  • the acknowledgement of the commitments on honour as provided for in the financial incentive application form".

New digital platform

The new digital platform is called "Mon Espace" (formerly "Mon Espace personnel").

"Mon Espace" must be configured by you using your e-ID electronic identity card. This configuration must only be done once, before your first application.

Here is the link to the new digital platform and a video from the Walloon Public Service to guide you: Mon espace

Entry into force and transitional measures 

These changes come into force on 1 April 2019.

For all grant decisions prior to 1 April 2019

The terms and conditions in force on April 1 (= new decree) apply, except: 

  • the new list of excluded sectors;
  • the new rules governing increases

For these two exceptions, the former decree of the Walloon Region will still apply.

For all subsidy applications submitted before 1 April 2019, but which have not yet been the subject of a formal decision by the Administration on 1 April 2019

The terms and conditions in force on April 1 (= new decree) apply, except:

  • the new list of excluded sectors;
  • the new rules governing increases

For these two exceptions, the former decree of the Walloon Region will still apply.

For subsidy applications submitted as from 1 April 2019 

All new granting conditions and practical rules (= new decree) apply.

Feel free to contact our Legal Partners at legalpartners@partena.be.

Sources: Decree of the Walloon Government of 14 February 2019 on subsidies to encourage the employment of unemployed jobseekers with certain enterprises, Belgian Official Gazette of 15 March 2019; www.wallonie.be