A wage increase for all non-manual workers of joint committee 200?

Author: Leen Lafourt
Date:

In our Infoflash of 19 June 2019, we already informed you extensively about the draft sector agreement concluded by the sectoral social partners of this JC. In implementation of this draft sector agreement, several collective bargaining agreements were subsequently concluded, including the collective bargaining agreement of 1 July 2019 on purchasing power.

This CBA consists of two parts:

  • a general scheme, i.e. a wage increase of 1.1% on 1 September 2019 or the granting of an alternative benefit;
  • a special scheme, i.e. the granting of a temporary annual premium which is later injected into an additional pension.

The social partners of the sector also want to use the current increase in purchasing power to meet the obligations of the Act on additional pensions (hereafter AAP), which states that, from 1 January 2025, there can no longer be any distinction between the additional pension plan for manual and non-manual workers who belong to the same business activity or occupational category.

At first sight this may seem rather complicated, but below we will try to clarify a few things for you.

General scheme
 

We will start with the general scheme, which as from 1 September 2019 provides for a 1.1% increase of:

  • the sectoral minimum wages;
  • the real gross monthly wages.

Remark: In any case, this general rule applies to employers who only employ non-manual workers. If you employ both manual and non-manual workers, you may come under the special scheme (see below).

Other benefit

Companies may choose to grant a new, equivalent and recurrent benefit instead of this wage increase.

If you opt for conversion, it is important to bear in mind that you, as an employer, may not benefit from this decision. This means that the cost for the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020 must be the same as if you increase the wages of your workers by 1.1%. If you opt for conversion, you will therefore have to take into account the gross and employer's social security contributions, the double holiday pay and the end-of-year bonus.

Attention: You cannot replace the 1.1% wage increase with a non-recurring result-related benefit (CBA No. 90), as this is an uncertain benefit.

Special scheme

Scope of application

The special scheme applies to non-manual workers of employers who on 1 September 2019 meet all the following conditions:

  • employ both manual and non-manual workers within the same business activity (art. 14/4 AAP);
    Remark: Business activity = scope of application for the JsC for the manual[1] workers.
  • the case in which the manual workers benefit from an additional pension within the sector or an additional pension in the company on the basis of an opt-out or out of scope;
  • and employers who have no or a less favourable additional pension scheme for non-manual workers.

Temporary annual bonus

If you come under the special scheme and your workers are paid in excess of the sectoral minimum wage, you do not grant a wage increase. This will be replaced by a temporary annual premium and a one-off premium, the case in which:

  • Temporary annual premium payable in December 2020 = gross monthly wage of November x (1.1 % x 13.92).
    The temporary annual premium is granted to non-manual workers on 1 September 2019 having a full reference period (from 1 January to 31 December).
  • One-off premium payable in December 2019 = gross monthly wage from November 2019 x (1.1 % x 5).
    The one-off premium is granted to manual workers employed on 1 September 2019, in proportion to the days worked during the reference period from 1 September 2019 up to 31 December 2019.
    This one-off premium is granted to cover the period from 01.09.2019 to 31.12.2019, during which the wage increase has already been granted.

In the meantime, the social partners of the mirror JC have until 31 December 2022 to conclude a CBA on additional pension for non-manual workers. And as an employer, you avoid the risk that, in addition to the granted wage increase, you still need to make a budget available to provide an additional pension for your non-manual workers.

Actual days worked and days treated as such

The temporary annual premium shall be calculated in proportion to the actual days worked and days treated as such during the reference period.

The days treated as actual worked days =

  • suspensions of the employment contract for which wages have been paid;
  • paternity leave;
  • maternity leave.

Non-manual workers paid according to the minimum wage scale

The annual temporary premium and the one-off premium do not apply to non-manual workers who are paid according to the minimum wage scale on 31 August 2019.

Concrete example

A class D worker with 9 years of experience is entitled to a sectoral minimum wage of 2,384.72 EUR, but is paid by the employer above the wage scale and has a salary of 2,500 EUR. The special scheme can therefore be applied. What is the amount of the temporary annual premium?

Temporary annual premium = 2,500 EUR x 15.31 % = 382.75 EUR

Same situation, but this worker has been absent for 2 months during the reference period due to illness. In this case, the temporary annual premium must be proportionately granted. After all, the 2nd month of absence, not covered by the guaranteed wage, is not treated as worked days for the calculation of the premium.

Temporary annual premium = (2,500 EUR x 15.31%) x 11/12 = 350.85 EUR.

Additional pension within the sector

In the meantime, the social partners of the business activity must conclude a collective bargaining agreement on the additional pension in the sector for non-manual workers as soon as possible. After this has been done, as from 1 January 2021 (and at the latest on 1 January 2025), the annual temporary premium can be used for the additional pension scheme. The payment of the annual temporary premium will in any case cease when this CBA enters into force.

If, on 31 December 2022, no CBA on the additional pension within the sector has been concluded for the business activity concerned, the employer shall use the budget of the temporary annual premium for an additional pension at company level.

Conclusion

Not all workers of the JC 200 will therefore see their wages go up:

  • Worker paid according to the sectoral minimum wage → increase of 1.1% as from 01.09.2019.
  • Worker paid above the sectoral wage scale → real wage may increase by 1.1% as of 01.09.2019, unless granting an alternative benefit.
  • Worker employed by an employer with manual workers employed in one of the mirror JCs and whose non-manual workers are paid above the wage scale -> grant of a temporary annual premium.

Are you in any doubt as to whether you are covered by the special scheme? Then we advise you to grant the temporary annual premium even now and not to opt for a wage increase or alternative benefit.

Source: CBA of 1 July 2019 concluded in the auxiliary joint committee for non-manual workers on the purchasing power within the framework of the Royal Decree of 19 April 2019 on the implementation of Article 18 of the Royal Decree of 19 April 2019. 7 § 1 of the Act of 26 July 1996 on the promotion of employment and the preventive safeguarding of competitiveness (Reg. No 152.8489), in force on 1 January 2019, for an indefinite period.

[1]This regards: JsC 102.01, JsC 102.03, JsC 102.06, JsC 102.07, JsC 102.09, JsC 106.02, JC 112, JC113, JsC 113.04, JC 114, JC 116 (for medicine wholesale), JC 121, JC 124, JC 126, JC 127, JC 130, PC 132, JC 139, JsC 140.01, JsC 140.05, JsC 142.01, JC 143, JC 144, JC 145, JsC 149.01, JsC 149.02, JsC 149.03, JsC 149.04