The system of unemployment with corporate allowance (RCC/SWT - formerly called bridging pension) is laid down by the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007. The general system that is laid down by the CBA No. 17 is accessible from the age of 62.
In addition to this system, there are various derogation systems that are the subject of CBA’s concluded by the National Labour Council. Last week, the National Labour Council has passed 13 CBA's on the systems of unemployment with corporate allowance (hereinafter referred to as RCC/SWT) which apply as from 1 January 2019.
The terms and conditions of the various derogation systems are, to a large extent, identical to those applicable in 2017 and 2018.
However, the conditions of access to the RCC/SWT are only valid for employees made redundant by a company in difficulty or undergoing restructuring.
Reminder: The RCC/SWT is granted to employees who have reached the age of 62. Additional requirement is that men must have a career of 40 years. Women on the other hand, must have a career of 35 years in 2019. The occupational history of women is increased by one year each year until 2024.
At the end of 2018, we already announced the government's intention to raise this career requirement to 41 years. The same day, the government took up current affairs. This increase is uncertain and the career condition will therefore be kept at 40 years.
In 2019 and 2020, the conditions of access to the various derogations systems will remain unchanged. For the following systems, the age of access will be maintained at 59 years:
- RCC/SWT for night workers who after 33 years of career in a strenuous occupation or in the construction sector have become incapacitated. A CBA in the sector is required;
- RCC/SWT for employees who have worked 35 years in a strenuous occupation. A CBA in the sector or company is required;
- RCC/SWT for employees with a long career of 40 years. If there is no CBA in the sector, the age of access is set at 60 years.
The same requirements will be maintained until 30 June 2021. As from 01 July 2021, the age limit for all of these systems will be raised to 60 years.
For disabled employees or employees with severe physical problems, the age of access to the RCC/SWT is maintained at 58 years provided that they have a career of 35 years.
Companies in difficulties or undergoing restructuring
The government wanted to increase the age of access to the RCC/SWT for companies in difficulties or undergoing restructuring from 56 years in 2018 to 59 years in 2019. The social partners have decided to maintain a somewhat more gradual pace. The career requirements remain unchanged.
The age of access to the RCC/SWT will therefore be raised to:
- 58 years from 01.01.2019 to 30.12.2019;
- 59 years from 31.12.2019 to 30.12.2020;
- 60 years as from 31.12.2020
Exemption of availability for the labour market
Contrary to unemployed persons who have to be available for the labour market, the unemployment system with corporate allowance requires employees to be available in a modified way (registration as a job seeker, obligation to accept suitable work ...). They may be exempted from this obligation at their request if they meet certain age and career requirements. Under the general system (62 years of age), they must be able to justify a career of 43 years.
In 2019 and 2020, employees covered by a derogation system may, at their request, be exempted from the obligation of adapted availability if they have reached the age of 62 or have a career of 42 years. To this end, the sectors must have concluded a CBA in the sector.
No additional conditions are required for disabled employees or employees with severe physical problems.
Employees made redundant by a company in difficulties or undergoing restructuring may apply for this exemption if they are 62 years old or have 42 years' occupational history in the period from 1 January to 30 December 2019. From 31 December 2019, they must have reached the age of 65 or have a career of 43 years in order to obtain this exemption. For this, companies must have concluded a CBA in the company or a collective agreement.
Source: 13 CBAs from the National Labour Council, CBA No. 130 up to 143 from 23 April 2019.