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Casual workers in horticultural and agricultural sectors are submitted to specific rules regarding their liability to the NSSO. Some of those rules have been modified for the period from 1st July 2023 to 31 December 2023. We will look at them here below. The legal texts have just been published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
The liability to the NSSO of the casual workers employed by an employer under the joint committee 144 (agriculture) or 145 (horticulture) is limited to specific sectors of the social security.
For the period from 1st July 2023 to 31st December 2023, this limitation of liability is increased from 65 to maximum 100 days per manual worker and per calendar year.
A casual worker must respect a maximum number of workdays to be considered as such by the NSSO. This is a quota, which has been modified for the period from 1st July to 31st December 2023.
Workers can be employed up to a maximum of 100 days per calendar year by one or more employers unless their job consists in the planting and maintenance of parks and gardens (JSC 145.04).
Workers can be employed by one or more employers (for works on grounds belonging to the employer or the user) during a maximum of 50 days per calendar year.
There is a specificity in the milk sector: manual workers employed by a company whose main activity is the dairy cow farming under NACE code 01.410 can be employed under the status of casual workers only 100 half-days per calendar year for the milking, feeding, care-taking of the cows and the cleaning of the stables.
There is no longer a specific/additional quota for the chicory, mushroom, and fruit sectors.
Temporary agency workers employed in those sectors
They must respect the former quota of the sector in which they are employed: 65 days in the horticultural sector and 30 days in the agricultural sector. The work regime of the dairy cow sector is not applicable to temporary agency workers.
In case of works with employers or users as much of the JC 145 (horticulture) as of the JC 144 (agriculture), a limit of 100 days per worker per calendar year is also applicable. Likewise, if the casual worker has a casual activity in the Horeca sector, accumulation of the different activities is limited to 100 days per calendar year.
Before 01/07/2023 and/or before the Covid-period
From 01/07/2023 to 31/12/2023
Horticulture (JC 145)
100 days (including the culture of chicory and mushroom, excluding the planting and maintenance of parks and gardens)
Agriculture (JC 144)
50 days except for the dairy cow sector
Dairy cow sector
Chicory additional quota
Mushroom additional quota
Accumulation of quotas
Temporary agency workers
65 days + 30 days
Per half-day, we mean a period of 4 hours between midnight and noon, or between noon and midnight. In case the number of hours is exceeded or of overlap over 2 periods, 2 half-days are taken into account.
In the dairy cow sector, a day is equivalent to 2 half-days.
The possibility of half-days is not applicable to temporary agency workers.
The social security contributions of casual workers are calculated on the basis of a daily fixed amount determined by legislation, and not on the basis of the worker's actual remuneration.
New fixed amounts have been determined for the period from 1st July 2023 to 31st December 2023. We invite you to consult the website of the NSSO if you wish to know more.
The employment of casual workers in the mushroom sector must take place during an intense period of activity. It is limited to 156 days per calendar year and per employer. This is not new.
This limitation disappears if specific conditions are met, namely the conditions that needed to be met for the application of the additional quota of 35 days (which is abolished for the period from 1st July 2023 to 31st July 2023). You can read about those conditions here.
Based on the Budgetary Agreement, the Government has implied that it wishes to extend those measures as from 1st January 2024.
Note: the conditions regarding the 180 days-rule, the “casual worker” form and the Dimona remain unchanged.
Sources: Law of 8 November 2023 on measures to support casual workers in the agriculture and horticulture, Belgian Official Gazette of 23 November 2021; Royal Decree of 8 November 2023 amending Articles 8bis, 31bis and 32bis of the Royal Decree of 28 November 1969 in execution of the Law of 27 June 1969 revising the Decree-Law of 28 December 1944 concerning the social security of workers, Belgian Official Gazette of 23 November 2023.
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