Joint Industrial Committee 226: impact COVID-19 with regard to eco vouchers, year-end bonus and sector holidays
As you know, due to the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of employers have been forced to apply temporary unemployment corona force majeure (hereafter referred to as ‘corona unemployment’) for their employees. This type of suspension of the employment agreement can however result in substantial effects on certain salary elements. To counter these effects, some sectors of industry have taken the initiative to conclude collective labour agreements on the matter. This is also the case in joint industrial committee 226. This newsletter aims to inform you about the measures taken by collective labour agreement in order to limit the negative impact on certain salary elements.
In joint industrial committee 226, the employees are entitled to a year-end bonus if they are in service when the bonus is paid and if they have been employed by the company for a full calendar year.
Certain absences that lead to a suspension of the employment agreement are assimilated to actual days worked. As far as corona unemployment is concerned, this was initially not the case, resulting in the need to reduce the amount of the year-end bonus by deducting the days of temporary unemployment. In order to prevent this from happening, a collective labour agreement provides that the days of corona unemployment between March 13 and June 30, 2020 are assimilated to actual days worked. Days of temporary unemployment that occurred in the aforementioned period will therefore have no effect on the amount of the year-end bonus.
The employer bears the cost for these assimilated days due to corona unemployment, but he can benefit from a contribution from the Social Fund of the sector. This contribution will be paid in the first semester of 2021, given the following conditions:
- The contribution of the Social Fund is limited to €10 per day of corona unemployment;
- The application for the Social Funds’ support needs to be filed by means of a form created by the Social Fund. In order to be valid, the form must be sent to the Fund by e-mail, by July 31, 2020 at the latest.
The application forms are available in French and Dutch and can be downloaded from the website of the Social Fund: Sociaal-fonds/aanvraag-forfaitaire-tussenkomst-jaarpremie
Do not hesitate to contact your Payroll Business Partner in case you need assistance in filling out the form.
December is also the month when employers in JIC 226 grant eco vouchers to their staff. In order to determine whether an employee is entitled to the full amount of eco vouchers (€250), one needs to take into account the employee’s days of work between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 (reference period). Certain absences of the employee are assimilated to actual days of work, whereas other absences are not. Initially, the period of corona unemployment was not assimilated with days of work for the calculation of the amount of eco vouchers, resulting in a negative impact on the calculation.
Here as well, the joint industrial committee intervened by collective labour agreement. This agreement provides that the days of corona unemployment in the period from March 13, 2020 until June 30, 2020, are assimilated to actual days of work. The impact of the corona employment on the amount of the eco vouchers is therefore limited during that period.
Finally, a collective labour agreement provides that sector holidays falling in a period of corona unemployment, are postponed. These days are postponed to a later date which is determined according to the custom in the company and, failing that, in mutual agreement between employer and employee.
The days currently concerned are April 2 (Good Friday) and July 11 in the Dutch-speaking part of the country, as the corona unemployment measure has been extended until August 31, 2020. If it turns out that the system of corona unemployment is extended beyond that date, September 27 in the French-speaking part of the country, as well as November 2 (All Souls’ Day) could be concerned. We draw your attention to the fact that there is currently no confirmation yet that the system of corona unemployment will again be extended. It is therefore not certain yet which additional sector holidays possibly have to be postponed to a later date.