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Has your wage bonus scheme been set up yet for this year?

Tuesday 23/03/2021
Business persons around the office building

Do you employ a wage bonus scheme each year? Many companies do. It is an attractive type of incentive. The bonus is of social and fiscal interest to both your employees and your company.

What you should be aware of is that the procedure for a scheme for a particular calendar year must be completed before the end of April and can now be implemented digitally.

What does a bonus CLA No. 90 entail?

CLA No. 90 gives you as an employer the opportunity to allocate a bonus with social and fiscal benefits to your employees. It encourages them to achieve a certain goal, which is also lucrative for your company. A win-win situation.

Collective goal

The award of this type of wage bonus is linked to the achievement of collective targets. You cannot use this scheme to reward individual employees.

Favourable social and fiscal treatment

The advantage of a wage bonus is that it enjoys favourable social and fiscal treatment up to a threshold of 3,447 euro per annum (amount in 2021). As an employer, you pay a special employer's contribution of 33% and your employee pays a solidarity contribution of 13.07%. Other than that the bonus is completely tax-free for your employee, which means that compared to a 'normal' bonus the return is considerably higher.

Specific procedure

The bonus scheme must be introduced using a specific procedure. In companies with a trade union delegation, this is mandatory and must be implemented with a company CLA. If your company does not have a trade union delegation, you can include the bonus scheme in an opt-in agreement. In such cases the employer has to decide which option to use to introduce the bonus system.

Keep track of the timing for your wage bonus scheme

A key aspect of the procedure is that you have to deposit the company CLA or opt-in agreement with the registry of the FPS WASO (FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue) before one third of the reference period specified in the scheme has elapsed.

Bonus schemes are often concluded per calendar year, which means that you have to deposit it by the end of April at the latest.

Although the reference period is often a calendar year, a shorter period isalso possible. The minimum period is 3 months. You can, therefore, still wait until you can recommence your activities or the economy improves. The wage bonus for 2021 could just as well run from 1 July to 31 December, for example.

It is also good to know that a shorter reference period does not impact the amount of the bonus. Even if the bonus scheme only has a reference period of six months, 100% of the maximum wage bonus can still be allocated.

Submit your wage bonus scheme in digital format

Since last year, bonus schemes that are introduced via an opt-in agreement can be submitted online at You are still at liberty to produce a paper copy of the opt-in agreement but it will take longer to process.

  • Using the online application, you can complete the various clauses of the opt-in agreement in digital format. You will immediately be notified if not all mandatory clauses have been completed. This will avoid procedural errors.
  • Once all mandatory fields have been completed, you can download the opt-in agreement in PDF format.
  • You then have to follow the mandatory notification procedure. You will have to make the opt-in agreement available to your employees for a period of 15 calendar days to enable them to submit any comments they may have. They can also submit their comments directly to the social inspectorate.
  • If no comments are submitted during this 15 day period, you can deposit the opt-in agreement with the registry of the Collective Employment Relations Department of the FPS WASO. In fact this happens automatically via the online application following the digital signing ofthe opt-in agreement. This means that you no longer have to send the signed copy of the opt-in agreement by registered post or hand it over to the FPS WASO in person.
  • Another advantage of this digitisation is that you can monitor the actual status of your dossier. You will be notified when the bonus scheme is filed, when it is declared admissible, when the scheme has been approved or if no decision has yet been made.

Paper copy still necessary

If the company representative does not have a Belgian e-ID, the online application will not be accessible and everything will still have to be submitted in paper format.

The online application is also only available for opt-in agreements. Bonus schemes via CLAs cannot yet be filed electronically.

Are you convinced of the added value of a well-drafted bonus scheme, but still have questions concerning its implementation? If so, please do not hesitate to contact HR Legal. We will gladly help you develop a bonus scheme and take you through the correct procedure.

A bonus is not your only option to reward your employees with something extra. Discover even more ways to motivate your employees.

Contact one of our experts

Saskia Lombaerts

Saskia Lombaerts

Director Tax & Legal