Voluntary overtime in 2022 - 120 additional relance-hours
14/02/2022

In 2022, the system of voluntary overtime is once again extended with an additional 120 relance-hours, applicable in all industries. For these relance-hours, no compensatory rest or overtime pay supplement is due and the salary for these hours is fully exempt from social security contributions and withholding taxes.

Voluntary overtime - general

In Belgium, having employees work overtime in principle requires a specific reason, such as an exceptional increase in workload. However, in 2017, a system of voluntary overtime was introduced. As the name indicates, this system allows employees to perform overtime on a voluntary basis, for a maximum of 120 hours per year (this threshold can be increased by an industry-level collective bargaining agreement). This requires a written agreement with the employee, for a renewable period of 6 months. 

For these voluntary overtime hours, no compensatory rest must be granted, however, an overtime pay supplement is due (i.e. 50%, resp. 100% if overtime hours are performed on a Sunday or public holiday).

Relance-hours

Within the framework of the Interprofessional Agreement 2021-2022, it was agreed to temporarily – during the second half of 2021 and the entirety of 2022 – extend the system of voluntary overtime with an additional 120 “relance”-hours per year, applicable in all industries. In doing so, the social partners broadened the field of application of the system of 120 hours of additional voluntary overtime per year that was introduced as a COVID-19 support measure in critical industries as of the second quarter of 2020 and rebranded it as "relance"-hours. 

As mentioned above, the regular system of voluntary overtime in principle consists of a maximum of 120 hours of overtime per year, however, in combination with the relance-hours, the regular quota of voluntary overtime is reduced to 100 hours. 

For 2022, this means that a total of 220 hours of voluntary overtime can be performed, divided as follows: 100 hours of regular voluntary overtime and 120 relance-hours. 

As they constitute voluntary overtime, the relance-hours require a written agreement with the employee and no compensatory rest is granted, however, – contrary to hours of regular voluntary overtime – no overtime pay supplement is due either and the salary for the relance-hours is fully exempt from social security contributions and withholding taxes.

In this respect, it’s important to point out that the more beneficial 120 relance-hours can be used before using the 100 hours of regular voluntary overtime.

For the sake of completeness, we’d like to remark that – although the introduction of the relance-hours were agreed by the social partners in June of 2021 – it took until the Act of 12 December 2021, implementing the Interprofessional Agreement 2021-2022, for them to become law and until a Royal Decree of 23 January 2022 for there to be a legal basis for the exemption from social security contributions. However, the competent authorities clearly communicated from the start that they’d allow the application of the relance-hours as described above as of 1 July 2021, even though there was no legal basis yet. The articles of the Act of 12 December 2021 that concern the relance-hours and the Royal Decree of 23 January 2022 entered into force retroactively as of the latter date, thus legally covering all relance-hours that were performed as of 1 July 2021.

 

 

 

Bart Elias - Partner, PwC Legal BV/SRL 

Pascale Moreau - Partner, PwC Legal BV/SRL 

 

Zie ook : PwC Legal

[+ http://www.pwclegal.be]


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