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End of year bonuses and 13th month: employees could have a good surprise, but this will not be the case for everyone…

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:5 mins read

First, let’s make it clear: not all workers are lucky enough to benefit from an end-of-year bonus or a 13th month. Everything depends on the joint agreement in which these workers are registered. Thus, within the liberal professions in particular, this always welcome small additional salary does not exist. Ditto for pensioners, social recipients or the self-employed of course.

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How do we calculate it?

For those who are entitled to it, there too, there are several possibilities. A flat-rate basis, negotiated within the framework of the collective labor agreement. This is particularly the case for nursing home staff.

It can also be a full month’s salary, identical to that of December 2022. And therefore a real “13th month” as this bonus is sometimes called.

Finally, we can be on a mixed calculation basis, with a fixed basis and a percentage which takes into account the wages received during the 12 months of the past year.

As we know, the salaries of Belgians benefit from the automatic indexation system. And the same is true for these end-of-year bonuses. Good news: these are therefore indexed. On the other hand, as for the indexation of salaries, the indexation of this bonus depends on when it is provided for by your collective labor agreement in your joint committee.

> For the employees of CP200, for example, the largest in the country, which has some 500,000 workers, salary indexation of 10% will only take place in January 2023. Therefore, the end-of-year bonus will only be indexed on the basis of indexation between 2021 and 2022, i.e. around 3%. “And it will be necessary to wait until December 2023 to benefit from the strong indexation of 2022 on its premium”, we indicate to the UCM.

Up to 53% prepayment…

“It all depends on the salary base used to calculate the end-of-year bonus,” says one at Securex. “According to the joint agreement, if we use the December salary for example as the basis of calculation and that it has been indexed, the bonus will be higher by 2% than if we use the September or October salary”.

> For workers who, on the other hand, have benefited from several indexations successively during this year, on a quarterly or monthly basis during index jumps, the increase in the end-of-year bonus may reach a maximum of 10% depending on the case. This will be the case for civil servants in particular.

“It is always possible for an employer to provide for an end-of-year bonus higher than that provided for by its sector of activity, thus anticipating the increase in the cost of living”, it is still underlined at the MCU. A boss whose employees will only benefit from a 10% indexation of their bonus in 2023, could decide to make a strong gesture at the end of the year. “And an employer in a sector that does not provide for an end-of-year bonus can decide to grant one on his side”.

These end-of-year bonuses are considered exceptional remuneration by the State, and are subject to higher taxes than the salary. Up to 53% withholding tax will be deducted from your gross premium.