For some work permit or single permit categories, an annual salary threshold applies (e.g. for highly skilled third-country employees). As a result of reduced activities because of Covid-19, many employees are on temporary unemployment or employment contracts are temporarily suspended.  Since employees do not receive salary or only receive it at a reduced rate during these periods, this has an impact on annual salary.

The Flemish Region has announced that a period of temporary unemployment is not taken into account when calculating the salary threshold, regardless of whether the employee receives a benefit from the National Employment Office ('NEO') because of Covid-19 temporary unemployment. In other words, in the calculation, the gross annual salary will be reduced pro rata with the relevant period of unemployment.

The Brussels Capital Region has announced that it will be flexible with regard to salary thresholds and will take the exceptional situation into account, on condition of a clear justification at the time of the application for renewal or annual check. It is advisable to include certain supporting documents such as certificates from the NEO.

The Walloon Region has also announced that periods of temporary unemployment in the period from 1 March until 31 August 2020 will not be taken into account when calculating the salary thresholds if an NEO certificate together with the individual 2020 account is submitted. Besides, for posted workers whose contract has been suspended due to Covid-19, the period between 1 March and 31 August 2020 will not be taken into account to verify compliance with the salary thresholds. To that end certain documents must from now be sent to the administration:

  • annex to the secondment letter including all changed elements as a result of the suspension;
  • annex to the foreign employment contract or the agreements concluded with the foreign employer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.