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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure BE-2020-24/941 Updated – measures in Belgium

Consumption cheques for employees

Consumptiecheque

Country Belgium , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 08 June 2020 – 07 June 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Support for spending, stimulus packages
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 08 July 2020 (updated 02 October 2020)

Background information

In the framework of measures taken to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has launched a new initiative in June in the form of so called 'consumption cheques'. The cheques have two goals. On the one hand, they stimulate consumers to buy locally and from sectors that are struck hard by the current crisis. On the other hand, they provide employees some additional purchasing power.

Content of measure

The consumer cheque is a paper cheque that the employees can spend in Belgian sectors that were most affected during the lockdown: in particular the hospitality industry, sports clubs and the culture sector. The check is granted by the employer.

The granting of the cheque must be governed by a sectoral collective agreement. If there is no sectoral collective agreement, an enterprise collective agreement must be concluded via the local trade union delegation. If there is no trade union delegation within the company, the granting must be regulated in an individual annex to the employment contract.

The maximum amount that can be granted per employee is €300. The cheque falls outside the wage standard and may not be granted to replace existing wage benefits.

The cheque cannot be granted on an individual basis. Employers are obliged to award it to all staff members or to an objectively defined category within the staff.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

24 August 2020

Consumption vouchers can now also be used for companies that fall under the joint committees for small retailers, if they were compulsorily closed for more than one month during the lockdown. In addition, the consumption vouchers can now be issued electronically.

Use of measure

The measure is not finalised as of today, it is still to be launched formally.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

No data yet available.

Views and reactions

Neither the employers' organisations nor the trade unions have released a strong public statement/opinion regarding the measure. Employers' organisation Unizo is however providing information to their members (employers) on how the system will work when it is ultimately launched.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Consumption cheques for employees, measure BE-2020-24/941 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BE-2020-24_941.html

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