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    A 1,000 euro bonus plan for new employees

    Charles Michel

    To stimulate more people into finding a job, new employees will be able to receive a tax-free bonus from their employer. The federal governments budget talks are nearing their end. The work deal which the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR) devised, in order to help more people get started, is now taking shape. One of the measures on which the coalition parties agree is a tax-exempt bonus of 1,000 euro that employers can give to newly recruited employees on the condition they remain on the job for at least three months.

    The purpose of this bonus is to give employees an extra incentive to find a job. All new employees with an indefinite and fixed-term contract are eligible. In order to ensure ensure that this new initiative does not lead to abuse, the bonus may not be part of the normally paid wage.

    The Michel government also agreed on a number of other measures to help solve the mismatch between the large number of job seekers and the abundance of vacancies. Pensioners and disabled people will be able to get working more easily without losing their tax benefits. There will also be discussions about methods to encourage employees to work in regions where job opportunities exist.

    Some other bothersome issues have been dealt with. For example, if someone loses his or her job due to unforeseeable circumstances but can find employment elsewhere, they would be entitled to a premium of 1,800 euro to cover any outplacement costs. A case in point would be someone who can no longer work because of an allergy.

    Furthermore, there are increased incentives to get people to work in a difficult-to-fill professions. The regional premium for job-seekers who train for these bottleneck occupations will be tax-exempt. In addition, these job-seekers will not have their unemployment benefits reduced during the training period.

    The labor deal is linked to the budget talks because an increase in the workforce means more taxable income and a way to close the federal government’s budget deficit of 2.7 billion euro.

    Arthur Rubinstein
    The Brussels Times