Thanks to the coronavirus epidemic and the restrictions it has placed on people’s movements and the opening of retail outlets, the government has announced the extension of validity of a range of cheques offered by employers.
The list includes meal vouchers, eco-cheques, gift vouchers and sport and culture cheques. The order to extend the validity of the cheques was contained in a royal decree published this week.
The meal vouchers and eco-cheques are issued by employers as an extra benefit for employees, while gift, cultural and sports vouchers are open to the general public and sold by the institution or business concerned. In most cases those have a validity of one year.
However with most retail stores, sports competitions and cultural events closed down since March and likely to remain closed for the near future, anyone in possession of such a voucher was at risk of losing its value.
The national labour council approached the national security council with the extension proposal before its last meeting, and the government agreed.
The extension concerns meal, eco and gift vouchers due to expire in March, April, May and June this year. Those are extended for six months.
The sport and culture cheques all have an expiry date of 30 September, and are extended to 31 December.
The government said it would consider extending the vouchers even further if the circumstances change.
The Voucher Issuers Association, which groups together the companies that administer the voucher system, said it was satisfied with the decision.
“We see a positive impact on the purchasing power of the various cheques for our beneficiaries. Moreover, since they can only be used in Belgium, they will be an asset for the revival of the economic machine,” said association chairman Olivier Bouquet.