Half of Belgium’s private-sector employees – roughly 1.4 million workers – expect bonuses worth a total of €400 million this year for doing their job during the continued Covid pandemic.
About 50,000 companies plan to pass out corona bonus checks, worth up to €500 each, according to research by entrepreneurial firm Unizo, De Tijd reports. Unizo based its estimate on data from check companies, including Edenred and Sodexo.
Workers receiving the Corona bonus will enjoy the extra spending power at a time when inflation is pushing up prices of many consumer goods. However, for employers, the pressure to pay Corona bonuses comes at a dicey time, Unizo officials said.
Wages in Belgium are tied to the inflation rate. Thanks to agreements with labour unions, employees already are likely to see wage increases this year. The fear for employers is having to swallow the cost of paying out Corona bonuses if they can’t raise the prices of their goods or services.
The Corona bonus was never intended to become so widespread. Instead, the Corona bonuses were proposed as a perk for companies to distribute if they were comfortable doing so, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) said a year ago.
“It was not the intention to decide that all companies in certain sectors give a minimum amount,” De Croo said, De Tijd reported.