'Cash for Car' scheme scrapped after discrimination claims

'Cash for Car' scheme scrapped after discrimination claims
The court ruled in favour of trade unions, who said the cash scheme discriminated against workers who did not have access to a company car. Credit: Pixabay

A scheme which allowed employees to choose to give up their company car in exchange for a cash bonus has been scrapped by the Constitutional Court after being found "problematic."

The court ruled that the Cash for Car scheme, introduced at the start of 2018, was "problematic in the light of the constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination."

The scheme allowed workers to trade in their company vehicles for a monthly bonus of up to €700 net, with the average amount received by workers who applied for it being €525.

The court's decision follows the introduction of legal proceedings against the scheme by workers' unions and environmental organisations, who argue that the measure discriminated against workers who did not have access to a company car, Het Nieuwsblad reports.

The scheme was touted as an environmental measure which aimed at encouraging drivers to opt for greener mobility alternatives, including public transport.

The ACV and ABVV unions, as well as Climaxi, Climate Express and Inter-Environnement Bruxelles, challenged the scheme in court, arguing that there was no demonstrable link between environmental objectives and a worker's choice to opt for the scheme.

On Thursday, the court ruled in their favour, additionally saying that the measure did not prevent workers from driving to work in their own car.

The court further decided that there would not be a retroactive annulment of the measures until "new" and "appropriate legal provisions come into force no later than December 2020," the Flemish outlet reports.

Since its implementation, the measure has encountered meagre success among employees, with a study by HR services group Acerta finding that only 0.175% of employees used the scheme in 2019.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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