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New salary thresholds for work permits

Stefan Nerinckx, Partner, Fieldfisher

As from January 1, 2015, the applicable annual remuneration thresholds for various employment law purposes have changed.

As from January 1, 2015, the applicable annual remuneration thresholds for various employment law purposes are:

  • €33,203 (legal base amount: €16,100; 2014 amount: €32,886) – non-competition and training clause
  • €66,406 (legal base amount: €32,200; 2014 amount: €65,771) – non-competition and arbitration clause, work permit Type B for managerial staff (see below)

These amounts are also applicable to existing clauses in the employment contract. In case the salary conditions are not met, the clause will be null and void, i.e. non-enforceable by the employer.

ANNUAL SALARY FOR IMMIGRATION PURPOSES – HIGHLY SKILLED AND MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS

As from January 1, 2015, companies applying for or renewing a Type B work permit must confirm that non-EEA and Croatian national workers will be paid at least the equivalent of the following annual salary:

  • Highly skilled foreign workers must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €39,802
  • Managerial and executive-level positions must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €66,406

For a so-called Blue Card, the employee concerned will have to earn a minimum annual gross salary of €51,466.

DEFINITION OF ANNUAL SALARY

The definition used by the regional authorities to define annual salary depends on the international mobility scenario. For example, the definitions are different depending on whether the employee has a local contract (contract signed between the employee and an employer established in Belgium) or an assignment contract (seconded by a foreign employer to an entity established in Belgium). The following definitions of 'annual salary' apply in these two scenarios:

  • In case of a local contract with an entity established in Belgium for an employee working in Belgium = annual gross salary, social security and taxes included
  • In case of assignment/secondment = annual gross salary subject to taxes (i.e. taxable annual gross salary)

In case the thresholds are not met, the work permit might be retracted by the authorities or the employer will have to regularize the salary situation. In practice, a work permit renewal will be refused if it appears that the salary thresholds have not been complied with for the prior period.