Increasing the number of employed workers aged 45 and over is a top priority for the Belgian government.

A new collective bargaining agreement (n° 104) enacted at the level of the National Works Council provides for that, as from January 1, 2013, companies employing more than 20 employees must set up an employment plan to maintain or increase the number of employees aged 45 years and older. The objective of the plan must be the employment of older employees.

Companies employing more than 50 employees are furthermore obliged to consult the employee representatives, or if none, the union delegation, the Committee of Prevention and Protection at work or the employees themselves.

Another measure aimed at retention of older workers is the introduction of an "Age Pyramid" in cases of collective dismissal. Subject to further discussions in the National Works Council this measure should come into force at the beginning of 2013 and should provide that, in the event of collective dismissals, staff reductions must be equally spread over three age categories: employees under 30 years old, those between 30 and 49 years old and those older than 50 years old. The number of dismissals per age group must be proportionate to the percentage of employees from each category across the total work force within the Company.

Another set of measures aimed at keeping employees in employment for longer relates to pensionable age and the taxation of pension scheme capital sums.

Under the Di-Rupo measures, the age and conditions for taking early retirement will be progressively increased until 2016 as follows:

Click here to see table.

As a consequence of this increase new, higher, income tax rates are to be introduced for employees drawing their pension before the age of 62. (A rate of 20 % will apply to capital sums drawn at the age of 60 and a rate of 18 % to capital sums drawn at the age of 61). The new rates will apply as from July 1st, 2013.

The program law of July 2012 also introduces a specific social security contribution (of 1.5%) in respect of pension contributions to a pension plan. This will take effect from January 1st, 2012 on the portion of pension contributions exceeding 30.000 € per year for per employee. For the years 2012 to 2016, the employer will have to declare the pension capital to the social security authorities.

This regulation will be replaced as from 2016.