Every two years a wage norm, determining the margin for the development of wage costs in our country, is established in order to maintain the competitiveness of the Belgian economy.

In application of the Wage Norm Act (The Act of 26 July 1996 regarding employment and safeguarding of competitiveness) and on the basis of the technical report of the Central Council for Economy, the social partners, biennially, determine the wage norm in an Interprofessional Agreement (IPA). On 2 February 2017, the social partners agreed in the IPA on a maximal wage cost increase of 1,1% for the period 2017-2018. This wage norm has subsequently been determined in the National Labour Council (CLA n° 119).

Moreover, during the month of March of this year, some amendments were made to the Wage Norm Act. The major innovations cover the supervisory and penalty provisions.

  • Where, before, the Wage Norm Act referred to the (abolished) Administrative Fines Act, it now stipulates that the applicable sanctions are imposed in accordance with the provisions of the Social Criminal Code. Specifically, the administrative fine that can be imposed in the event the wage norm is exceeded amounts to EUR 2.000 to EUR 40.000 (surcharges included). This fine is multiplied by the numbers of employees involved, with a maximum of 100 employees.
  • The Explanatory Memorandum to the amending Act indicates that the public servants entrusted with the control of the Wage Norm Act can rely on data of the National Social Security Service and the annual accounts filed with the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) to track down companies in violation of the Act.

Please do not hesitate to contact the experts of our Labour, Pensions and Incentives department (Damien Stas de Richelle / Ilheme Bekhouche / Jorn Demey) should you wish to obtain more information on the wage norm and/or the amendments thereto and their impact on your organization.

Published in: Legal insights