A: The following rules should be observed during the party:

  • Employees should be received in groups of four and should also be seated at a table in groups of four. Encounters between tables (with more than four people) should be avoided. The tables should be at least 1.5 m apart.
  • Employees must be informed about the applicable preventive measures.
  • Employees must always respect the rules of social distancing (1.5m). If this is not possible, a mouth mask must be worn.
  • The party may last until 23.30 at the latest.
  • The employer must provide good ventilation, hand hygiene products and products for disinfecting the room and the equipment used.

In addition, it is not possible to invite an unlimited number of employees:

  • If the party is organized on company premises, the limit of maximum 50 employees may not be exceeded.
  • If the party is organized outside the company premises, a maximum of 200 or 400 people must attend, depending on whether the event takes place indoors or outdoors.
  • In addition, the limit for employees who have a job that permits working from home must also be taken into account. Their presence at the party must be considered as a "moment of return" (to promote team spirit and well-being). This means that their presence can never be made compulsory and, moreover, only 20% of them may be present at the workplace at the same time. In the week of the party, they may not be present at the company premises on any other weekday.

A: You have got into the "Red Devils mania" and want to send to all your employees beer and wine to support the Red Devils through the second match on Thursday. Of course, you may do so but you should also consider the tax and social security consequences of such an initiative.

The general rule is that any benefit obtained in the framework of the professional activity constitutes taxable income. An exception to this principle is the award of so-called "social benefits".

This is a benefit of small value or a customary gift awarded due to a special event not directly related to the professional activity.

The qualification as “small value gift” is a matter of facts. In practice, the tax authorities accept a value of 50 EUR. A box of beer and wine of 40 EUR can therefore be awarded as a social benefit. You do not have to withhold any payroll taxes nor to mention the benefit on a payslip or tax form.

However, you should bear in mind that, in principle, a social benefit is not tax deductible as a professional expense for the employer. If you deduct it, it may be rejected.

The tax treatment would be different if you offer a box of beer and wine of more than 50 EUR. In that case, you should contact the tax authorities beforehand to ensure that the benefit is of sufficiently low value.

For social security purposes, offering a beer and wine box, in the above-mentioned circumstances, is considered as a 'gift' and is therefore exempted from social security contributions.

A: Case law has already ruled that refusing to wear a mask can be considered a serious cause. If Jos throws away his mask, for whatever reason, he can be dismissed without notice period or severance pay. In assessing the serious cause, the Antwerp Labour Court took into account the nature of the company (a food processing company), the work regulations (which contained clear provisions concerning non-compliance with health and safety measures) and the status of the employee (candidate for the Committee of Prevention and Protection at Work as an employee representative).

Attention: if such a situation occurs, the employer must ensure that the 3-day time limit is respected: the dismissal must take place within 3 days after (notice of) the facts. Furthermore, it is important to have sufficient evidence (e.g. witness testimonies) to prove that the obligation to wear a mask was not respected.

A: A work accident can also occur if the accident takes place during an activity organized by the employer, such as a team building activity, a staff party, ... and this even if the participation in the activity is optional. Indeed, it is presumed that the employees are morally obliged to attend.

This is also the case if the activity takes place outside the workplace.

However, it is required that the employee’s personal freedom is limited and that the employee is under the authority of his employer. For example, it can be considered a work accident if Eden breaks his leg while playing a soccer game on the employer's company team. However, if Eden breaks his leg after the activity has ended, while some employees continue the activity on their own initiative, there is no longer a work accident, because the purpose and cohesion of the group have disappeared and there is therefore no restriction of individual freedom or authority on the part of the employer.

A: In principle, employers may only organise tombolas with the intervention of a non-profit organisation that has been licensed for this purpose. The profits go to a good cause. The non-profit organisation must take care of the organisation and the prices (such as a city trip).

If it concerns a tombola in which all employees may participate and where the chances of winning are the same for everyone, the countervalue of the tombola is considered to be a generosity and is therefore excluded from the definition of salary. No social security contributions or withholding taxes will be due.

Do not hesitate to contact someone from the Employment & Benefits team if you want to organize a tombola for your staff!