What is the worth of fringe benefits?

By Robert Half on 06/07/2018

A company car, meal vouchers, or extra insurances… These benefits can be a nice addition to your salary package.

The salary package of Belgian employees is one of the most varied in the world. In this article we list the most common fringe benefits and explain what they really are worth for you.

The different types of fringe benefits

For employers, fringe benefits are an interesting alternative to a salary raise, because they cost less in social security contributions.There is a variety of benefits. The most popular are:

  • A company car
  • Meal vouchers
  • A laptop
  • Collective insurance
  • Health insurance
  • A supplementary pension

Which fringe benefits you are offered, depends from sector to sector and company to company.

Three categories

There are three categories in fringe benefits:

  1. Benefits in kind
  2. Social benefits
  3. Expenses specific to the employer

Benefits in kind

By benefits in kind we mean all the special benefits that you receive on top of your salary, in the form of, for example, a company car, a company mobile phone or a company laptop.

Social benefits

Social benefits are advantages that your employer offers with a social goal in mind: on the one hand to strengthen the ties between you and your colleagues, and on the other hand to bind you as an employee to the company. For example, a bonus to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the company is a social benefit. 

Costs specific to the employer

The costs specific to the employer include costs that you incur for your job (such as travel costs) and that your employer reimburses you on the basis of supporting documents or on a fixed basis.

What are the real benefits of these fringe benefits?

Meal vouchers

You receive one meal voucher per working day (not if you are ill or on holiday). As an employee, you pay a personal contribution of at least 1.09 euros by cheque. You will not be taxed on this as long as you only receive one cheque per day and as long as the value of the cheque does not exceed 8 euros.
Meal vouchers are not taken into account in the calculation of your holiday allowances, but the employer's contribution (i.e. a maximum of 6.91 euros) does count in the calculation of your severance pay.

Company car

If you get a company car, it comes with a fuel card, which can also be used for private trips. The private use is a benefit in kind. You do not pay social security contributions, but your employer does pay a solidarity contribution (the amount depends on the CO2 emissions). This benefit is not included in your holiday pay, but it is being calculated in a severance pay.

Group insurance

If you have a group insurance policy, your employer takes out an insurance policy of which you are the beneficiary. He pays the premiums - often he settles a part of it through your salary - and you benefit from the advantages: a group insurance policy ensures that you will receive a higher pension and often also protects your family.

Usually, a group insurance policy pays out the accrued capital once only. You can collect the capital from the age of sixty. You are not taxed on the contributions, but you are taxed on the benefit. 

Influence on your pension?

As an employee, you will probably be all too happy to discuss the extra-legal benefits that are offered to you. As a result, extra-legal conditions make up a significant proportion of most wages. Keep in mind, however, that this is obviously at the expense of your gross salary, and that this in turn has an impact on your pension.

Whether you want to recruit staff or are considering a career switch, the Robert Half Salary Guide 2020 contains all the information you need to take the next step in a well-informed manner. From pay scales and the most recent fringe benefits to recruitment trends and information about a competitive salary: our Salary Guide has it all.

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