Economic and social measures approved by 9 of the 10 parties supporting the minority government during the corona crisis

A series of measures have been approved to help Belgium deal with the social and economic issues caused by the consequences of the corona crisis. The measure that it is hoped will give companies and individual financial breathing space were approved by nine of the ten parties that have been supporting Belgium’s minority Federal Government during the crisis. 

However, the largest party in the Federal Parliament, the Flemish nationalist N-VA didn’t vote with the representative of the nine other parties to approve the text outlining the measures.

The measures strive to encourage investment in and by Belgian enterprise. The level of tax relief on investments made by companies has been raised to 25%. Furthermore, until 31 December 2020 companies will be able to set 100% of any expenses incurred when organising events off against tax. Currently 50% of such expenses are tax deductable.

A special tax shelter system will be launched that offers tax breaks for those investing in small and medium sized companies that have been adversely impacted by the corona crisis.

The parties wanted to prevent as many job losses as possible. Companies in difficulties can stave off redundancies by reducing the amount of time their employees’ work, with the state compensating a large portion of the net income lost. Another measures is offering those over the age of 55 the opportunity to work 80% or 50% of a standard working week.

Companies that are suffering a drop in turnover in excess of 10% will be able to place staff on temporary unemployment until the end of the year. The temporary unemployment system introduced by the government at the start of the crisis will continue to run for all companies that need it until 31 August.

Local social services councils will be given a total of 100 million euro to vulnerable people. In addition to this they will be given a further 10 euro by the federal state to help cover their increased running costs. The system of full-time “corona parental leave” for single parents and the parents of children living with a handicap has been extended until the end of September. The payment made to those taking corona parental leave has been increased to 150%.

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