Rob Engelaar

Cycle allowance for all workers who bike it to work

Trade unions and employers’ organisations have struck a deal in the National Labour Council.  Employees who cycle to work and don’t yet receive a cycle allowance will receive 0.27 euros per kilometre from 1 May at the latest.

Employees qualify for a cycle allowance for every kilometre they cycle while travelling from their home to their place of work and back up to a maximum of 40km a day. 

Nothing will change for people who already qualify for the allowance under their collective labour agreement. “Other sectors retain the arrangements already made with regard to a cycle allowance and businesses are not really obliged to increase the amount now” says Veerle Michiels of social services provider SD-Worx.

Today 11% of workers head to work on their bike.  55% of employees who live less than 5km from their place of work still use the car.

It’s hoped that by extending the allowance to all the number of people using the car can be cut further. This should have a beneficial impact on workers’ health, the environment and congestion.

In 2019 the Central Business Council calculated that the cost of a cycle allowance covering the entire private sector at 40 million euros.  This works out at 2% of businesses’ expenditure on company cars or 0.02% of total wage costs.

The employers are happy with the new agreement despite noting negotiations were difficult.  “Employers and unions have shown that they are able to strike deals in complex economic situations” says the VBO’s Monica De Jonghe.  “We hope the government will respect this agreement”.

The Christian union’s Piet Van den Bergh believes the accord will benefit several hundred thousand workers. “The most important message is that everybody qualifies for a cycle allowance” he says. 

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