Did you know that there are 13 months in a year? There are in Belgium.
Many employers pay their employees a 13 month ‘bonus’. It is a great benefit to the employees and allows them to enjoy the extra income during holidays when expenses are the highest.
What is the 13th Month Pay?
According to the labour code, the 13th Month pay means one twelfth of the basic salary of an employee within a calendar year. On the contrary to popular belief, it is not free money. Companies simply divide your gross yearly salary by 13 to get your monthly salary.
Who is entitled to receive 13th Month Pay?
All rank-and-file employees, regardless of status, who have worked for at least one month are ought to receive 13th month pay.
How does 13th month salary work?
When calculating 13th month salary, all earnings and remunerations paid by an employer must be included. Even though allowances and monetary benefits are not considered to be the part of the basic salary, they can be included into 13th month pay. Providing, there is an agreement or company policy.
No social security deductions shall be applied to the employee’s 13th month pay. In other words, employees receive the gross amount with no deductions.
When is it paid?
The payment frequency of this monetary benefit is the subject of agreement between a company and its employees. Sometimes it is paid all in one go in the end of the year. Meanwhile, other organisations choose to split the payment into two. However, the required 13th month salary has to be settled no later than December 24th of each year.
Is it a bonus?
No. 13th month pay is separate from any other company bonuses and is mandatory by law. The employer cannot decide on the amount of the payment. It has to be no less than 1/13th of your gross yearly salary. However, they are free to pay more, should they wish to.
The 13th month pay is every employee’s right and if an employer does not pay, is late or does not pay in full, this shall be considered improper salary retention and a serious offence. Fines apply for non-compliance with this rule.