On Friday night, an agreement was reached within the “superkern”, the Federal Government and the ten parties that support the special powers destined to fight Covid-19, after several hours of meeting. The text was not validated by the N-VA. The Flemish nationalist party did not sign the joint statement sent shortly before 22:00.
“Today’s agreement reinforces the social and environmental measures taken last week. The nonsense proposals pushed by the N-VA have been completely rejected”, Ecolo co-chair Jean-Marc Nollet said on Twitter.
On June 6th, the ten parties approved a first set of measures. Later it was agreed to identify in a second step what could complement this system. That was the work that was carried out during the meeting this Friday.
The new support measures, protagonists of the agreement can be classified into two categories, indicates the press release signed by the government parties (MR, Open Vld and CD&V), with the support of the Socialists (PS and sp.a), environmentalists (Ecolo-Groen), CD&V, cdH and Défi.
The first category refers to investment support.
- The superkern has decided to establish a new temporary Covid-19 tax shelter system until the end of the year, open to all SMEs that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
- An investment deduction increased by 25% is provided for investments made between March 12th and December 31st, 2020.
- The nine parties have also decided to increase the deductibility of expenses related to the organization of events and catering from 50 to 100% until December 31st.
- The superkern has also decided to suspend the payment of VAT from December 2020 and increase from 10 to 20% the share of net income that can benefit from the reduction of subsidy taxes.
- At the same time, the tax reduction for donations made in 2020 to approved institutions will decrease from 45 to 60%.
The second category refers to the organization of work, according to the statement.
- The nine parties have decided to create adapted Corona unemployment, which consists of a transition between temporary unemployment due to the force majeure Corona and classic economic unemployment. This transitional economic unemployment can be used if the company shows a 10% drop in its turnover. The worker will follow two days of unemployment training per month and will continue to receive 70% of their last maximum salary.
- It was also decided to offer companies in restructuring or in difficulties the possibility of reducing working hours pending the resumption of normal activity and to avoid layoffs, either through a collective reduction in working time, either through the time credit system, or through the time credit at the end of the degree, whose accessibility will be reduced from 57 to 55 years.
- In addition, the Corona parental leave will run until September 30th with a subsidy increased to 150% for single parent families and families with a child with a disability.
- It was also decided to facilitate the reimbursement of the costs incurred by teleworkers, up to a maximum of 127 euros per month.
In addition to these measures, an agreement was also reached to release funds of 100 million euros for the CPAS to be dedicated to people in difficulties in order to extend the benefit of the social measures decided during the previous meeting to a more public comprehensive, especially from the point of view of energy poverty. To cover the operating costs linked to an additional workload, the CPAS will receive an additional aid of 10 million euros.