As of 1 October 2016 it is no longer permitted to pay salary in cash, unless

18 October 2016

As of 1 October 2016, the salaries of employees can only be made payable digitally, i.e. via bank transfer, cheque or money order.

Therefore salary payments in cash are therefore no longer possible as of 1 October 2016.

However, legislation provides for one exception, when salary payment in cash is still permitted in your sector on the basis of a sector CLA, tradition or implied approval.

Each sector has been given the opportunity until 30 September to report whether the sector has a tradition or an agreement for the payment of salaries in cash. If they report on time, they will be given a further six months’ time (therefore until 1 April 2017), to decide whether they will accept, dispute or terminate the tradition or agreement.

In summary, you can also pay salaries in cash after 1 October 2016:

  • if your sector has a collective labour agreement that allows for this;
  • if your sector has made a report before 30 September 2016 that an agreement or tradition exists to pay the salaries in cash.

If the agreement/use was reported on time and the sector rejects or disputes it after 1 October 2016, then the salary can no longer be paid in cash after a period of 2 months after having published the dispute or rejection on the website of FOD WASO.

There is currently one sector that has concluded a collective labour agreement in this respect, i.e. PC 327.01 (social and sheltered work places in the Flemish province). This CLA allows for an advance cash payment in exceptional cases and only in respect of small amounts (no more than EUR 100), provided the model document is used.

Five other sectors have reported that their sector allows for the use of salaries in cash:

  • PC 140.02 (taxis) has reported that there is a sectoral tradition regarding the payment of salaries in cash among employers and the drivers in certain cases;
  • PC 144 (agricultural) and PC 145 (horticultural) have reported that seasonal and occasional workers are usually paid in cash;
  • PC 201 (independent retailers) has reported that it is usual in their sector to pay the salary in cash of students in bakeries, pastry who produce fresh products for immediate consumption with an extremely limited shelf life and dining areas in a patisserie;
  • PC 324 (diamond industry and trade) has reported that there is a tradition in the sector whereby some employers pay the salaries in cash.

The salaries of the employees in the above mentioned categories can (still) be paid in cash after 1 October 2016. A cash payment of salaries for employees in other sectors is therefore no longer possible as of 1 October 2016!

On the website of FOD WASO, you can always see the current status by clicking the following direct link or by visiting www.werk.belgie and clicking: Themes > Salaries > Wage protection > Payment in cash > Payment from hand to hand.

The Social Criminal Code does not list specific sanction for the non-compliance of this new measure. According the FOD WASO the salary is considered as not paid if the salary was not paid pursuant to the manner prescribed by the law. In that case the employer risks a penalty sanction as provided for in the Social Criminal Code and the employee could therefore claim the payment of the salary again.