Parliament approved almost unanimously on Thursday, save for abstention by the socialists and the PTB, the legislation proposed by ministers Bacquelaine and Ducarme.
The legislation’s effect is to further broaden the second pension pillar, the supplementary pension, to the self-employed.
To date, only employees and self-employed company directors have been able to have a supplementary pension, to complement the state pension. The system will henceforth be extended to all individuals who are self-employed as their main activity (operating as a sole trader or partnership, rather than a company). Now included are 432,500 individuals, as well as assisting spouses, self-employed assistants and those self-employed in a complementary capacity, who pay as much in contributions as those who are self-employed as their main activity.
In return for respecting the income tax limit of 80% (the amount of the statutory and supplementary pension combined cannot exceed 80% of the individual’s final salary), the self-employed are able to enjoy a 30% reduction in premiums paid. The supplementary pension benefits are taxed at a separate rate of 10%.
The measure is a further step towards both generalization of supplementary pensions and the harmonisation of pension regimes. To enter this new system, self-employed individuals are able to conclude a contract with their insurer or individual pension funds. They may effect such an arrangement starting from three months after the publication of the new legislation in the Belgian Official Gazette.