400 horeca employers must ask staff to repay premium paid by mistake

About 400 employers in the hospitality industry have been asked to recoup a premium accidentally paid out twice to employees, because of a computer problem, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen.

The problem occurred in the system of paying out year-end premiums to workers in the industry, which has been closed down since November. It has nothing to do with temporary unemployment payments related to the lockdown.

“When paying year-end bonuses in the sector, the Fund acts as a third party payer. This means that the Fund does not calculate the bonuses itself. This is the role of employers,” explained a spokesperson for the Horeca Fund.

The matter is a complex one, the Fund said in a statement. Many employers call in a third party such as a social secretariat or another service provider, who then carry out these calculations and send them to the Fund.

“Unfortunately, we learned that one of these partners had a software problem,” the statement goes on.

“As a result of this software problem, incorrect information has been passed on to the Fund. Therefore the Fund made payments for which corrections were required. This means that about 400 employers – the sector has about 30,000 employers in total – have received a letter from the Fund to reclaim the premium that was paid twice.”

The Fund said it was itself “very upset” by the situation, while able to understand “the difficulties employers are currently facing, at a time when reserves are dwindling due to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, there is no other option from a legal point of view,” it stressed.

“It goes without saying that the Fund will display the necessary flexibility in handling this matter. The employers affected can of course contact the Fund to discuss their case. We are ready to help them with this matter.”

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