FAQ - Social Balance Sheet


1. When assessing the gross training cost, in particular the compensation of employees undergoing training, what is meant by “gross pay and social contributions”?

This concept comprises all components of employee compensation the cost of which is borne by the employer:

  • fixed and variable remuneration
  • holiday pay and double holiday pay
  • various premiums and bonuses
  • various other benefits (sick pay, furlough pay, etc.)
  • employer social security contributions
  • employer extralegal insurance premiums
  • other expenses (luncheon vouchers, travel expenses, clothing allowances, etc.)

Insofar as possible, profit-related non-recurring benefits should not be taken into account as they are not directly linked to the number of hours worked by the employee. Nor should payments to collective funds and mandatory contributions, which fall under items 58032 and 58132.

2. What is meant by 'wage bill' ?

The term “wage bill” refers to total gross pay and social charges. It corresponds to the total of items 620 to 623 in the annual accounts, with the exception of personnel costs for employees at foreign branches. This same amount will normally appear under item 1023 on the social balance sheet.

3. How should contributions and payments to collective funds be allocated between men and women (items 58032 and 58132)?

The total amount can be allocated between men and women:

  • based on the breakdown of the total personnel costs for male and female staff in the financial year (items 10231 and 10232), if such a breakdown is required in the full social balance sheet (see Question 18)
  • or, in the absence of a breakdown of total personnel costs for male and female staff in the financial year, in proportion to the number of male and female staff at the end of the financial year (items 1203 and 1213).

4. Which payments and contributions to collective funds count as training efforts?

The following payments and contributions are considered training efforts:

  • Employer contributions to favour employment and further training for risk groups, paid pursuant to the Omnibus Act of 27 December 2006. Depending on the sector, this contribution may range from 0.10% to 0.90% of the wage bill.
  • The contribution for paid educational leave amounting to 0.5% of the wage bill.
  • The supplement of 0.05% of the wage bill paid to the educational leave fund in cases where training efforts previously made at sector level are deemed insufficient.
  • Payments earmarked specifically for employee training (often expressed as a percentage of the wage bill), i.e. under a sector-level or company-level collective labour agreement. Examples of funds for training and job security: Cefora, Educam, IFP, FFC, Horeca, Fopas, Formelec, Irec-Ivoc, INOM, Technios, etc.

5. Which hours and costs should be charged in the case of educational leave?

When calculating both the number of hours and the cost of training, only those for which the employer bears the expense should be taken into account, thus not costs incurred or training attended in the employee’s free time and for which the employee is not entitled to compensatory time-off. Hours/days taken off for educational leave approved by the employer do count, on the other hand.

6. What proportion of a subsidy should be charged when payment of the subsidy is spread over two financial years?

In this case, the amount recorded on the income statement (profit-and-loss account) is charged rather than the amount actually received (thus, in principle, amounts receivable relating to the current financial year will also be recorded).

7. Do hours spent by employees coaching the employees of foreign affiliates count towards training?

No, coaching hours do not count if the recipients of the training are not members of staff covered by the employer’s DIMONA declaration or included in the personnel register.

8. Are student internships considered training?

No, student interns are not personnel (they are not covered by the employer’s DIMONA declaration and do not appear in the personnel register) and thus cannot be included in the category of persons benefiting from basic training.

9. Should employees who undergo training while on assignment abroad be included when calculating training efforts (for example, staff of NGOs active abroad)?

Yes, provided the staff in question are covered by the employer’s DIMONA declaration or appear in the personnel register and the training is financed by the employer.

10. How should apprenticeship contracts and socio-professional integration agreements with a term of less than six months be treated?

Since these types of agreements cannot be considered basic vocational training, they will fall under informal continuing vocational training.

11. Is the net training cost of associations whose operations are fully subsidised necessarily zero?

Associations are not required to report global operating subsidies, even in part, as training subsidies. On the other hand, any subsidies awarded by sectoral funds specifically to finance training activities must be included in the training table as subsidies under items 58033 and/or 58133.

12. Is training provided by trade unions considered formal continuing vocational training?

No, this is not vocational training per se. Employees attend these types of training courses in the framework of their official union duties with a given employee representative body, not in the framework of their employment contract.

13. Should fire drills, fire prevention training and first-aid training be mentioned on the social balance sheet?

Yes, these activities can be considered formal continuing vocational training.

14. How should mentoring be accounted for on the social balance sheet?

The employees concerned are the mentees. The number of training hours corresponds to the number of hours they are mentored. The net cost for the employer includes both hours spent in training by mentees and time effectively devoted to mentoring by mentors.

15. Should amounts paid by the cross-sector healthcare services fund to cover the wage costs of staff taken on to replace employees studying for a nursing degree be considered training subsidies?

These amounts should be considered a subsidy; the wages paid to the employees studying for a nursing degree constitute the gross cost (items 58031 and 58131), while the amounts received from the intersectoral fund constitute a training subsidy (items 58033 and 58133).

16. What are some examples of training that does not fall under any of the categories on the social balance sheet?

Examples include

  • Accidental learning: this happens naturally in everyday life. It is neither planned in advance nor intentional; it does not occur in a specific place or with a specific teacher/trainer.
  • Reading of professional magazines and their subscription costs
  • All costs unrelated to training initiatives (subsidised passes, maintenance of hardware and software, etc.)
  • Onboarding of new employees
  • Trade union training
  • Fire evacuation exercises

17. Should the items on employee status (1001 to 1033P) on the full social balance sheet be broken down by gender?

As provided for by Article 4 of the Act of April 22, 2012, incorporated into Article 5:2(I)(1) of the Royal Decree of 29 April 2019 implementing the Code of Companies and Associations, the breakdown by gender of each of these items is not required if the number of employees concerned does not exceed three.

It appears from the legislative history to the Act of 22 April 2012, more specifically from the report on behalf of the Advisory Committee on Social Emancipation (Parliamentary Document No 53 1675/006, pp. 22-23, http://www.dekamer.be/FLWB/PDF/53/1675/53K1675006.pdf), that the legislature wished to grant an exemption from the obligation to break down (on the social balance sheet) wage data based on employee gender for companies with no more than three employees of the same gender.

18. How should the breakdown by gender be made for personnel costs that cannot be attributed to an individual employee?

Personnel costs such as global amounts charged by the NSSO, costs for work clothing, staff canteen costs, contributions to travel expenses, meal vouchers, etc. (usually falling under item 623 “Other staff expenses” in the annual accounts) may be broken down in proportion to the individually attributable male and female personnel costs.

19. Must a social balance sheet be filed if the company has only one employee?

A social balance sheet should be filed as from the time there is a single employee.

In this case, items relating to “personnel costs of full-time and part-time employees for the financial year and total personnel costs for the financial year and the previous financial year” need not be filled in.