FAQ: Social Balance Sheet

  1. When assessing the gross cost of training, and in particular compensation of workers in training, what is meant by "gross pay and social costs"?
  2. What is meant by "wage bill" ?
  3. How should the contributions and payments to collective funds (headings 58032 and 58132) be shared between men and women?
  4. Which payments and contributions to collective funds count as part of the training effort?
  5. Which costs and hours spent on training should be included in the case of training leave?
  6. How much of the subsidies should be taken into consideration when their payment is spread over 2 years?
  7. Should hours spent by members of staff coaching workers in related enterprises based abroad be included in training schemes?
  8. Are student training programmes put in the same category as training?
  9. Should staff sent abroad on mission who are following training schemes be included in the training efforts (e.g. NGO volunteers operating abroad)
  10. And what about apprenticeship contracts and socio-professional integration agreements with a duration of at least 6 months?
  11. Do associations whose global operations are financed by an aid package necessarily have a zero net cost of training?
  12. Can trade union training be regarded as formal further vocational training?
  13. Any examples of training that does not fall under any of the categories to include in the social balance sheet?
  14. What elements should be taken into consideration in the social balance sheet in the event of support and guidance?
  15. Should amounts paid by the cross-sector healthcare services fund intended to finance the costs of staff taken on to replace workers following a training course for a nursing diploma be considered as training subsidies?
  16. Any examples of training that does not fall under any of the categories to include in the social balance sheet?
  17. Do the headings concerning the status of employees (1001 to 1033P) in the full-format balance sheet always have to be broken down between men and women?
  18. How is the gender breakdown to be effected in respect of the part of staff expenses which cannot be attributed individually to any specific worker?

1. When assessing the gross cost of training, and in particular compensation of workers in training, what is meant by "gross pay and social costs"?

These are all items making up employee compensation for which the employer bears the cost:

- fixed and variable compensation
- holiday allowance and double holiday pay
- various premiums and bonuses
- various other social benefits (sick pay, partial unemployment benefit, etc.)
- employers' social security contributions
- employers' extra-legal insurance premiums
- other expenses (luncheon vouchers, staff travel expenses, work clothing allowances, etc.)

As far as possible, non-recurrent profit-related benefits should not be taken into account, because they are not directly linked to the number of hours worked by the employee, and neither should payments to communal funds and compulsory contributions which are already covered in sections 58032 and 58132.

2. What is meant by "wage bill" ?

The term "wage bill" refers to the sum total of gross pay and social costs. It corresponds to the sum of sections 620 to 623 in the annual accounts, with the exception of staff costs concerning workers employed in foreign branches. This same amount will normally appear in section 1023 of the social balance sheet.

3. How should the contributions and payments to collective funds (headings 58032 and 58132) be shared between men and women?

The total amount can be shared between men and women:

  • in proportion to the subdivision of the total costs of male and female staff in the financial year (headings 10231 and 10232), if that breakdown is required in the full-format social balance sheet (see FAQ n° 18)
  • or, failing the subdivision of the total costs of male and female staff in the financial year, in proportion to the numbers of male and female staff at the end of the financial year (headings 1203 and 1213).

4. Which payments and contributions to collective funds count as part of the training effort?

The following payments count:

  • The employer’s social contributions in favour of employment and further training for risk groups, paid by the firm pursuant to the Law of 27 December 2006 containing miscellaneous provisions. Depending on the sector, that contribution may range between 0.10% and 0.90% of the wage bill.
  • The contribution for paid study leave amounting to 0.5% of the wage bill.
  • The supplementary amount of 0.05% of the wage bill paid into the study leave fund in cases where the training efforts previously made at sectoral level are deemed insufficient.
  • The payments specifically intended for worker training (often expressed as a percentage of the wage bill), i.e. under a sectoral or corporate collective labour agreement. (Some examples of training and social security funds: Cefora, Educam, IFP, FFC, Horeca, Fopas, Formelec, Irec-Ivoc, INOM, Technios, etc.).

5. Which costs and hours spent on training should be included in the case of training leave?

For calculating both the hours and the cost of training: only those hours spent training at the firm's expense will be taken into consideration, not those taken in the trained worker's free time.

6. How much of the subsidies should be taken into consideration when their payment is spread over 2 years?

It is advisable to take the amount that is included in the annual accounts (in this way, any amounts for which payment is pending and which relate to the current year will in principle be included) rather than the amount actually paid out.

7. Should hours spent by members of staff coaching workers in related enterprises based abroad be included in training schemes?

No, insofar as the beneficiaries of the training are not part of the staff covered by the multifunctional declaration of employment (DIMONA) or being a registered staff member.

8. Are student training programmes put in the same category as training?

No. Students following a training course are not part of the staff (they have not signed the immediate declaration of employment nor are they included in the staff register) and cannot be included in the category of persons benefiting from basic training.

9. Should staff sent abroad on mission who are following training schemes be included in the training efforts (e.g. NGO volunteers operating abroad)

Yes, in cases where the staff in question are covered by the multifunctional declaration of employment (DIMONA) or are included in the staff register and where this training is being financed by the firm.

10. And what about apprenticeship contracts and socio-professional integration agreements with a duration of at least 6 months?

If they cannot be considered as basic vocational training, these schemes will come under informal further vocational training.

11. Do associations whose global operations are financed by an aid package necessarily have a zero net cost of training?

No, they should not mention these operating subsidies, even partially, as subsidies for training.

12. Can trade union training be regarded as formal further vocational training?

No, since this is not actually vocational training as such. Employees follow this type of training in the framework of their mandate with such and such a workers' representative organisation but not under their employment contract.

13. Any examples of training that does not fall under any of the categories to include in the social balance sheet?

  • random apprenticeship: in other words, an apprenticeship occurring naturally in day-to-day life. It is neither planned nor intentional, nor is it connected to any specific place or arbitrator (teacher/trainer)
  • the reading of professional journals and any related subscription fees
  • and any other sundry expenses having nothing to do with training (social subscriptions, IT equipment maintenance, etc.)
  • welcoming workers to the company.

14. What elements should be taken into consideration in the social balance sheet in the event of support and guidance?

The workers concerned are those who benefit from the support/guidance. The number of hours of training followed corresponds to the number of hours during which the employees are actually accompanied by or trained by a tutor. The net cost of the training for the company not only includes the cost of the hours spent training by the beneficiary workers, but also the cost of the time spent on such activity by the tutor/instructor as well.

15. Should amounts paid by the cross-sector healthcare services fund intended to finance the costs of staff taken on to replace workers following a training course for a nursing diploma be considered as training subsidies?

Yes, the wages of workers following a nursing training course are included in the gross training costs (heading 58031 or 58131), while amounts received from the cross-sector fund are deemed to be a subsidy (heading 58033 or 58133).

16. Any examples of training that does not fall under any of the categories to include in the social balance sheet?

  • random apprenticeship: in other words, an apprenticeship occurring naturally in day-to-day life. It is neither planned nor intentional, nor is it connected to any specific place or arbitrator (teacher/trainer)
  • the reading of professional journals and any related subscription fees
  • and any other sundry expenses having nothing to do with training (social subscriptions, IT equipment maintenance, etc.)
  • welcoming workers to the company
  • union training
  • fire drill and evacuation procedure

17. Do the headings concerning the status of employees (1001 to 1033P) in the full-format balance sheet always have to be broken down between men and women?

In accordance with Article 4 of the Law of 22 April 2012, the gender breakdown for each of these headings is not required if the number of workers concerned is no more than three.

It is evident from parliamentary debates, and more specifically from the report on behalf of the Advisory Committee on Social Emancipation (see parliamentary document n° 53 1675/006, p. 22-23: see http://www.lachambre.be/FLWB/PDF/53/1675/53K1675006.pdf) that the legislature intends to grant an exemption from the obligation to break down the wage data in the social balance sheet according to the gender of the employees in the case of firms employing no more than three workers of the same sex.

18. How is the gender breakdown to be effected in respect of the part of staff expenses which cannot be attributed individually to any specific worker?

Staff expenses such as the total amounts invoiced by the NSSO, the cost of work clothing, staff canteen costs, contributions towards travel expenses, meal vouchers, etc. (usually corresponding to heading 623 "Other staff expenses" in the annual accounts) can be allocated in proportion to the male and female staff expenses that can be attributed individually to each worker.