Flexible budgets & benefits

End-of-year bonus, bonus, mobility budget, training budget, remote working budget,... A whole range of possible budgets in a flexible remuneration plan!

Which budgets fit into a flexible remuneration plan?
Which benefits fit into a flexible remuneration plan?

Benefits can be found in all relevant areas of your HR policy, such as well-being, work equipment, mobility, and work-life balance.

Very popular benefits in a flexible remuneration plan are, for example, vacation days, training, bike leasing,....

Benefits in flexible remuneration plans are often chosen based on their popularity among employees (such as smartphones) or their advantageous tax treatment.

Thus, the choice for the benefit "individual pension savings" only has very concrete advantages in a flexible remuneration plan:

  • advantageous tax treatment for the employee (no social security employee contribution) and
  • a clear, affordable pillar for pension savings for the employer (instead of the expensive, complex group insurance)

Benefits overview

Flexible work benefits

Extra vacation days

In a cafeteria plan, an employee can purchase extra vacation days. These are extra-legal vacation days 🏖 that you get in addition to the legally established number of annual vacation days.

When an employee takes unpaid leave, these days do not count as worked days. The extra vacation days that one purchases through their flex reward plan have no negative impact on the number of effectively worked days.


In a cafetaria plan, an employer can offer the Multimedia benefit. This allows an employee to purchase devices with the budgets in their flexible remuneration plan that can be used for work and personal use.

The types of devices that can be chosen are the following:

  • Smartphones
  • Smartphone accessories
  • Laptops
  • Laptop accessories
  • Tablets
  • Tablet accessories

During the depreciation period, the employee remains the owner of the device and it is made available to the employee against the charging of a benefit in kind on the payslip. After the depreciation period, the employee has the option to purchase the device for the residual value.

Individual pension savings

There are 3 'pillars' of pension savings:

  1. Your statutory pension. You build this up by paying social security contributions on your salary.
  2. Your collective supplementary pension. This is the so-called 'group insurance' that you often receive from your company.
  3. Your individual pension savings. This is usually done through your bank or insurance broker.

The reimbursement of pension savings premiums in the flexible remuneration plan concerns this third pillar: individual pension savings through your bank or insurance broker.

For 2021, the maximum amount of premiums for this type of pension savings was 990 euros or 1,270 euros. An employee can have their individual pension savings premiums reimbursed with a budget in their flexible remuneration plan.

Cash benefits


A warrant is a financial instrument that gives the right to buy shares at a predetermined price and time. It is often used in salary packages as a way to reward and motivate employees.

Warrants can be part of the cafetaria plan benefits package because this is a very advantageous system for paying out individual bonuses.


An employee can always choose to have the budgets paid out in a flex income plan under the same conditions as the budgets would normally be paid out if they were not flexibilized.

For example, an employee can always choose to have an end-of-year bonus paid out as usual.

Mobility benefits


In a flexible compensation plan, the car can be added as a benefit in two ways.

  • An employee who is not entitled to a car in the salary package can be offered a car in the flex income plan. In most cases, the car is then paid for with a portion of the gross salary.
  • An employee who is entitled to a car in the salary package but wants to obtain a car with a higher cost than the car offered can, if offered, use a budget in their flexible compensation plan.


The bicycle can be chosen as a benefit in a flexible compensation plan and is one of the most interesting benefits that can be offered. This is due to the combination of the very favorable tax regime that is attached to it, the larger amounts involved in leasing or purchasing a bike, and the increasing popularity of cycling.

The condition for including a bike lease in a flex income plan is that the employee regularly uses the purchased or leased bike for commuting.

Shared Mobility

Shared mobility such as car sharing (Cambio, Poppy,...), bike sharing, and scooters can be included in the flexible compensation plan in the context of the legal mobility budget, where the budget for the car to which an employee is entitled but not chosen can be used for expenses in different pillars within which the shared mobility benefit fits.

Public Transport

Subscriptions and tickets for public transport can be included in the flexible compensation plan in the context of the legal mobility budget. The mobility budget is a budget in the flex income plan where the budget for the car to which an employee is entitled but not chosen can be used for expenses in different pillars within which the public transport benefit fits.

Housing Costs

Within the legal mobility budget, the option can be chosen to reimburse housing costs with the budget of a non-chosen car to which an employee is entitled in their salary package.

Housing costs include rent and mortgage payments and interests.

Wellbeing benefits

Health Insurance

Health insurance or an extension thereof (e.g. for family members) can be paid through the flexible compensation plan. This provides greater flexibility in the salary package because the employee can decide to join a hospitalization insurer.

Outpatient Care Insurance

If your hospitalization insurance offers to also insure outpatient care, this can also be included in the flexible compensation package. This outpatient care insurance covers medical expenses that are not covered by the mutual insurance and the hospitalization insurance. This is therefore a very interesting benefit.

What about the social rights of my employees?

Social rights

Using the end-of-year bonus for benefits (such as reimbursement for individual pension savings, IT, bicycle, health insurance) affects the employee's social rights. This is because these benefits (except IT) include an exemption for the employee to pay 13.07% social security contributions (contribution on salary).

This contribution of 13.07% consists of 7.5% for the 'pension fund', 4.70% for the 'sickness and disability fund' and 0.87% for the 'unemployment fund'. Each 'fund' has its own ceilings, which are maximum amounts above which no further rights are accrued. For pensions, this is at a gross salary of approximately EUR 5,000 per month, for sickness and disability it is approximately EUR 3,700 per month, and for unemployment it is approximately EUR 2,700 per month.

It is up to the employee to assess whether the financial benefit obtained with one or more choices in the plan is worth this (minimal) loss of rights.

🤓 For completeness:

  • The choice for vacation days does not affect the accrual of social rights (because the salary is paid, with all deductions included).
  • The accrual of holiday pay is not affected because the end-of-year bonus is not included in the basis for calculating holiday pay.

Income tax

The end-of-year bonus is heavily taxed.

Example: the employee is entitled to a gross end-of-year bonus (including employer's cost) of €1,000. What about the taxes?👇

  • The employer pays an employer's social security contribution of approximately 28% on that amount. The gross salary is then €720.
  • The employee must pay a solidarity social security contribution of 13.07% on the gross salary. The 'taxable salary' is therefore approximately €626.
  • The employee pays taxes on this amount, which are withheld by the employer from the salary (= withholding tax). This withholding tax is high for an end-of-year bonus (53.5%). This means that there is less than €300 left of the initial sum of €1,000.

By making tax-efficient choices in the cafeteria plan, the employee will to some extent pay less income taxes because with the same budget, he is entitled to one or more benefits in the cafeteria plan. These benefits are more profitable than the mere payment of the end-of-year bonus. ✨

What are the legal and fiscal rules concerning budgets?

A flexible remuneration plan is a plan in the remuneration package in which certain budgets are selected over which the employee can decide how to use them. But what are the rules surrounding the budgets that can be chosen?

Firstly, it is important to understand that cashing out the budgets, which is always possible in a flexible remuneration plan, comes with a high taxation. It is therefore important to realize which budgets are taxed the highest when selecting a budget.

This often leads us to the End of Year Premium and Individual Bonuses. These fall under the highest extraordinary prepayments. By including these budgets in the flexible remuneration plan, you will therefore gain the greatest advantage.

If an end-of-year premium is paid out in cash, approximately 62% of the budget will go to taxes. Whereas, when purchasing the most advantageous benefits in a flexible remuneration package, no taxes are paid. Below you can find an example of the difference between cash payment of an end-of-year premium and the purchase of a bicycle lease benefit.

Secondly, there is an important condition for making an end-of-year premium flexible. The employee must sign an addendum to the employment contract, in which the employee gives the right to convert that budget into benefits. You can have this done completely in the Payflip platform.