Target group reduction for first hires
Since 2016, you can get a significant reduction in employer social security
contributions for the first six hires. But early 2022, some changes came into
First or additional recruitment
Until 2021, you could benefit from a full exemption from basic contributions for
the first hire. That exemption was for an unlimited period.
For the next 5 recruitments employee 2 to 6 you received a fixed reduction
for a certain number of quarters.
There were a number of conditions: the new employee could not replace an
employee who had been employed in the same company during the four quarters
preceding that of recruitment. So it had to be an additional recruitment. This
means that you did not pay any employer contributions in the 4 quarters
preceding your first hire. For your second employee, you were only allowed to
pay contributions for one employee in the 4 quarters preceding the recruitment,
etc. In principle, this condition was checked per technical business unit, but
that concept was not defined.
First hire: no longer unlimited
From now on, the exemption from social contributions will be limited to 4.000
euros per quarter.
This means that there is still a full exemption from basic
employer contributions if the gross monthly wage is around 5.330 euros or
The exemption applies, as before, indefinitely.
Second to sixth hire
The reductions for the second to sixth recruitment remain unchanged, as these
amounts were already limited in amount and time:
5 first quarters: 1.550 euro (Employee 2) or 1.050 euro (Employee 3, 4, 5 of 6)
4 following quarters: 1.050 euro (Employee 2, 3, 4, 5 of 6)
4 following quarters: 450 euro (Employee 2, 3, 4, 5 of 6).
Until now, some temporary employees also qualified for the reductions, but as of
2020, the following temporary employees are ineligible:
employees until 31
December of the year in which they reach the age of 18
students in the
context of the alternating training
job students, IBO
persons subject to part-time
compulsory education, and
casual employees in the horticultural and
Two categories are now being added: casual employees in the catering sector and
flexi-jobbers. You can therefore no longer benefit from a reduction in social
security for these employees.
On the other hand, you may also ignore these
employees when determining the number of employees you already have.
The concept of technical business unit (TBE)
To determine whether you are a 'new employer for a 1st employee, or to determine
what rank from 2 to 6 a new employee is, you should not only look at the legal
entity. You need to look at the bigger picture, which is the technical business
unit or TBE. If your company is part of a TBE, the full TBE will therefore be
looked at to determine whether you can be considered a new employer, to
determine whether it is a second, third, etc. recruitment, or to determine
whether the recruitment can be considered a replacement or not.
Legal entities form a TBE if they:
have common employees (social ties), such as staff which transfers, or employees
who continue the same job as a self-employed person, and
have similar or complementary activities (socio-economic interdependence), such
as: bank branches that split up into different branches or an independent IT
service within the same group.
This can be legal entities that exist simultaneously or successive legal
In order to open the right to a reduction, the new employee may not replace an
employee within the TBE; it must therefore concern additional employment beyond
But how do you determine whether or not a new hire is a replacement within a
TBE? To do this, proceed as follows. First you determine the maximum number of
employees who were simultaneously employed within the TBE in the course of 12
months (day to day) preceding the recruitment. Note that the new law introduces
a tolerance of a maximum of 5 calendar days on which a temporary increase in the
number of employees in the reference period of 12 months will not be taken into
account. In concrete terms, this means that you do not have to count the 5 days
with the highest number of employees to determine the maximum employment in the
reference period of 12 months.
Then you take the total number of employees that are taken on by the new
employer on the first day and increase it by the number of employees that may
still be employed by the other employers in the TBE.
If the result of the 2nd step is at least one more than the first step, you are
entitled to the target group reduction for the recruitment of a 1st (or 2nd,
3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th) employee.
The reduction is not linked to a specific employee. The employer can therefore
choose again every quarter for which employee he applies the reduction: if an
employee leaves the employment and is replaced by another employee, you can
continue the reduction of the employee who has left the employment with the new
In principle, the right to the target group reduction for employment before 1
January 2022 is retained. The new rules regarding ranking at a TBE do not apply
to the past. This means that, if the entitlement to the reduction started before
1 January 2022, it remains possible within a TBE to have several first
recruitments for the same rank in different legal entities.
The reduction for first recruitment before 1 January 2022 in a situation that
would no longer qualify under the new rules is also maintained. If you received
the reduction for a flexi-job employee before 2022, you can therefore continue
that right after 31 December 2021 with an ordinary employee, but because the
flexi-job employee is no longer charged to check whether there was employment
for that particular rank in the course of the previous 12 months, the right can
also be reopened if all the conditions are met.