More and more Belgian companies are implementing a cafeteria plan or a flexible mobility plan. We expect this trend to continue and there are three reasons why flexible reward plans may add value after COVID-19.

Alternative and flexible mobility will continue to increase

Since employees worked from home en masse during the COVID-19 crisis, it is widely expected that employees will continue to work from home more after this period, sometimes out of necessity. Perhaps workers will look for alternative forms of mobility, such as cycling to avoid crowded trains. This means that employees will want to be more flexible in their mobility: an annual train pass may no longer be necessary. Perhaps the employee prefers to work at home for 2 days, travel to work by car for 1 day and by train for 2 days? It is time for companies to start a flexible mobility policy and to also take a look at their car policy, because the amended taxation on company cars and the WLTP standards will mean that the costs of company cars are expected to continue to rise.

Good infrastructure for working at home

Good infrastructure for working from home is essential. Many employees are already entitled to a lump-sum home working allowance so that certain costs are covered but are asking for better devices to work from home.

Through a cafeteria plan, it is possible for the employee to choose from a wide range of equipment that can be used for working from home. This can be a laptop for home use, a tablet or peripheral equipment (printer, docking station, extra screen). Peripheral equipment can be made available to employees in an advantageous way via a cafeteria plan: in many cases, no additional benefit-in-kind needs to be charged, provided that a main device is already made available.

This is a win-win situation: the employee can make optimal use of better infrastructure to work from home and the employer can ensure in a budget-neutral way that employees can work more efficiently from home.

A balanced salary package for employer and employee

Finally, it will of course still be important to offer an attractive remuneration package to employees. Attracting crucial profiles to the labor market will remain as difficult as ever and the war for talent has never really gone away.

Faced with these challenges, companies will look at the cost of remuneration in more detail and seek a good balance between the cost and the valuation of a certain wage element. Flexible pay can offer a solution here that benefits both the employee and the employer.

For example, an employee who can opt for optional outpatient and dental insurance instead of a cash bonus will appreciate this more. This is not only (para)fiscally more advantageous for the employee, but the employee can additionally enjoy the potentially interesting rates that the employer enjoys. 

For the employer, this is also interesting. The total remuneration and mobility package can be made flexible at no extra cost, which will increase the ultimate valuation of the total package. It is of course important in this case to always account for all costs, including VAT and corporate tax, so that the cafeteria plan is introduced in a budget-neutral way.