More companies let staff share success through profit premium


The new profit-sharing scheme is popular with smaller businesses, with employees at the smallest enterprises taking home an average bonus of €3,033

Direct benefits

The number of companies rewarding their staff with a profit premium is predicted to double this year compared to last year. The fiscally favourable scheme was introduced at the beginning of 2018, to make it easier to let employees share in a business’ profits.

In the middle of 2019, Antwerp-based HR service provider SD Worx counted about as many companies using the premium as in the whole of 2018, with 240 companies already having given the bonus to about 10,000 staff members.

“If the success of the premium increases at this rate, we can expect a doubling of the number of employers that use the measure,” said Annelies Rottiers, strategic advisor of SMEs at SD Worx.

The smallest SMEs, with fewer than five employees, are more likely to use the bonus system and give the highest premiums. “The profit premium has to apply to everyone or to nobody, which is why it is easier for a small organisation to be generous in a profitable year,” said Rottiers. Of all the companies handing out the profit bonus, about 39% employs one to four people.

Extra motivation

These SMEs give on average €3,033, while employees at organisations with between 200 and 499 employees receive on average €1,461. The bonus is partly exempted from social security contributions and recipients only have to pay 7% taxes on it. Staff thus keep on average 80% of the total amount.

The Antwerp steel trader Steelforce is one of the companies that gave the profit premium for the first time. Each of its full-time employees received a bonus of about €1,000 for the fiscal year of 2018.

“The measure increases the commitment of our employees and makes them extra motivated to help improve the results of the company, because they can now directly benefit from them,” Steelforce’s HR director, Peggy Laenen, told Gazet van Antwerpen. “The profit distribution is an asset for us to attract the kind of professionals who are difficult to find, like financial specialists and multilingual commercial assistants.”

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