Employers must pay social security charges (approximately 30%) in addition to the employee's salary. Employers must also withhold 13.07% employee social security contributions. The employer is liable for the payment of both. No social security charges are due on payments or benefits that are not salary. Albeit there are many exceptions for specific types of benefits, every benefit in cash or kind to which the employee is entitled at charge of the employer, is salary subject to social security contributions. Initially, "at charge of the employer" ruled out any benefit that was not paid by or (directly or indirectly) financially at charge of the employer. The social security authorities and case law however broadened this concept to also include benefits that are not (directly or indirectly) at charge of the employer from a financial perspective, but where employees have a right against their employer to claim them. Recently, the social security authorities have extended the notion of salary even further. It now also includes, at least according to the social security authorities, payments or benefits that are not financially nor legally at charge of the employer, but that would simply disappear once the employment ends. This would also include payments or benefits that are granted by third parties during (and linked to) the employment contract and of which the employer may not even be aware (e.g. rebates offered to the employer's staff on third-party services or goods or incentives to promote such third-party services or goods). It remains to be seen whether the position of the social security authorities will be confirmed by majority of case law. ■
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