“Creativity in wage indexation is understandable, but don’t leave the little ones out in the cold”

It was confusing anyway. While many companies are bracing themselves to absorb an extra wage cost of more than ten percent, it appears that there are holes in the sector collective agreements and even in the collective agreements at company level to partly escape a full indexation of real wages. Especially in the banking and insurance sector, there is a very creative approach to the possibilities and loopholes that have been agreed upon in the sector. Not only AXA has found these gaps, BNP Paribas Fortis and ING Belgium have also succeeded in capping the indexation of higher wages. At AXA, the monthly gross wages up to 5,400 euros are still indexed in January, but the part of the wage that comes on top of that is no longer indexed. This is legally possible because the insurers and the unions have decided at sector level that only the pay scales should be indexed, and not other forms of wages (thirteenth month, premiums, etc.) that are awarded outside this. At BNP Paribas Fortis, the employer thus succeeds in capping the indexation to a level of approximately EUR 5,500 gross. At ING Belgium, only the scaled salary is indexed, but not the flex budget for the cafeteria plan. And that already leads to quite a bit of grumbling. For many employees, that flex budget accounts for up to a third of their full remuneration.

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