Obligation to Employ Disabled Workers

Newsletter - February 2021

Businesses with at least 20 employees are required to employ 6% of disabled workers. However, they can fulfil this obligation in other ways.


Which businesses?

The obligation applies to all employers who have at least 20 employees.

New businesses with at least 20 employees must meet the obligation within five years.

For companies with several sites, the obligation applies to the company as a whole.


How is the applicable workforce calculated?

The workforce corresponding to the average number of individuals employed in each month of the previous calendar year.

All employees are included: permanent and fixed-term contracts, temporary staff, etc.

A full-time employee is taken into account completely, whereas a part-time employee is counted by dividing the total number of hours stipulated in their employment contract by the working time defined by law or the applicable collective labour agreement.

If an employee is hired or leaves the company during a month, the calculation is pro rated to the number of days’ employment in the month.

The calculation does not include employees replacing an absent member of staff or one whose contract is suspended, apprentices, professionalization contracts, employment-initiative contracts during the financial aid allocation period and employment support contracts during the aid allocation period.

The threshold of 20 employees must be reached or exceeded for five consecutive calendar years to be subject to the obligation.


How many disabled persons must be employed?

In businesses subject to the obligation, disabled or equivalent employees must account for at least 6% of the total workforce.

The 6% rate is revised every five years.


How is the obligation met?

  • By employing disabled workers under any employment contract, on an internship or as temporary staff, in particular:
    • Employees recognised as disabled by the Commission for the rights and independence of the disabled (Commission des droits et de l’autonomie des personnes handicapées),
    • Victims of a workplace injury or occupational disease having caused at least 10% permanent disablement and receiving benefits under a mandatory welfare scheme,
    • Employees receiving a disability benefit if such disability reduces their working capacity by at least two thirds,
    • Employees receiving a disabled adults benefit,
    • Certain beneficiaries of military disability and war victim benefits.


  • By applying a branch, group or company-wide agreement providing for the implementation of a multi-year disabled worker programme for a maximum of three years, renewable once.


  • By paying an annual contribution to Agefiph within the limit of 600 times the guaranteed minimum hourly wage per disabled individual or equivalent not employed. The amount is adjusted according to the number of disabled or equivalent individuals employed and the number of jobs requiring special fitness conditions.

The contribution may particularly be reduced by expenditure incurred during the calendar year for the benefit of disabled workers, within the limit of 10% of the amount of the contribution, and expenses incurred under contracts with the sheltered employment sector based on a percentage of the price of products and services purchased by the company.

Up to 31 December 2024, the amount of the contribution may be reduced:

  • by participation in events promoting the accommodation, direct hiring and retention of disabled employees in the company,
  • partnerships with non-profits or organisations active in the training and social and professional integration of disabled individuals accommodated or hired by the employer,
  • actions contributing to the professionalization of directors or employees of companies in the sheltered sector, employment assistance services and disabled freelancers, and to the development of procurements from the latter.


For companies that have made no effort for the employment of the disabled for more than three years, the annual contribution is 1,500 times the guaranteed minimum hourly wage, irrespective of the company’s workforce.


How and when to declare?

  • Every month in the DSN (electronic payroll declaration)
  • Yearly in the DSN filed for the February employment period. It is exceptionally deferred for 2021. It must be declared in the monthly DSN in June 2021 corresponding to the May 2021 employment period.


 What are the penalties?

If the declaration is not filed, the employer is considered to be in breach of the obligation and the company will be excluded from tendering in public procurement contracts.


The monthly newsletter is distributed free of charge to the firm’s clients via email. This document is designed to provide information and may not reflect the most recent legal developments. Clients and readers should not take action or refrain from taking action on the basis of information contained in this newsletter without seeking professional advice.

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