A quick glimpse at what will change as of January 1st: salaries, parental leave, drugs reimbursed, etc

The use of a tanning booth subject to medical authorization

Any adult who does not have a skin type 1, the most sensitive, can use a solar bench in Belgium. From 1 January 2019, there will be two methods of determining the type of skin, to obtain the permission to visit a solarium, stated the FPS Economy.

This skin type determination can be done by a doctor. The user must, in this case, provide a medical certificate confirming the skin type to the person in charge of the tanning center.

Hepatitis C drugs reimbursed

As of January 1, hepatitis C drugs will be reimbursed to all people with the disease, even at an early stage. The measure was announced late November by Health Minister Maggie De Block.

These drugs were previously only reimbursed at an advanced stage of the disease but the National Institute of Health Insurance-Disability (INAMI) and the producers of medicines signed an agreement to extend this reimbursement. By tackling hepatitis C earlier, it is possible to prevent it from becoming chronic.

An ambulance trip will cost 60 euros for everyone

As of January 1, 2019, a new billing system for ambulance services will come into effect: everyone will pay 60 euros each way. No matter where he is being cared for, where the 112 ambulance comes from, or which emergency service he is being transported to, each patient will pay the same amount.

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Today, an ambulance bill averages 130 euros. Patients can be reimbursed half of this amount by the government by introducing a certificate from their mutual. The average cost to the patient is therefore currently 65 euros.

This new measure is part of Health Minister Maggie De Block’s investments in urgent medical assistance.

Regularizing money illegally earned will cost more

The rate of fines related to tax adjustments will increase from January 1st, from 23 to 24%.

For tax-mandated capital, the rate, which is 38%, will be 39% by 2019. This rate increases by 1% each year until 2020.

Thanks to the international exchange of financial information developed by the OECD, the tax authorities now know much more about money held by Belgians abroad. Holders of an undeclared account therefore have every interest in undertaking a tax adjustment, subject to the payment of a fine, under risk of criminal prosecution.

Increased flexibility for parental leave

From 1 January, flexibility in the granting of parental leave is increased. Medical assistance leave and palliative leave may also be taken more flexibly, eg weekly or monthly.

Adoption leave is also improved and increased to six weeks regardless of the age of the child.

This leave will be 12 weeks in case of physical or mental disability of the child.

In addition, a one-week parental leave is created for long-term foster care (at least six months).

Family allowances become the responsibility of the Regions

Family allowances become the responsibility of the regions on 1 January 2019. However, nothing will be different in Brussels before 2020. Famifed, the Federal Agency for Family Allowances, will manage the Brussels files until 31 December 2019.

New vehicles forbidden to circulate in the Brussels Region

New vehicles will be banned in the Brussels Region, low emission zone, from 1 January 2019.

Euro 2 diesel vehicles and Euro 0 and Euro 1 gasoline vehicles are added to the list of vehicles already banned in the low emission zone. For these engines, only access for up to 8 days per year and per vehicle is possible via the purchase of a day pass.



An adjustment period is planned and the new prohibited vehicles will not be fined until April 1st.

ING customers will pay to withdraw money from a non-ING ATM

Holders of an ING Lion Account free account must pay, from 2019, 0.5 euro if they withdraw money from a distributor other than those of the ING network in Belgium or if they make a withdrawal in the euro area.

These two operations were free until now.

An average wage increase of 26 euros thanks to the tax shift

Net wages will increase as of 1 January following the entry into force of the last part of the tax shift. According to the calculations of the Minister of Finance, they will grow from 23 to 31 euros on average, depending on the level of gross salary.

The tax shift was introduced by the first Charles Michel government in order to increase, in several phases spread over the years 2016 to 2019, the net income for the workers and hence their purchasing power, as well as to favor the creation of jobs by lowering social contributions. A first part of the intervention was felt in early 2016, then in early 2018 and finally on 1 January 2019.