During the last seven months of 2022, the number of employees who opted for a mobility budget in Belgium increased to 0,022% compared to 0,015% last year. These figures still are disappointingly low, but there is a change. Teleworking and the possibility to finance rent or mortgage loans make the difference.
The mobility budget was originally intended to change mobility behavior and, more specifically, to push people to alternative transport. The measure, first of all, applied to employees with a company car, who could trade in their car for other, more sustainable means of transport.
War for talent
In the meantime, the measure is extended, and also other elements can be compensated. One important aspect is that employees, who work from home 50% of the time, are allowed to finance their rent or mortgage loan with their mobility budget. And this option is no longer limited to those who live within a radius of ten kilometers.
Since the beginning of the year, SD Worx registered 50% more employees with a mobility budget, while the peak is yet to come in December. The HR service provider also notices that an increasing number of employers see the benefits, in the war for talent, in employee retention.
And although the numbers are still limited (0,11% of employees at the end of 2021), you can make a difference as an employer with the mobility budget. Especially now that more people work from home, an increasing group is open to recovering housing costs.
In a testimonial, an employer explains how he experiences the success of the mobility budget. “The mobility budget makes people reflect on their mobility. As a result, they do not automatically opt for a (large) car. They consider whether they can organize their family’s mobility differently. And now that this budget can also be used for the rent of a house, it is also an extra asset for many. The idea of a monthly €650 compensation on your loan is very appealing. It’s a substantial increase in purchasing power, which is more than welcome nowadays.”
And he continues: “Most employees opt for a (smaller) company car combined with a bicycle or other means of transport; others – usually families with a car – opt for the housing costs. The only difficulty is the complex administration of the system.”
Earlier studies indicated that this is where, indeed, the shoe pinches. Most managers (61,1% in Flanders and 54,1% in Wallonia) know the principle of the mobility budget but don’t want to apply it. For them, it’s not convincing. More than half of the SMEs experience several inhibiting factors, like administrative complexity, the lack of enthusiasm among employees, the cost of electric vehicles, charging issues, or fiscal vagueness.
One of the explanations is that many employees with company cars really need their cars, to visit clients, for instance. So, for them, their mobility options are limited. Still, the mobility budget could be useful by opting for a smaller car and spending the remaining budget on an e-bike or (larger) rental car for the summer holidays.
Profile of mobility budget users?
Most employers who offer a mobility budget are situated in Brussels. The mobility budget is considered an innovative tool to attract and motivate employees, and it is most popular in the following sectors: construction, road construction, health care, public service, and the IT sector.
Most frequent adepts are people aged between 25 and 40 (64% of employees, of which slightly more men (0,13%) than women (0,09%)).