Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in northwestern Europe. It is a part of many supranational organizations, including the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU), the Benelux Economic Union, and the EU. In addition, Belgium is divided into three regions: the Flemish and Walloon Regions and the Brussels-Capital Region.

 

*Please note that the official currency is the currency of remuneration when employed through WorkMotion in Belgium.

Capital :
Brussels
Currency :
Euro (€, EUR)
Languages spoken :
Dutch, French, German
Population :
11.52 million (2021 est.)
Minimum wage 2022 :
Regulated by CBAs
Cost of Living index :
$$$$ (22 of 139 nations)
Payroll Frequency :
Monthly
VAT - standard rate :
21%
GDP - real growth rate :
-5.66% (2020 est.)

Statutory Holidays

The holidays mentioned below are valid for the year 2022.

Belgium celebrates 12 public holidays. If any of the public holidays fall on a weekend, the day becomes a floating holiday, which the employee is entitled to use like any vacation day.

Date
Holiday Name
Extra Information
January 1
New Year’s Day (Jour de l'An)
April 17
Easter
April 18
Easter Monday
Movable - The first full moon after the spring equinox
May 1
Labor Day
May 26
Ascension Day
Movable - 6th Thursday after Easter
June 5
Pentecost (Whit Sunday)
Movable - 7th Sunday after Easter
June 6
Whit Monday
Movable - 7th Monday after Easter
July 21
Belgian National Day
August 15
Assumption Day
November 1
All Saints’ Day
November 11
Armistice Day
December 25
Christmas Day

Onboarding Time


When hiring new employees in Belgium through WorkMotion, the approximate onboarding time is only 5 business days. 

Our team ensures compliance with local employment legislation, as well as a quick and efficient onboarding process. The minimum onboarding time begins from the moment that WorkMotion has received all required information from both the client and the employee.

For more complex onboardings, this time may increase depending on the selected bouquet of contract inclusions and the right-to-work status of the employee.

What You Need To Know


  • Each collective labor agreement sets basic rates, contains arrangements for index-linking of pay, any gratuities such as year-end bonus, lunch passes, and premiums for working shifts, nights, weekends, etc.
  • All employees receive a Dimona declaration, where the employer informs the government of their active working relationships. 
  • There is no difference between sickness leave and disability leave in Belgium.

Labor Conditions


Working Hours

In principle, an employee’s working time should not exceed eight hours per day and 38 hours per week, but there is a range of exceptions from these limits.

 

Overtime

Under any circumstances, the maximum working time for any employee cannot exceed 48 hours per week. Overtime is paid at a minimum of 150% of the normal rate, or 200% in the case of work on Sundays or public holidays. It is also prohibited to work between 20:00 and 6:00, but exemptions may be granted.

 

Probation Period

Probationary, or trial, periods are not permitted in Belgium (other than for the first three days of a temporary agency work contract).

Termination Notice Period

The notice period varies according to the duration of the employment contract. The notice starts on the following Monday from the date on which it was served. It must be in writing and provide complete details of the duration and start of the notice.

Notice period based on seniority is as below:

SeniorityNotice to be given by Employer
0-3 months1 week
< 4 months3 weeks
< 5 months4 weeks
< 6 months5 weeks
6-9 months6 weeks
9-12 months7 weeks
12-15 months8 weeks
15-18 months9 weeks
18-21 months10 weeks
21-24 months11 weeks
> 2 years12 weeks
3 years13 weeks
4 years15 weeks
5 years18 weeks
10 years33 weeks
23 years65 weeks

Leave / Time Off

Annual Leave

Full-time employees are usually entitled to an annual leave of four weeks (20 days). Holiday entitlement must be between 20 and 24 days of annual leave, depending on whether the working regime includes five or six working days per week for 12 months’ work.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to sick leave and there is no maximum number of days; however, each incidence must be accompanied by a doctor’s note. All white-collar employees with a contract of at least three months are entitled to receive 100% of normal remuneration for the first 30 days of absence. 

During the first year of incapacity following the period covered by the guaranteed salary, the employee will receive sickness benefits from the Health Insurance Fund (ziekenfonds-mutuelle). The sickness insurance starts when the guaranteed salary period paid by the employer is over. The compensation rate is 60% of earnings. 

Parental Leave

For each child, an employee can request parental leave in the form of a full break for a maximum of four months. During parental leave, the employee’s contract is suspended, and they have no statutory entitlement to receive salaries from the employer. However, they are entitled to obtain a monthly interruption allowance from the National Employment Office (ONEM), to compensate for the decrease in the employee’s income. 

 

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave must be taken within four months after the birth. The leave is 15 weeks long (with a possible extension of two weeks in case of multiple births) and is broken down into two stages:

  • Prenatal leave: The woman can take up to a maximum of six weeks of leave before the due date, one week of which must be taken before the expected due date.
  • Postnatal leave: A mandatory nine weeks which starts from the date of the birth of the child.

The maternity benefit, paid by the social security system, is equal to 82% of the employee’s salary for the first 30 days and then drops to 75%, which will be capped. 

 

Paternity Leave

Spouses are entitled to 10 days of leave within a period of four months following the birth.

  • 100% of the wage is paid for the first three days by the employer.
  • 82% is paid by the health insurance for the remaining seven days.

 

Adoption Leave

The basic entitlement is six weeks’ leave per adoptive parent, increased by two weeks per parent if more than one child is adopted simultaneously. There is also an additional entitlement of two weeks’ leave per child, which may be either shared by both adoptive parents (where a couple adopts) or taken by one of them.

Other Types of Paid Leave

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to 10 days of bereavement leave if they lose a child or partner.

 

Circumstantial Leave

A salaried worker in Belgium is entitled to take time off from work and still receive a normal salary in the case of important family events, civil obligations, or court appearances.

Unpaid Leave

Leave for Compelling Reasons

Such leave may not exceed 10 working days in a calendar year. An employee has the right to be absent from work for compelling reason such as unforeseeable events that require the urgent intervention of the worker.

Statutory Benefits

Social security includes seven branches:

  1. Retirement and survivors’ pensions;
  2. Unemployment;
  3. Industrial accident insurance;
  4. Occupational health insurance;
  5. Family allowances;
  6. Compulsory insurance for healthcare and benefits
  7. Annual vacation.

In the scheme for employees, both employees and employers have to pay contributions to the National Social Security Office (Office national de sécurité sociale, ONSS). The addition of contributions to the business closure fund further adds to the employer costs depending on the number of employees they employ.

The following table presents the social security contributions from the employer:

CategoryEmployer Contribution Rate
Pension (Pensioenen)8.86%
Medical benefits3.80%
Cash Benefits, Disability Pensions and Maternity Benefits2.35%
Work accidents (Arbeidsongevallen)0.32%
Occupational Diseases (Beroepsziekten)1%
Child Benefits (Kinderbijslag)7%
Unemployment1.60%
Basic Contributions Total24.93%

*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged by WorkMotion may differ.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is provided through the national system. Health insurance contributions are 7.35% of gross salary (3.55% from the employee; 3.8% paid by the employer). There is also a contribution of 2.35% for cash allowances paid by the employer.

Other Insurances

Accident Insurance

All Belgian employers are obliged to insure their paid employees for the risk of accidents at work by subscribing to a policy with an insurance company. Employers contribute 0.32% towards work accidents and 1% towards occupational diseases.

 

Unemployment Insurance

Employees covered by social security can obtain unemployment benefits if they meet the necessary conditions. Employers contribute 1.6% towards unemployment insurance.

Public Pension

In Belgium the legal pension age is set at:

  • 65 years for those retiring on or before January 31, 2025;
  • 66 years for those retiring between February 1, 2025 and January 31, 2030, inclusive;
  • 67 years for those retiring on or after February 1, 2030.

Public pension is paid through contributions to social security. Contributions amount to 7.5% for employees and 8.86% paid by the employer.

Other Statutory Benefits

Family Benefits

Family benefit schemes of the federated entities provide for:

  1. A monthly basic allowance
  2. Social means-tested supplements
  3. Monthly age supplements (restricted to some federated entities)
  4. Birth or adoption grants
  5. Supplementary allowances for children with disabilities
  6. Annual age supplements

Employers contribute 7% towards child benefits.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Country Guide is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The contents of this Country Guide contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this Country Guide without seeking the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content included in this Country Guide.

Information provided in this Country Guide is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. WorkMotion Software GmbH periodically adds, changes, improves, updates, or removes information without notice, and assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of this Country Guide. This Country Guide may contain links to other websites. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.

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