Table of Contents

Belgium

Table of Contents

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

24%

About Belgium

One of the earliest nations to industrialize was the Austrian Habsburg, now known as Belgium. The Belgian monarchy ensured there was economic development by investing directly into the people or via government policies. In the 19th century, Belgium also developed a well-connected transportation system for railways, roads, canals, and highways. The country also integrated its industry with that of its neighbors. Belgium’s GDP per capita is $41, 096; its minimum wage is 1,562 euros. They also have a high level of export accounting for two-thirds of its GDP. On a per capita basis, Belgium exports five times as much as Japan and twice as much as Germany.

Belgium has a diverse ethnic population and cultures, with the Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, and German-influenced culture in the northeast.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

In Belgium, an employment contract is presumed to be for an indefinite period except for: Employment contract formed for a fixed period Work contract for a clearly defined job Replacement contract (contract for the replacement of a permanent worker) An employment contract of indefinite duration exists by the sole expression of the agreement of the parties; no formalism is required. Thus, an employment contract can be concluded orally.  *As of March 31, 2022, teleworking is no longer required unless dictated by collective labor agreements or existing agreements, and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure employee safety including social distancing. 

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Employment contracts in Belgium providing fixed terms must be in writing, clearly stating the dates of the fixed term or an event that must occur to conclude the contract. It can be formed for a clearly defined work to estimate the effort and time required to complete the same. In the absence of written proof, they are considered to be for an indefinite period. Successive use of fixed-term contracts is deemed to be the contract for an indefinite period except in case the employer proves that it is justified by the nature of work or by other legitimate grounds. Contracts can be renewed for a maximum of 4 times, provided their total duration does not exceed 2 years or 6 times with maximum duration of 3 years with approval from DG Social Laws Inspectorate.  *As of March 31, 2022, teleworking is no longer required unless dictated by collective labor agreements or existing agreements, and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure employee safety including social distancing. 

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

The labor law of Belgium outlines 2 types of temporary employment agreements: replacement contracts and temporary work contracts. Both types must be concluded in writing.  Replacement Contract Replacement contract: an employment contract for up to 2 years that is concluded for the replacement of a permanent worker whose employment contract is suspended for reasons other than partial unemployment for economic reasons or bad weather, strike, or lockout Temporary work contract: an interim work situation where a temporary worker is employed by an authorized temporary work agency (employer) for the purpose of being loaned to a user company (a client of the temporary work agency) to perform a temporary job *As of March 31, 2022, teleworking is no longer required unless dictated by collective labor agreements or existing agreements, and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure employee safety including social distancing.

Probationary Period

Belgian employment law has prohibited the use of probationary periods since 2014, with the exception of student occupation contracts, temporary contracts, and interim work (temporary work provided by a third-party agency) contracts .

Working Hours

In Belgium, all regulation of working time and rest time is based on a default working time arrangement that is considered "normal" or at least common practice. These general rules are subject to derogations, sectoral or sometimes individual, making it possible to adapt to the specific needs of companies, activities, and workers. The working hours' regime considered to be "normal" (which can also be defined as the regime not requiring the application of any derogatory provision) is a regime in which: Working hours are limited to eight hours per day and 40 hours per week (38 hours per week on an annual basis). The workweek runs from Monday to Saturday (at the latest). Work is not completed at night (that is, between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.). Employees do not work on public holidays. As of February 2022, Belgium's government passed legislation allowing employees to work a 4 day work week. Employees are still required to work 38 hours minimum per week, thus creating extended workdays.   As of March 31, 2022, teleworking is no longer required unless dictated by collective labor agreements or existing agreements, and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure employee safety including social distancing.  Effective May 1, 2022, those employers who permit employees to continue teleworking must conclude an agreement meeting specific requirements. The agreement is valid until either party wishes to end the arrangement. As of January 1, 2023, Companies that employ more than 20 employees cannot require employees to be online or work after their regular working hours.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

New Year's Day – January 1 Easter Monday – date subject to change every year Labor Day – May 1 Ascension – date subject to change every year Whit Monday – date subject to change every year National Day – July 21 The Assumption – August 15 All Saints' Day – November 1 The Armistice – November 11 Christmas – December 25

• Paid Annual Leave

In Belgium, employees are entitled to a holiday period of at least 20 days (24 days for a 6-day workweek) or a maximum of 4 weeks for 12 months of work, including the non-working days declared by Royal Decree. *Days of temporary unemployment due to COVID-19 in 2022 must be treated as days of actual work for the calculation of annual vacation days and the statutory vacation pay for 2022. 

• Sick Leave

In Belgium, employees are permitted to take sick leave as soon as they begin working. During the initial period of sick leave, sickness benefits are paid by the employer. White-collar workers receive 100% of their earnings for a month. Manual workers receive 100% of their earnings for the first 7 days of incapacity, and 85.88% from the 8th to the 14th day of incapacity. From the 15th to the 30th day, manual workers receive 25.88% of compensation not exceeding the ceiling set by disability health insurance and 85.88% of the amount exceeding the ceiling. Employees do not need to submit certificates of incapacity to work to their employers if the employer has more than 50 employees. This rule is only applicable for the first 3 times of absence due to illness in a year. After the employer's sickness benefits end, an employee qualifies for sickness insurance benefits if they satisfy the following conditions: The employee must have worked 180 days (paid vacation days and sick leave days count toward this total) during a period of 12 months prior to obtaining the benefits. The employee must prove that they have paid sufficient social contributions to the sickness benefits sector. The contributions must reach a particular minimum amount or be completed with personal contributions. Sickness insurance benefits last 1 year. During this period, the employee receives 60% of their salary from the sickness insurance fund, limited to a maximum daily salary of EUR 164.07 (Euros). If an employee is still unable to work after a year, they become entitled to invalidity benefits.

• Maternity Leave

The labor law of Belgium states that pregnant women are entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave: six weeks of prenatal and nine weeks of postnatal leave. In case of multiple births, the leave is for 17 weeks, can be extended to 19. The employee must submit a medical certificate stating the expected delivery date to the employer 7 weeks before the delivery date. During maternity leave, employees receive a maternity allowance from their health insurance fund: During the first 30 days, it is 82% of the uncapped salary From the 31st day and in the event of an extension, it is 75% of the capped salary.  

• Paternity Leave

The labor law of Belgium states that paternity leave regulations are applicable to the entire private sector and contract staff of the public sector.  Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 15 days of paternity leave within 4 months from the delivery date. An employee can choose to use his leave all at once or spread it over a 4-month period. In the case of twins or multiple births, the paternity leave is the same as in the case of the delivery of one child. The amount of paternity leave will increase to 20 days from January 1, 2023. A co-parent who does not have parentage on the newborn child is also entitled to 10 days of birth holiday in some instances. This rule covers same-sex partners of the biological mother.  The employer is liable to pay the employee's regular compensation to the employee for the first 3 days of paternity leave. To be entitled to remuneration, the worker must first have informed the employer of the delivery. If this proves impossible, the worker must in any case notify the employer as soon as possible. For the remaining 12 days, the employee is entitled to receive an allowance of 82% of gross salary from the state insurance companies, with an upper limit of EUR 144.34 (Euros) per day. The worker's mutual insurance company retains a professional withholding tax (11.11%) on this amount

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

For employment contracts concluded after January 1, 2014, there is no distinction between employees and workers regarding notice of dismissal. The notice period depends on the duration of service and ranges from 1 week to 65 weeks in case of dismissal and from 1 week to 13 weeks in case of resignation of the employee. In the case of employment contracts concluded before 2014, there were different notice periods for workers and employees. The notice period for workers ranges from 4 weeks to 16 weeks. The notice periods for lower-level employees (with a gross annual salary of under EUR 32,254) is 3 months per 5 years of service. The notice period for superior level employees (with a gross annual salary above EUR 32,254) is 1 month per 5 years of service. For service beyond January 1, 2014, the notice period is calculated with the new general scheme and added to the prior notice period. 

• Severance Benefits

The severance indemnity is equal to the remuneration corresponding to either the notice period or part of the period remaining to be paid. The severance payment includes salary as well as benefits.