Belgium

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in Belgium. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

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. 

Work Permits

To employ a non-European national in Belgium, it is generally necessary to apply for a work permit.The remuneration of the employee must comply with Belgian regulations and cannot be less than EUR 1,954.99 (euros) and vary based on the qualifications of employees and the region in which they are located. In Brussels-Capital Region, highly qualified staff and executive staff are entitled to a minimum salary of EUR 47,174 and EUR 78,704, respectively for 2023, and EUR 50,310 and EUR 83,936, respectively for 2024. Work permits are issued by regional offices. To work for more than 90 days, employees must apply for single permit (work permit + residence permit) via their employers, submitting employment contract, a certificate showing no criminal record, a medical certificate proving the employee has no communicable diseases. If the work permit and the residence permit are granted, respectively by the Region and by the Foreigners Office, the third-country national will receive a single document certifying that he is authorized to stay for more than 90 days in Belgium to work there (single permit). Single Permits can also be issued for indefinite duration after a third-country national has lived and worked in Belgium for at least 4 years.

Employees who work for less than 90 days require to apply for License B. It is valid for working with a particular employer.   

Paid Annual 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.

 

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.

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.

 

Minimum Wage

Effectively, there are 3 different types of minimum wages: public sector, private sector, and category-specific minimums based on the collective bargaining agreements. Minimum wages for public sector employees range from EUR 2,087.57 to EUR 3,464.89 per month, depending on employment class and experience. Other wage structures exist for students and employees under 21. These wages are linked to the central health index, and increase by 2% when the health index increases by 2% or higher.

Collective Bargain Agreement No. 43 (CAO 43) sets out the new minimum wages as EUR 2,029.18 per month (RMMM, or guaranteed minimum monthly income), effective April 1, 2024. Any higher wages set forth by collective bargaining agreements remain unaffected by the new wage minimums. The private sector minimum wage for students and other employees 16-21 are determined based on specific percentages of the monthly base wage. 

Minimum amounts of remuneration are laid down per sector by the competent joint committees. The collective agreements concluded within these committees include provisions designed to determine the general basis for calculating the remuneration conditions on basis of the various levels of qualifications and posts. Sectoral minimum wages cannot be lower than the RMMM. For more information on industry-level gross wage levels, refer to the resource named "Remuneration" in the references section. 

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within Belgium.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in Belgium.