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Belgium is a cycling enthusiast’s paradise. It hosts several prestigious cycling races, including the Tour de France, the Tour of Flanders, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
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Many industries set their own minimum wages in Belgium based on collective agreements within their sectors. This is dependant on job role, working hours, industry, and length of service. The minimum wage Is 1,954.00 EUR based on a 38-hour working week.
Standard Working Hours
The standard workweek in Belgium is 38 hours and any hours beyond this must be compensated as overtime pay. In specific industry sectors, the maximum working hours per week might be lower due to collective bargaining agreements. The standard working week is Monday – Friday.
Any work exceeding the 38-hour work-week must be compensated in overtime. In cases permitted by legal provisions, extra hours worked should be compensated at a minimum rate of 150% of regular wages. Employers are obliged to adhere to the legally established boundaries regarding working hours and mandatory rest periods consistently.
In Belgium, the payroll is processed monthly for work conducted between the first and last day of the month, and payment is usually made on the last day of the month.
Some employees in Belgium may be eligible for a 13th salary. For those employers offering a 13th-month bonus, it is usually paid at the end of the year. Additionally, some employers may provide half of a 14th month’s pay as an additional benefit.
Paid time off
In Belgium, the annual leave entitlement is four weeks. The entitlement ranges from 20 to 24 days of annual leave, depending on the working agreement and length of service. Holiday days are accrued based on the number of months an employee worked during the previous calendar year. All accrued leave must be used within the designated 12-month period, and carryover of leave to the following year is not allowed.
If an employee falls sick, they will be covered by the employer for the first thirty days, receiving their regular salary. After this initial period, the Health Insurance Fund steps in to cover further sick leave, providing 60% of the salary. However, to be eligible for sick leave benefits, a medical certificate must be provided.
An expectant employee is entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave, which can extend to 19 weeks in the event of complex pregnancies or multiple births. Before the expected due date, the mother is required to take at least one week of leave, but she has the option to take up to six weeks. This period is referred to as Prenatal Leave. Additionally, after the child’s birth, the mother must take an additional nine weeks of leave, known as Postnatal Leave.
The father is eligible for 20 days of paternity leave with full pay. These days can be used consecutively, individually, or split into 40 half-days, offering flexibility to the employee. The paternity leave must be taken within the first four months following the child’s birth. During the initial three days of absence, the employer pays the employee’s full salary. For the subsequent 17 days, the employee receives benefits from their public health insurance, amounting to 82% of their salary.
Termination of Employment
The process of ending employment varies based on the terms of the employment contract. Employees with service of at least six months are entitled to be informed about the grounds for their dismissal. Should the employer fail to substantiate this justification, the termination will be classified as a “manifestly unjustified termination,” leading to the employee’s eligibility for a gross compensation ranging between three and 17 weeks salary.
The notice period in Belgium is 3 months however, this is dependent on the employee’s length of service and type of contract.
Probationary periods are not allowed under Belgian employment law, so you will not find a defined trial period in any employment contract within the country.
EU nationals planning to stay in Belgium for any less than three months should register with the relevant local authority upon arrival.
If the period of stay is for more than three months, it will be necessary to obtain a registration certificate from your local authority. After living in Belgium for three years, EU citizens will need to transfer their health and social security coverage to their host country to apply for permanent residency.
Citizens of non-EU countries require a visa and/or work permit. Short-term visas are for individuals staying less than 90 days in Belgium, while long-term visas are for those residing in Belgium for more than 90 days.
Additionally, obtaining a work permit for long-term visas typically involves the prospective employer initiating the application process, ideally several months in advance. The conditions and procedures for this application process vary based on the specific type of employee.
The standard rate of VAT in Belgium is 21%.