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Belgium

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Employer of Record (EOR) in Belgium

What you'll learn

  • Country Introduction
  • Employment Terms
  • Minimum Wage and Working Hours
  • Statutory Leave Laws
  • Termination Process
  • Additional Information
Belgium Introduction

Belgium (officially the Kingdom of Belgium) is a small country in Northwestern Europe, bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. Belgium has a strongly globalized economy and its transport infrastructure is integrated with the rest of the European continent. Belgian law provides employees with a wide range of benefits, including annual leave allowances, workplace injury insurance, and unemployment benefits.

Employment Terms

Types of Contracts

Both fixed-term contracts and open-ended contracts can be offered in Belgium. Fixed-term contracts should be linked to a specific task or justified. These contracts may be renewed once with a limit of 36 months for fixed-term contracts.

Note: The Work Contract must be in French, or Flemish depending on the official language of the employee. It can be translated into both languages and English.

Job Title Restrictions

Job titles such as CEO or CFO cannot be hired under the EOR model in Belgium.

Working Hours

The standard working week in Belgium is 38 hours.

Overtime

Overtime is agreed between the parties and enforced through the employment agreement and open to extra days off if they want. For those under full-time contracts, adhering to a maximum of nine hours per day and 38 hours per week is mandatory. Exceptions to these limits are permitted only under specific circumstances such as unexpected workload surges or urgent tasks arising from unforeseen events.

Compensation for overtime is as follows:

  1. Overtime hours worked on weekdays and Saturdays incur an additional 50% of the regular salary, while Sundays and public holidays merit a 100% increase.
  2. Additionally, employees are entitled to catch-up rest for each hour worked beyond the weekly limit. For instance, if an employee works four hours of overtime, they are entitled to four hours of catch-up rest, redeemable within the calendar year.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is set at EUR 2,250 per month.

13th and 14th Salary

Every employee is entitled to receive a 13th and 14th month salary, known as the Double Pecule de Vacances (mandatory), normally paid in May or June, and the End of Year Bonus (mandatory), normally paid in December.

Contractual bonuses are included in the overall salary and can only be altered with the explicit consent of the employee. Terms and conditions regarding contractual bonuses are determined by both parties and must be clearly stated in the employment agreement to be legally binding.

All bonuses, including the 13th and 14th month salaries and contractual bonuses, are subject to social contributions.

Taxes & Local Employment Costs

The Belgian Social security System encompasses the following:

  • Retirement and basic healthcare coverage (e.premium) through ONSS;
  • Work Accident coverage is also included in social cotisations;
  • Retirement Pension;
  • Unemployment Insurance.

Both employers and employees contribute towards social security.

Employee Taxes

Employee’s contributions total approximately 13.1% of the gross salary.

Employer Taxes & Contributions

Employer’s contributions total approximately 28% of the gross salary.

  • Social Security: 24.9% of gross salary
  • Unemployment Insurance: 1% of gross salary
  • Other Charges: 1.2% of gross salary
  • Professional Liabilities: 0.9% of gross salary

Types of Leave

Annual Leave (Vacation)

By law, employees in Belgium are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave. However, it is common for employers to provide more, with a best practice of 30 days for knowledge workers. Employees working a 6-day week are entitled to 24 business days of annual leave.

Holiday entitlement is accrued based on the number of months worked during the previous calendar year. When starting a new job, a vacation certificate displaying the accrued leave balance from the previous employer must be provided.

Generally, employees are required to utilize all accrued leave within a designated 12-month period, with no carryover of unused leave allowed. Exceptions are made for circumstances such as work-related accidents, illnesses, maternity or paternity leave, adoption leave, prophylactic leave, or foster care leave. In these cases, employees may defer vacation days until the end of the 24 months following the relevant vacation year.

Sick Leave

During the first 30 days of illness or personal accident, the employee continues to receive their regular salary. The employer bears the responsibility of paying the regular salary during this period.

Once the initial 30 days have elapsed, the Health Insurance Fund will cover further leave at 60% of the employee's salary. A sickness certificate, issued by the medical professional, is required for the employee to receive sick leave benefits.

Maternity Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave, with the possibility of extending to 19 weeks in cases of complicated or multiple births. Maternity leave comprises 2 periods: Prenatal Leave and Postnatal Leave. A mother must take a minimum of 1 week’s leave before the expected due date, but can opt for up to 6 weeks of leave before the due date. Following childbirth, a mother must take a further 9 weeks of leave.

Employees are prohibited from performing any work during the 7 days preceding the presumed delivery date and within the 9 weeks following delivery. The remaining weeks of maternity leave can be taken either before or after childbirth. The employee must inform her employer at least 7 weeks before the expected date of delivery (or 9 weeks in the case of multiple births), providing a medical certificate confirming the due date.

Women receive maternity benefits while on maternity leave, paid by the Health Insurance Fund. Initially, the benefit amounts to 82.00% of the employee’s salary for the first 30 days, and then reduces to 75.00% thereafter, with a cap. During this period, the employer is not obligated to make any payments to the employee.

Paternity Leave

The father is entitled to 1 month of paid paternity leave. This leave can be taken separately, in a row, or split up. The leave must be taken within the first 4 months after the birth. During the first 3 days of absence, the employee is paid a full salary by the employer. After this, the employee receives benefits from their public health insurance at 82% of the (capped) salary.

Parental Leave

Parental leave can be requested at any time from the end of the post-natal maternity leave and can be taken once an agreement has been reached between the employee and employer, as follows:

  • A single 4-month period
  • Multiple periods which are broken into at least 1 month each
  • Temporarily reducing the working hours to 80% for a maximum of 20 months. This period can also be divided up into multiples of 2-month periods.
  • Temporarily reducing the working hours to 50% for a maximum of eight months. This period can also be divided up into multiples of 2-month periods.
  • Taking off half a day per week or 1 full day every 2 weeks. This can be done for a maximum of 40 months or divided into several periods of 10 months each. However, the employer has the right to refuse this scheme.

Adoption & Foster Care Leave

An employee who takes in a child in their family as part of long-term foster care or adoption is eligible for an individual credit for parental leave, lasting up to 6 weeks. This 6-week credit is exclusive to the adopting or fostering parent and cannot be transferred to the other adoptive parent.

Payment Structure:

  • Both adoption and foster care leave are compensated in the same manner.
  • Initially, the first 3 days of leave are paid by the employer at 100% of the wage.
  • From the 4th day onwards, payment is covered by the health insurance fund.

Duration of Leave:

  • Each individual parent is entitled to 6 weeks of basic pay, which may double in specific cases.
  • Additionally, there's an option for an additional period of leave, totalling up to 9 weeks, which can be divided between the two parents (6 weeks + 3 weeks).

Bereavement Leave

Workers have the right to be absent from work for o longer than  3 days in the event of the death of their spouse, one of their children or one of their spouse's children, while maintaining their normal pay.

Public Holidays

There are 10 Public Holidays in Belgium. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday or a day the employee does not usually work, the employer must grant a replacement rest day.

  • New Year’s Day - January 1
  • Easter Monday - Day after Easter Sunday
  • Labor Day - May 1
  • Ascension Day - 40 days after Easter (Thursday)
  • Whit Monday - 50 days after Easter (Monday)
  • Assumption Day - August 15
  • All Saint’s Day - November 1
  • Armistice Day - November 11
  • Christmas Day - December 25

Termination Process

Process

The termination process varies based on the specifics of the employment agreement. The strictest form of dismissal is dismissal with notice. Employees who have worked for at least 6 months are entitled to know the reason for their termination. Some employees enjoy protection against dismissal on certain grounds; for instance, pregnant women cannot be dismissed due to their pregnancy.

An employee can only be dismissed for reasons provided by law. Examples include employees serving as representatives in the Works Council and the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW).

Certain sectors have additional procedures outlined in collective bargaining agreements. These procedures may specify information and consultation rules, among other things. Even with multiple dismissals, these procedures may not necessarily fall under the European and national collective dismissal rules.

Notice Period

The parties in the contract have the choice of giving notice during which the employment contract is still carried out (notice period) or of immediately terminating it, with payment of a termination fee (immediate termination).

In order to determine the notice period applicable, it is important to distinguish:

  1. The date on which the contract started (prior to or from 01.01.2014 onwards)
  2. If the termination is on the initiative of the employer (dismissal) or the worker (resignation)
  3. If the worker is a blue-collar worker or a white-collar worker

To be valid, notification of the notice period has to be provided in writing and mention the start and length of the notice. The notice period starts on the Monday following the week during which notice was given. The length of the notice varies according to the worker’s length of service and as a function of the party behind the termination (employer or worker).

Severance Pay

If the employer wants to terminate the contract unilaterally, there is an indemnity to be paid to the employee. The indemnity is progressive and depends on the seniority. When the employment contract ends, all wages that are still due must be paid without delay and are to be paid on the first payday following the date on which the employment contract ends at the very latest. (art. 11 of the Wage Protection Act).

When a certain percentage of the workforce in a business is made redundant, collective agreements generally entitle them to additional compensations over and above the average unemployment benefits. Employees dismissed for serious cause or resigned employees will not (immediately) be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Additional Information

Most employers pay a 13th-month bonus to their employees, typically at the end of the year. Some employers also add half of a 14th month’s salary. For the first and last year of employment this bonus is prorated to the amount of time the employee worked at the company that year. Employees at companies with more than 20 people can also take up to 5 paid days for vocational training each year.

OVERVIEW
Language(s):
Dutch, French, German
Currency:
Euro (EUR)
Capital City:
Brussels
Population:
11.6 Million
Cost of Living Rank:
27th
VAT (Valued Added Tax):
21%
Employer TaxES
28%
(estimated)

★  24.9% - Social Security

★  1% - Unemployment Insurance

★  1.2% - Other Charges

★  0.9% - Professional Liabilities

Get Started in 3 Steps

1

Remote candidate

You've sourced a full-time employee or contractor located in a country where your company is not incorporated.

2

Cost Calculation

Pass us the details of your candidate and we will let you know exactly what it costs to employ your candidate in that country.

3

Onboarding & Admin

Sit back and relax as we onboard your new team member and take care of all the local compliances and admin work.

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How Remofirst employs in Belgium

It can be prohibitively expensive to establish an entity in every country you want to hire talent in, so Remofirst will hire and pay your employee on your behalf while you manage their daily duties. Remofirst will handle formal HR procedures and employment contracts that adhere to local laws, so that you can simply approve invoices via our platform. When you work with an Employer of Record (EOR) you can compliantly hire the best employees around the world.

How employees in Belgium get paid
Your employee's hours, time off, holidays, bonuses, and commissions are automatically calculated into payroll. Remofirst will invoice you in either US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), British Pounds (GBP), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Australian Dollars (AUD), or Singapore Dollars (SGD) around the 15th of each month to make sure your employees in Belgium are paid on time in Euro (EUR). To make it even easier, you can summarize your entire global team's salaries to aggregate them into one payment (instead of many individual payments).
Full-time Employees vs Global Contractors

Unlike full-time employees, contractors work on projects with multiple companies at a given time and are technically self-employed. Full-time employees are solely focused on their employer and usually receive benefits (such as health insurance, equity or stock options, and time off) as an additional form of compensation. While it can be cheaper to work with international contractors instead of paying benefits to a full-time employee, you run the risk of misclassification. It's recommended to work with an EOR for contractor onboarding and payments, so you can know that your international contractors are paid compliantly and on time.

Dependable support for employees
Whenever the employee or employer has a question about benefits, Visas, or anything else related to international employment in Belgium, they can speak with our customer support team to get answers from our team of experts.