Belgium

Belgium PEO & Employer of Record

WeHG provides an International PEO and global Employer of Record service in Belgium to companies who want to enter the Balgium market or hire local/expat employees in this country.

Traditional approach requires establishing a subsidiary in Belgium.  However our solution allows you to start the operations in Belgium within days hence save time and money.  WeHG would hire candidates on your behalf while you manage full operational control of their work. So legally they would be our employees, on our local payroll, 100% compliant but will work on your behalf.

Belgium fast facts

Population, million: 11.5
Land area:30,689 km2
Capital: Brussels
Local currency: EUR

Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. Additionally, there is a small ~1 percent group of German speakers who live in the East Cantons.

Hiring, Negotiating and Doing Business in Belgium

Necessity of written employment contract

A contract of indefinite duration can be concluded orally. However, the following contracts must be concluded in writing (a failure to conclude these in writing results in them being treated as contracts of indefinite duration):

  • Fixed-term contract.
  • Contract for a specific project.
  • Part-time contract.
  • Replacement contract.
  • Contract for home working or teleworking.
  • Contract for student occupation.
  • Contract for interim or temporary work.
  • Sports contract.

Some clauses of the employment contract must be concluded in writing to be valid, for example:

  • Test clauses.
  • Non-competition clauses.
  • Clauses fixing the notice period.

Belgium Employment Contract

Types of employment agreements

  • Permanent contracts/Open-ended contracts (Contrat de travail à durée indéterminée/De arbeidsovereenkomst voor onbepaalde tijd) – contracts which are for an indefinite length of time
  • Fixed-term contracts (Contrat de travail à durée déterminée/De arbeidsovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd) – contracts that specify a start and an end date for the employment
  • Specific-assignment contracts (Contrat de travail pour un travail nettement défini/De arbeidsovereenkomst voor een duidelijk omschreven werk) – contracts which come to an end when the relevant work has been completed
  • Replacement contracts (Contrat de remplacement/De vervangingsovereenkomst) – contracts which are for an employee to replace an existing employee who is absent for a reason, such as maternity leave, etc. The contract must detail the identity and the duties of the person replaced and the reason for and length of the contract. These may not exceed two years
  • Temporary Contracts (Contrat de travail temporaire-contrat de travail intérimaire/De arbeidsovereenkomst voor uitvoering van tijdelijke arbeid en uitzendarbeid) – contracts between an individual and a temping agency where the individual is then placed with a client for a period of time. These are usually for a maximum of six months. 
  • Part-time contracts (Contrat de travail à temps partiel/Arbeidsovereenkomst voor deeltijdse arbeid) – contracts for less than the normal 38-hour week (sometimes unemployment benefit can continue while the employment lasts)

Belgium working hours

Usual working hours are a maximum of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

In principle, working at night, on Sundays and on public holidays is prohibited. However, the law provides for certain exceptions. Working overtime hours during the week entitles the employee to 50% extra pay for that overtime worked, while working overtime hours on Sundays or on public holidays entitles the employee to 100% extra pay for that overtime worked. Compensatory rest breaks are also provided.

Employees holding management positions or positions of trust are not affected by the regulation of working hours. This includes:

  • A director.
  • A deputy director.
  • A manager.
  • A foreman-in-chief.
  • Any person exercising authority who has responsibility for all, or a significant subset of, the enterprise.

Vacation leave in Belgium

Employees are entitled to four weeks’ paid annual leave (that is, 20 days for those working five days a week and 24 days for those working six days a week).

During their holiday, employees receive their normal remuneration together with an extra payment of holiday pay (double holiday pay) which is equivalent to 92% of their monthly remuneration. White collar employees receive their double holiday pay directly from their employer, whilst blue collar employees receive it from a social security fund financed by their employer’s social security contributions.

Sick leave: 

Entitlement to time off

In the case of illness or accident, the execution of the employment contract is suspended, and the employee must not come to work.

Entitlement to paid time off

An employee unable to work due to illness or injury is entitled to his remuneration for a period that varies according to:

  • The employee’s category of employment (blue collar or white collar).
  • The employee’s seniority in the company.
  • Whether or not the employee is on a probationary period.

A white collar employee is in principle entitled to his remuneration during the first month of illness. A blue collar employee is also in principle entitled to his remuneration during the first month of illness, but the amount the employer pays decreases over time, with the difference being paid by social security (when the illness lasts less than 14 days, the first day of illness is normally not paid by the employer or by social security, though CBAs concluded at sector of activity level can derogate from this rule).

Belgium Maternity Leave

Maternity leave lasts for 15 weeks as follows:

  • Six weeks of prenatal leave, including a mandatory week off just before the expected date of birth of the newborn.
  • Nine weeks of postnatal leave.

In the case of multiple births, maternity leave lasts for 19 weeks as follows:

  • Eight weeks of prenatal leave, including a mandatory week off just before the expected date of birth of the newborns.
  • Nine weeks of postnatal leave (which is extendable for two weeks at the employee’s request).

Maternity leave can be extended up to 24 weeks in the case of hospitalisation of the newborn.

The allowance for maternity leave is paid in whole by the Belgian social security system.

Belgium Severance Laws

Either the employer or the employee may terminate an open-ended employment contract at any time, provided certain formalities are observed. As a rule, fixed-term contracts may not be terminated.

A notice must be given in writing and indicate the start and duration of the period of notice. This period differs according to whether you are a manual worker or a white-collar worker, whether the employee hands in his or her notice (resignation) or whether the employer gives notice (dismissal). It is possible for the notice not to be worked, in which case it is replaced by a one-off payment, the amount of which is equivalent to the salary which would have been paid or received during this period.

For manual workers

The period of notice varies according to seniority.

In the event of dismissal: four weeks if the worker has less than 20 years’ service, and eight weeks if the worker has more than 20 years’ service.

In the event of resignation, the worker must give two weeks’ notice if he/she has less than 20 years’ service, and four weeks if he/she has more than 20 years’ service.

The period of notice begins on the Monday following the week in which notice is given.

In the case of dismissal by the employer, the employee is entitled to reduce the period of notice by giving ‘counter-notice’ of his or her own. The employee is also entitled to leave for seeking a new job.

Unemployment benefit is applied for at the employee’s place of residence on termination of the contract. If notice was given by the employee, a specified period must, as a rule, elapse before unemployment benefit is payable in Belgium.

Belgium Tax

Rate of taxation on employment income

Income tax is calculated on the basis of annual incomes after the deduction of social security contributions and certain costs (including professional costs).

The tax rates charged on incomes are progressive, and are as follows:

  • 25% on incomes up to EUR8,350.00.
  • 30% on incomes from EUR8,350.01 to EUR11,890.
  • 40% on incomes from EUR11,890.01 to EUR19,810.
  • 45% on incomes from EUR19,810.01 to EUR36,300.
  • 50% on incomes over EUR36,300.01.

Employers must collect a withholding tax and remit it to the tax authorities before paying wages to their employees. The final imposition of tax on employees is calculated from their tax return, which includes the amounts already paid as withholding tax.

The total amount of tax may be reduced in certain circumstances, but is always increased by local taxes ranging from 0% to 10%, depending on the municipality of residence.

Additional Benefits in Belgium

Most employers pay a 13th-month bonus to their employees and a few even add a half of a 14thmonth’s pay to that, typically payable at the end of the year.

Belgium Holidays

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • Labor Day/May Day
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Monday
  • Belgian National Day
  • Assumption of Mary
  • All Saints’ Day
  • Armistice Day
  • Christmas Day

Why Choose WeHireGlobally

WeHG takes care of all the onboarding hurdles, payroll, compensation and benefits, tax filing, and termination of employment. Our Employer of Record solution allows you to maintain your overseas teams efficiently while minimizing cost and risk.

 

FAQ Belgium

  • Belgium working hours

    Usual working hours are a maximum of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

  • Belgium Holidays

    • New Year’s Day
    • Easter Monday
    • Labor Day/May Day
    • Ascension Day
    • Whit Monday
    • Belgian National Day
    • Assumption of Mary
    • All Saints’ Day
    • Armistice Day
    • Christmas Day
  • Belgium Tax

    Income tax is calculated on the basis of annual incomes after the deduction of social security contributions and certain costs (including professional costs).

    The tax rates charged on incomes are progressive, and are as follows:

    • 25% on incomes up to EUR8,350.00.
    • 30% on incomes from EUR8,350.01 to EUR11,890.
    • 40% on incomes from EUR11,890.01 to EUR19,810.
    • 45% on incomes from EUR19,810.01 to EUR36,300.
    • 50% on incomes over EUR36,300.01.
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