We partner with North American businesses who want to expand their business into Europe, including Belgium. Belgium is a popular destination for many North American businesses. What should be taken into account when employing or hiring in Belgium?
An Employer of Record (EOR) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a company or organization that is legally responsible for paying employees, including dealing with employee taxes, benefits & insurances. As the EOR/PEO of your European or Belgian employees, we provide you with tailored payroll, HR and compliance services. Through this construction, we decrease all the complications such as compliance issues, setting up a foreign establishment and setting up employment contracts in a different language.
Benefits of using a Belgian PEO & Employer of Record in Belgium
Expand without an entity
Flexible and cost-effective solution to outsource payroll and HR functions for international expansion
In compliance with foreign local laws & regulations
Minimizes employment liabilities and risks
Reduced risk, as the risks of being an employer fall almost completely on the employer of record
Let's you focus on your core business
You manage your employees
EoR takes care of registration and contact with local authorities
Employment Contracts Belgium
There are many different types of employment contracts in Belgium. Below a short overview of the possible employment contracts is given. The most common one, especially through a PEO/EOR structure is a permanent contract. All the contracts must be in French, Dutch or German and the employer should also be able to provide a copy in English.
- Permanent contracts/Open-ended contracts are for an indeterminate duration and the most common ones.
- Fixed-term contracts include a start and end date for the employee.
- Specific-assignment contracts do not specify the duration but describe the work that needs to be carried out by the employee, and it will end after the work has been completed.
- Replacement contracts are created in the moment that a new employee is being hired in order to replace an existing one who is absent for a specific reason (e.g. maternity leave). This contract must contain the details and the responsibilities of the person that is being replaced, the reason of why he/she is being replaced and for how long. The length of this contract can’t exceed two years.
- Temporary contracts usually don’t last more than six months and are mainly common between individuals and temporary agencies.
- Part-time contracts are for those employees who prefer to perform less hours compared to the normal working hours in a business.
Belgian PEO and EOR service providers will support you with the set-up of a local employment contract.
Employment Termination Belgium - Notice Period Belgium
There is no ‘at will’ termination in Belgium. The Belgian legal system makes a distinction mainly on two types of dismissals: the regular dismissal and a dismissal with serious cause. The “regular” dismissal includes a compensation and a period of notice. For a dismissal with serious cause (e.g. theft, violence, etc.), the contract is going to be terminated within three working days after the day the employer has been aware of the serious reason, and it should be notified by registered letter. Employees who have been employed for at least six months have the right to know the reason of the termination of their contract.
In Belgium notice period varies based on the duration of the employment. To give you a basic understanding of the length of the notice period, we’ve created an overview of the notice period in Belgium below:
Notice period in case of dismissal by the employer
Notice period in case of dismissal by the employee
|0 to < 3 months||1 week||1 week|
|3 months to < 4 months||3 weeks||2 weeks|
|4 months to < 5 months||4 weeks||2 weeks|
|5 months to < 6 months||5 weeks||3 weeks|
|6 months to < 9 months||6 weeks||3 weeks|
|9 months to < 12 months||7 weeks||3 weeks|
|12 months to < 15 months||8 weeks||4 weeks|
|15 months to < 18 months||9 weeks||4 weeks|
|18 months to < 21 months||10 weeks||5 weeks|
|21 months to < 24 months||11 weeks||5 weeks|
|2 years to < 3 years||12 weeks||6 weeks|
|3 years to < 4 years||13 weeks||6 weeks|
|4 years to < 5 years||15 weeks||7 weeks|
|5 years to < 6 years||18 weeks||9 weeks|
|6 years to < 7 years||21 weeks||10 weeks|
|7 years to < 8 years||24 weeks||12 weeks|
|8 years to < 9 years||27 weeks||13 weeks|
There is also the possibility to pay the employee’s salary, for the notice period, but he/she will not have to perform any working related activities during that time.
Social Security Tax Belgium
What are the primary social security contributions in Belgium? And more importantly, what is the amount of the social security contribution that is accounted to the employer? The total primary contribution in Belgium are 25% for employers and 13.07% for employees. Social contributions in Belgium include:
- Pension benefits
- Work-related injury
Average Salary Belgium & Average Employer Costs Belgium
In 2019, the average annual wage in Belgium was $55.590,13. This is a lower than the average annual wage in the United States: $65.835,58. As an employer, the actual employer costs are around 25 to 27% higher than the gross annual salary as we have seen in the social contributions in Belgium. Based on a $55.590,13 annual salary, the employment costs would be $70.599,47.
To learn more about the average salaries in Europe and the actual employment costs in Europe, we invite you to read this article on Costs of hiring European employees.
Working Hours Belgium
Belgians generally enjoy an effective work-life balance. They work to live, rather than the other way round, but generally manage to enjoy the business of working. In Belgium, the maximum working hours per week are 38 hours. In the case of shift work, it is possible to work up to 11 hours per day (50 hours per week) and in the case of continuous work, even up to 12 hours.
Paid Vacation Leave Belgium
In Belgium, full-time employees are usually entitled to four weeks' leave per year, in addition to public holidays.
To learn more about the average paid vacation days in Europe and how Belgium compares to the rest of Europe, we invite you to read our blog on paid vacation days Europe.
Public Holidays Belgium
Belgium has 10 public holidays, and an extra holiday could be applicable in accordance with the Joint Labour Committee.
- New Year’s Day - 1 January
- Easter Monday - 18 April
- Labour Day - 1 May
- Ascension Day - 26 May
- Whit Monday - 6 June
- National Day - 21 July
- Assumption of Mary - 15 August
- All Saints’ Day - 1 November
- Armistice Day - 11 November
- Christmas Day - 25 December
Maternity and Paternity Leave Belgium
In Belgium, the maternity leave is usually 15 weeks long. In the case of multiple births, the woman has the right to take an extra 4 weeks of maternity leave.
The maternity leave can be divided into two phases: the prenatal leave and the postnatal leave.
In regard to the first one, the mother has to take at least 1 week before the predicted birth date, up to a maximum of 6 weeks.
In the latter, it is mandatory to take 9 weeks that starts after the birth of the child.
On the other hand, the father is allowed to take 15 days of paid paternity leave or they can be split up into 30 half-days. These days must be taken during the first 4 months after the birth of the child.
To read more about Paternity Leave in Europe, we invite you read this blog on Paternity Leave in Europe - A New Directive.
Learn more about PEO and EOR in Europe:
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Learn more about PEO and EOR in other European countries:
Monique Ramondt Sanders
Executive Vice President | HR Outsourcing