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Public Holidays Calendar
|Saturday||Jan-1||New Year's Day||Day off must be given in lieu|
|Sunday||May-1||May Day||Day off must be given in lieu|
|Monday||Aug-15||Assumption of Mary|
|Tuesday||Nov-1||All Saints Day|
|Friday||Nov-11||Armistice Day||Day off must be given in lieu|
Last updated: Feb 27, 2022
Payroll and Benefits Guide
Papaya Offers Complete Payroll, PEO and Contractor Management Services For Belgium
See our guide to Belgium during COVID-19
Employer Payroll Contributions
Employee Payroll Contributions
Employee Income Tax
In Belgium, there is a GMMMI, a guaranteed average minimum monthly income, and an absolute minimal income level set at the national level (in the absence of a sectoral minimum wage). The GMMMI is based on monthly wage including other salary components received over the year, e.g. year-end bonus, variable pay, etc.
The new GMMMI figures are as follows:
- 18 years and over: 1.691,40 EUR
- 19 years and 6 months employed 1.736,28 EUR
- 20 years and 12 months employed 1.756,23 EUR
In Belgium, the payroll frequency is monthly for work between the first and last day of the month and is typically paid on the last day of the month.
A 13th salary may apply depending on the Joint Labour Committee. For those employers who do pay a 13th-month bonus, it is typically paid at the end of the year. In addition, some employers also add half of a 14th month’s pay.
In the first and last year of employment, the 13th-month bonus is paid pro-rata, assuming the employee doesn’t work a full calendar year.
The standard working week in Belgium can be no longer than 38 hours. After 38 hours, workers must be paid overtime (this generally does not apply if the employee is a senior executive or manager). The maximum working time per week may be lower in some industry sectors based on a collective bargaining agreement. There are several statutory exceptions to this rule.
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. Under certain conditions, employers may introduce flexible working time schedules with a weekly working time exceeding 38 hours, provided that the quarterly or yearly average remains at 38 hours per week. The daily minimum working time is three hours, but statutory exceptions exist. Working hours at night, on Sundays, or during public holidays is only allowed under strict legal conditions.
If work time limits are passed, compensation of overtime is compulsory. Overtime work is strictly regulated and, in general, prohibited, although there are several exceptions to this rule. Where overtime is authorized, overtime pay is at least 150% of the employee’s regular rate of pay and 200% of the standard rate if the overtime occurs on a Sunday or a public holiday. Rules on overtime and working hours do not apply to some jobs such as sales, managerial roles, and trust roles.
Paid Time Off
In Belgium, an employee’s annual leave entitlement in a given year is determined by the number of days worked. Employees are entitled to 20 to 24 days of annual leave, depending on their working regime (i.e., For a 5-day week, the entitlement would be 20 days paid annual leave and for a 6-day week 24 days).
Employees are entitled to remuneration for ten official public holidays. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday or on a day the employee does not usually work, the employer must grant a replacement rest day.
There are 10 public holidays. An extra holiday may be applicable according to the Joint Labour Committee.
In case of illness or a personal accident, the employee continues to receive their regular salary for thirty days of which the employer pays. After 30 days, should the sick leave continue, the Health Insurance Fund will take over the payments. All sick leave must be certified by a medical professional.
In 2022 the government has set the goal of getting more long-term ill individuals back to work via several initiatives.
A pregnant employee is entitled to 15 weeks of Maternity Leave, with the potential to increase to 19 weeks in the case of complicated or multiple births.
Maternity leave consists of two periods: Prenatal leave and Postnatal Leave.
A mother must take a minimum of one week’s leave before the expected due date but can take up to a maximum of 6 weeks of leave before the due date; this is the Prenatal Leave. A mother must also take a further nine weeks of leave following the birth of a child, the Postnatal Leave.
Employees are forbidden to perform work during the seven days preceding the presumed delivery date and within the nine weeks that begin on the day of delivery. The employee may take the remaining weeks either before or after childbirth. The employee is required to notify her employer at the latest seven weeks before the expected date of delivery (or nine weeks when multiple births are expected), a medical certificate attesting to this date.
Women receive maternity benefits while on maternity leave. This benefit, paid by the social security system Health Insurance Fund, equals 82.00% of the employee’s salary for the first 30 days and then reduces to 75.00% of their regular pay (which will be capped). During this period, the employer is not obliged to make any payments to the employee.
The father is entitled to 15 days of paid Paternity Leave. The 15 days of paid leave can be taken separately, in a row, or split up into 30 half-days. The employee must take leave within the first four months of the birth of the child.
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 one 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 8 months. This period can also be divided up into multiples of 2-month periods.
- Taking off half a day per week or one full day every two 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.
An employee who takes in a child in his family as part of long-term foster care or adoption is entitled to an individual credit for Parental leave of up to six weeks. This credit for six weeks is not transferable to the other adoptive parent.
Depending on the various Joint Labour Committees, employees may be allowed additional leave types, once approved between the employer and employee.
Family care, to assist a seriously ill household or family member:
- All employees (employed full-time or part-time) can entirely suspend their services for 12 months maximum per patient. These interruptions must be taken each time for periods of a minimum of one month and a maximum of 3 months
- All employees are entitled to reduce their benefits by 1/5 or 1/2 during 24 months maximum per patient. These benefit reduction periods must also be taken each time in periods of a minimum of one month and a maximum of 3 months.
- All employees employed part-time whose average weekly working hours is at least equal to ¾ of the average weekly working hours of a full-time worker can reduce his or her benefits by up to half of full-time employment for a maximum period of 24 months per patient. These benefit reduction periods must also be taken each time in periods of a minimum of one month and a maximum of 3 months.
- Employees are entitled to paid time off to perform their jury leave duties.
- Employees are entitled to paid leave due to a death of a family member.
- Employees are entitled to leave for the marriage of the employee or family member.
The termination process varies depending on the employment agreement; the strictest form of dismissal is dismissal with notice. Employees who have been employed for at least six months have the right to know the reason for the termination.
Some employees enjoy protection against dismissal, meaning that the employer may not dismiss them on some grounds; for example, pregnant women can not be dismissed because of their pregnancy. An employee cannot be dismissed except for specific reasons provided by law (e.g., employee representatives in the Works Council and Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW)).
Some sectors have additional procedures (laid down in collective bargaining agreements) that could provide specific information and consultation rules, etc., which, even with multiple dismissals, do not fall under the European and national collective dismissal rules.
When the employment contract ends, all wages that are still due must be paid without delay; they 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.
Notice periods are dependent on the length of service/employment:
Length of service Amount of notice
Less than 3 months of employment 2 weeks’ notice
3-6 months of employment 4 weeks’ notice
6-9 months of employment 6 weeks’ notice
9-12 months of employment 7 weeks’ notice
12-15 months of employment 8 weeks’ notice
15-18 months of employment 9 weeks’ notice
18-21 months of employment 10 weeks’ notice
21-24 months of employment 11 weeks’ notice
24-36 weeks of employment 12 weeks’ notice
36-48 months of employment 13 weeks’ notice
48-60 months of employment 15 weeks’ notice
60 months-19 years of employment 60 weeks’ notice + 3 weeks for every year exceeding 5 years
20-21 years of employment 62 weeks’ notice + 1 week for every year of employment
It is also possible to pay in lieu of notice.
Severance pay is only applicable when an employee has been terminated without notice; in this circumstance, the severance pay would be the same amount the employee would have earned if they had received notice.
An employer can choose to either terminate an employment contract granting a notice period or terminate the employment contract immediately with the payment of an indemnity in lieu of notice. A combination of both, where the employee serves the notice period, followed by the payment of an indemnity for the remainder of the notice period, is also a possibility.
The indemnity in lieu of notice is calculated based on the employee’s annual salary at the time of termination, including statutory and contractual fringe benefits.
Probation or Trial periods have been suppressed by the Unified Employment Status Act since January 2014 (except with students, temporary workers, and temporary agency workers).
EU nationals planning to stay in Belgium for 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. The latter also requires a work permit, which the prospective employer must usually apply for, ideally many months in advance. The type of employee determines conditions and procedures for the application process. Applications are to be made in correlation to the region in which an employer will be working. An application must be submitted to the Economic Migration Department at least two months before the expiry date to extend a work permit.
The standard rate of VAT in Belgium is 21%.