Guide to employment, payroll and benefits in


Rivermate offers complete payroll, benefits and compliance services for


01. Overview

Last updated: 

August 19, 2021

Ease of doing business
GDP growth

02. Grow your team in


with Rivermate

Payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance can be difficult to manage in


, particularly if you don't have established local relationships. You can hire employees in


effectively, conveniently, and in full compliance with all relevant labor laws using Rivermate's global employment solution. We handle the responsibilities and legal risks associated with foreign employment so you can concentrate on growing your company.

03. Summary

Belgium is a country in Western Europe that is officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium. It is bordered on the north by the Netherlands, on the east by Germany, on the southeast by Luxembourg, on the southwest by France, and on the northwest by the North Sea. With a population of more than 11.5 million people and a land area of 30,689 km2, it is the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a population density of 376 people per square kilometer. Brussels is the capital and largest city, with Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven as secondary cities. Belgium is a sovereign state with a legislative structure and a federal constitutional monarchy. Its institutional structure is complex, and it is organized both regionally and linguistically. The Flemish Region in the north, the Walloon Region in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region in the center are the three extremely autonomous regions. Brussels is the smallest and densestly populated area in the country, as well as the wealthiest in terms of GDP per capita. The Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which makes up about 60% of the population, and the French-speaking Community, which makes up about 40% of the population, are the two largest linguistic groups in Belgium. In the East Cantons, there is a tiny German-speaking community of around 1% of the population. Although French is the dominant language, the Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch. Belgium's historical past and complex governmental structure, which is made up of six independent governments, represent the country's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts. Belgium is part of the Low Countries, a broader region than the present Benelux community of countries that included parts of northern France and western Germany in the past. Its modern name is derived from the Latin word Belgium, which was used to describe the area in Julius Caesar's "Gallic Wars" around 55 BCE. Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan center of trade and culture from the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century. Belgium was the battleground of many European powers between the 16th and early 19th centuries, receiving the nickname "Battlefield of Europe," which was reinforced in the twentieth century by both world wars. The country was formed in 1830 after Belgium seceded from the Netherlands following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium took part in the Industrial Revolution and owned a number of African colonies throughout the twentieth century. During the processing of vast quantities of rubber and ivory, Leopold II, King of Belgium, committed one of the largest massacres in human history in Congo Free State, his private estate, killing an estimated five to fifteen million Congolese citizens.

04. Public holidays

05. Types of leave

Paid time off

Employees who work five days a week are entitled to 20 days of vacation, and those who work six days a week are entitled to 24 days.

Public holidays

There are ten public holidays in the year. According to the Joint Labour Committee, an additional holiday can be granted.

Sick days

The employer must pay the employee's entire wages for the first 30 days of sick leave. Upon the employer's order, the employee must have a medical certificate.The Health Insurance Fund accounts for the rest of the sick leave after the first 30 days.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave lasts 15 weeks and is divided into two stages:Prenatal leave is required to be taken at least one week prior to the scheduled due date and can be taken up to six weeks prior to the due date.Postnatal leave is a mandatory 9-week period that begins on the day of the child's birth.The mother is entitled to an extra two weeks of maternity leave if she has several children.Indicated below is how the Health Insurance Fund accounts for maternity leave:For the first 30 days of the break, 82 percent of the wage is paid.From the 31st day onwards, 75 percent of the wage (capped at 106.9, EUR a day) is paid.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave is compensated for 15 days for the father. The 15 days can be taken individually or consecutively, and they can be divided into up to 30 half-days.The contractor pays for the first three days of vacation, and the Health Insurance Fund pays for the remaining days at a rate of 82 percent of daily salary.

Parental leave

Parental leave can begin at any point after the post-natal maternity leave has ended and can be taken in the following ways:Four months in a rowThere are several cycles, each of which is divided into at least one month.Service hours will be reduced by up to 80% for a period of 20 months. This time span can also be split into two-month increments.Reducing working hours by half for a period of eight months. This time span can also be split into two-month increments.Taking half a day off every week or one whole day every two weeks for a total of 40 months or split into multiple cycles of ten months each. The boss, on the other hand, has the right to reject this plan.

Other leave

Leave can be granted for the employee's or a family member's marriage, depending on the different Joint Labour Committees.

06. Employment termination

Termination process

The procedure for terminating a work relationship differs according to the terms of the employment agreement. Dismissal with notice is the most severe type of dismissal. Employees who have worked for the company for at least six months have a right to know why they were terminated.

Notice period

The notice period is determined by the length of employment. Employees who have worked less than three months will be given a two-week notice period. After 3-6 months of employment, there will be a 4-week notice period. After six to nine months of employment, there will be a six-week notice period. After nine to twelve months of employment, there will be a seven-week notice period. After 12-15 months of employment, there will be an eight-week notice period. After 15-18 months of employment, there will be a 9-week notice period. After 18-21 months of work, a 10-week notice period will apply. After 21-24 months of employment, there will be an 11-week notice period. After 24–36 weeks of employment, a 12-week notice period will be required. After 36-48 months of employment, there will be a 13-week notice period. After 48-60 months of employment, a 15-week notice period will be required. For employment of 60 months to 19 years, a 60-week notice period will apply, plus three weeks for each year beyond the fifth year of employment. For people who have worked for 20-21 years, there will be a 62-week notice period plus one week for each year of employment. Additionally, there is an option for payment in lieu of notification.

Severance pay

Severance pay is only applicable when an employer unilaterally terminates an employment relationship. Severance pay would be equal to the amount the employee would earn if given notice.

Probation period

The probation period is fixed at six months.

07. Working hours


In Belgium, the standard work week is 38 hours, or eight hours per day. Employees who work no more than 5.5 days per week may work 9.5 hours per day. If an employee lives in a home with a significant distance from the workplace and is away from home for more than 14 hours during a workday, they may work up to ten hours. Employees may work up to 12 hours per day in certain circumstances, such as shift work. Employees may also work an alternate schedule, such as a 39-hour week with six paid days off per year, or a 40-hour week with 12 paid days off per year. Collective bargaining agreements may stipulate a shorter workweek.

Generally, employees work between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Exceptions may be made for jobs that require nighttime work, such as those in hotels and restaurants. By royal decree, certain sectors, companies, or occupations may also be permitted to work at night if a pressing need exists. While work is generally prohibited on Sundays as well, there are numerous exceptions for businesses that are required to operate on Sundays to keep the country running.


Overtime is normally permitted only in exceptional circumstances and is limited to 78 hours per three-month period or 91 hours per year. Employees may also elect to work up to 100 hours of "voluntary overtime" per year, subject to certain restrictions. A collective bargaining agreement may provide for voluntary overtime of up to 350 hours per year. Overtime and working hours regulations do not apply to certain jobs, such as sales, managerial positions, and positions of trust. Voluntary overtime arrangements should be documented in writing.

Overtime is paid at a rate of 150 percent of the regular rate, or 200 percent on Sundays and bank holidays. Workdays are limited to 11 hours and weeks to 50 hours, and each employee is required to take at least one 24-hour rest period per week.

08. Minimum wage


The minimum wage in Belgium varies and is agreed upon in national collective agreements and is overseen by the Joint Labor Committee.

Minimum salary levels in Flanders are set increase by 1.94%. The new minimum salary level for executives which includes those in the upcoming EU IC Permit is EUR 69,638 or USD 82,772. For the EU Blue Card applicants, the minimum salary is EUR 52,229 or USD 62,079. For specialists and trainees (EU ICT Permit/Highly-skilled permit applicants), the minimum salary is EUR 43, 524 or USD 51,733.06. For locally hired staff under 30 years old, the minimum salary is EUR 34,819.20 or USD 41,386.

Since the start of 2021, the minimum salary in the Brussels has increased by 1.23 percent. Currently, the minimum salary for executives is EUR 72,399 or USD 86,054.18. EU Blue Card applicants/managers with the EU ICT Permit have a minimum salary of EUR 56,111 or USD 66,694.10. Specialists (EU ICT Permit) have a minimum salary of EUR 44,889 or USD 53,355.51. Trainees (EU ICT Permit) have a minimum salary of EUR 28,056 or USD 33,347.64. Highly-skilled permit applicants have a minimum salary of EUR 43,395 or USD 51,536.94.

Minimum salary levels in Wallonia have increased by 1.23% since the start of 2021. Executives have a minimum salary of EUR 72,399 or USD 86,054.18. EU Blue Card applicants have a minimum salary of EUR 56,112 or USD 66,695.28. Highly-skilled permit applicants have a minimum salary of EUR 43,395 or USD 51,579.73.

09. Employee benefits


The national system provides health insurance. Employees must register with a health insurance fund in order to be eligible for this health insurance.

Some companies also provide a variable profit sharing or performance-related incentive, in which the business pays a lump amount each year (usually at the end of the year). The amount of the bonus is determined by the overall success of the business and may be computed as a percentage of each employee's yearly or monthly pay during the time.

Some employers provide perks such as private school tuition or vehicle allowances. These extra perks are typically taxed and should be included into an employee's net take-home pay.

Executives working with US technology firms in Belgium often seek stock options. Unlike other nations, Belgium taxes the grant of an option or the communication of the offer to the employee. After then, the employee has 60 days to accept or reject the choice. Employee stock options are complicated to issue in Belgium, and they are taxed; most US businesses prefer to give cash incentives linked to profitability rather than stock options.

10. Why Rivermate as your Employer of Record / PEO?

Establishing an entity in


to hire a team takes time, money, and effort. The labor law in


has strong worker employment protection, requiring great attention to details and a thorough awareness of local best practices. Rivermate makes expanding into


simple and effortless. We can assist you with hiring your preferred talent, managing HR and payroll, and ensuring compliance with local legislation without the hassle of establishing a foreign branch office or subsidiary. Our PEO and Global Employer of Record solutions in


give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about how Rivermate can help you hire employees in


via our Employer of Record / PEO solution.

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