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Labour law in Belgium

Belgian labour regulations can be extremely complex. Employment laws in Belgium can offer better social-, income-, and labour protection than may be common in other countries, causing bigger financial and operational risk.

Do you want to understand more about  labour law before expanding your business to Belgium? The most important labour laws and regulations impacting working conditions and social security are summarized below.

Want to have the complete overview? We compiled all of the information about labour conditions, social security, contracts, probation/notice periods, and terminations into a single file for you. Please request the Belgian overview, and we will send it to you.


Joint Committee Nº 200

In Belgium, the sector of activity to which a company belongs will have an important impact on the labour regulations it has to respect. There are many sectoral collective agreeements that all employers in that sector must follow. Parakar is likely to fall within the scope of ‘Joint Committee Nº 200 for employees’. This is the default sector for white-collar workers in a sector where there is no specific joint committee for white-collar workers.

On this page the focus will be on the mandatory regulations foreseen in the “JC Nº 200” and, if applicable, other Belgian employment laws.


Labour Conditions


Wage & extra payments

The only statutory benefit existing in Belgium is the standard salary. The ” JC Nº 200″ foresees a 13th month premium, payable in December and automatic salary indexation in January (cost of living adjustment). Additionally, an annual premium of EUR 277.22 and eco-vouchers for EUR 270 will both be paid out in June.


Sick leave

In case of sickness or accident, the employee is entitled to a statutory sick pay during the first 30 days of absence, payable by the employer. After this initial period, the employee will receive sickness allowances, paid by the social security. The employer may entrust the task of ascertaining the sickness to an independent medical officer, called controller-officer.


Paid annual leave

For white-collar workers, the holiday entitlement is based on the number of months worked during the preceding year. Some absences and leaves are assimilated to “worked” periods. In practice, employees are entitled to 2 vacation days per complete worked month in the preceding year. That means 20 vacation days (5-days-a-week schedule) for a complete year in service, i.e. a maximum of 4 complete weeks of paid leave in the scheme of a full-time working employee; 24 days for a 6-day week.  During their annual leave, the white-collar employees receive a “double holiday pay” in addition to their normal pay. The employer pays both the normal pay and the holiday allowance.


Working hours & Resting times

Working time regulations are extremely complex in Belgium. The rules regarding maximum working time and mandatory rest do not apply to employees holding a position of trust or a managerial role in which they have the authority to represent the company. Also, sales representatives are excluded from this legislation. Please, request our file with the “relevant workings of Belgian labour law” to learn everything about working hours in Belgium.

It is generally not allowed to schedule work on Sundays or official holidays. A number of exceptions are foreseen by law.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave in Belgium consists of 15 weeks (max. 6 weeks of pre-natal leave and min. 9 weeks compulsory post-natal leave) for a single child and 17 weeks (max. 8 weeks of pre-natal leave and min. 9 weeks compulsory post-natal eave) for a multiple pregnancy. The whole maternity leave is paid by the social security.

Paternity leave (birth-leave)

Currently, the birth-leave is 20 days. For the first three days the parent is entitled to his normal salary, for the next days, he receives an allowance from the social security.

Circumstantial leave

Employees are allowed to take paid leave for:

  • Family reasons (e.g. marriage of the employee or one of the relatives, birth of a child, death of a relative, adoption, …);
  • The fulfilment of civic obligations or civilian tasks (e.g. participation to the electoral process);
  • Court appearance.

The law determines the reason as well as the duration allowed for each absence.

Career breaks

The career break system enables employees to take a full break or reduce their working hours on a certain period of time while, in certain circumstances, receiving a monthly allowance from the National Employment Office. During the career break, the employee is protected against dismissal and maintains most of his social rights (pension, medical care,…). All employees working in the private sector are eligible for a career break provided they meet certain conditions of age, seniority in the company or career length.

Your guide

Our team

Reach out to our experts in Belgium, who are always happy to answer your questions about the Belgian labour principles.

HR-consultants Belgium

Labour law and regulations in belgium: minimum wage | parakar
Joris Blommaert
HR Operations
Labour law and regulations in belgium: minimum wage | parakar
Wietske Oomkens
HR Operations
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