Belgium

HR and HR Software Guide

Country Overview

Belgium has a free-enterprise economy and the majority of the GDP is generated by the service sector. Trade is also crucial to Belgian economy, and total value of exports and imports equals 167% of GDP.

According to the KOF Index of Globalization, which measures three dimensions of globalization: social, economic, and political, Belgium is the 3rd most globalized country in the world.

Belgium’s open economy offers a business friendly environment and now, setting up a business in Belgium takes less than 5 days. The overall regulatory environment is transparent and efficient. As a rule, the Belgian authorities are anti-protectionist and try maintaining a conducive climate for trade and investment.

Currency: Euro

Principal Language: Dutch, French, German

Government: Federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Capital City: Brussels

Major Provinces: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi

The maximum permissible work hours in a day is 8 hours and 38 hours in a week. Night work or work done between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. is generally prohibited. But, all these limitations are subject to exceptions.

Employees are entitled to a rest period of a minimum 15 minutes after 6 hours of work each day. Sunday is a compulsory day of rest, but if employees work on a Sunday, they are entitled to compensatory time off, which is usually taken in no more than 6 days after the Sunday worked. Employees are also entitled to take at least 11 hours of rest each day, which is aggregated with the Sunday to provide a break of at least 35 hours every week.

Holidays
Employees are entitled to the following 10 national holidays in a year:

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • Ascension Day: 6th Thursday after Easter
  • Whit Monday: 7th Monday after Easter
  • July 21: National Holiday
  • Aug. 15: Assumption Day
  • Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
  • Nov. 11: Armistice Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day

Employees who work on a holiday are entitled to both overtime pay and compensatory time off.

Maternity Leave
A female employee can take 6 weeks of paid maternity leave immediately before the expected date of childbirth or 8 weeks in case the employee is expecting more than 1 child. The maternity leave must be taken at least within 7 days from the due date. If the employee doesn’t take the available maternity leave before childbirth, post-childbirth leave can be extended by the remainder of the leave.

Overall maternity leaves are for 15 weeks:

  • 6 weeks Prior Birth
  • 9 weeks Post Birth

If more than 1 child is expected or complications occur during childbirth, maternity leave may be extended to 24 weeks.

Paternity Leave
A father can take 10 days’ paid paternity leave within 4 months of the childbirth. The initial 3 days of leave are paid by the employer and the rest by social security. A father can also take the mother’s remaining postnatal leave to care for the child in case the mother is hospitalized or dies during maternity leave.

Sick Leave
The extent of sick leave is based on whether the employee is a white-collar worker or blue-collar worker.

Blue-collar workers
Blue-collar workers who have worked with an employer for a minimum of 30 days prior to an injury or illness are entitled to 30 days of sick leave with partial pay.

White-collar workers
White-collar workers are entitled to take a maximum of 30 days of sick leave at 100 percent pay. Extra sick leave benefits are available to employees if workers suffer a new injury or illness within 14 days of returning to work from a previous injury or illness.

Employees are entitled to sick leave and there is no maximum number of days; however each incidence must be accompanied by a doctor’s note (180 days in some of the Area- CBA Applied)

Belgium’s mandatory social security system is administered by the National Social Security Office (NSSO), and both employees and employers contribute to the system. Social Security benefits include workers’ compensation, health and disability insurance, family allowances, old-age and survivors’ benefits, and unemployment insurance.

Health Insurance
Health insurance covers hospitalization, medicine, maternity care, general and specialist care, nursing, rehabilitation, medicine, dental care, allowances and transportation for the insured and the dependents of the insured.

Disability Insurance
Employees who suffer a disability that results in a loss of a minimum of two-thirds of their earning capacity are entitled to a disability pension after 1 year of disability. The minimum and maximum of the daily pension depends on the date the disability began, if the insured has dependents, lives alone or cohabits.

Family Allowances
Employees are entitled to a family allowance for their children, partners’ children, dependent siblings, or other children in their household. The family allowance for a child ceases on the last day of August in the year the child turns 18. This allowance is extended to age 21 for a disabled child and to 25 for a child who is an apprentice, a student, or a jobseeker who has been registered with the NSSO for less than 270 days.

Old-age Benefits
Employees who have made contributions for at least 45 years are entitled to old-age benefits at the age of 65. The age will be raised to 66 in 2025 and 67 in 2030. Certain workers including seafarers, civil aviation flight crews, and miners can retire earlier subject to certain conditions. Early pension is available to employees aged 63 with at least 41 years of coverage. The age requirement is decreased for specific workers with longer careers.

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  • Improve employee time tracking and leave management while ensuring compliance with local labor laws and work-time regulations.
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  • Provide your employees with the support they need with 24/7 access to our Employee Helpdesk.
  • One HR software for your global needs
  • Ensured compliance with in-country employment and labor laws
  • Connectivity and integrations with ERP and Payroll systems
  • Better workforce data and increased visibility of global teams
  • Supporting 170+ countries and localized in 17+ languages
  • Improved employee experience with employee self-service functionality and 24/7 employee support

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