HRsolution » COUNTRIES » Belgium

Overview of Belgium

Belgium lies in the north-west of Europe and boarders on the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. It has a population of 11.46 million and is the home of the European Union and the NATO. Belgium has three official languages – German, Dutch and French. Belgium is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Belgium has the 26th largest economy in Europe and the 24th largest in the world. The people from Belgium are known for being on time for business meetings. In these meetings you might find them to be indirect and having a tendency for holding back their own ideas. But with a bit of coaxing and small talk, they will loosen up. It usually takes a while for decisions to be made as all angles are considered.

Currency of Belgium

  • Euro

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of Belgium

The Belgian healthcare system is divided into state and private healthcare. The state healthcare allows members to receive subsidized services from doctors, hospital care, dental care, maternity costs and prescriptions.

Public health insurance covers the following:

  • around 50-75% of the costs for doctors, hospitals, and clinics

  • around 20% of prescription costs

  • basic dental costs

  • maternity costs

An Employee wil receive automiatic coverage for his children as well as any dependent spouse.

To access private healthcare in Belgium, one has to take out a private medical insurance or pay the full costs for any medical procedures. Many private health insurances require you to pay the medical costs upfront and then ask you to make a claim to receive reinbursement.

As public healtcare is subsized and not free, many people decide to take out a private insurance policy as well as this gives them access to private healthcare treatment.

Employer cost of Belgium

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Belgium is a plus of 27.50% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of Belgium

Regular employees are paid at the end of the month.

Most companies pay an end-of-year bonus, the so-called 13th month in December. If the employer does decide to pay this, it will be in the contract. Some employers also offer a productivity bonus.

In Belgium an employee is entitled to a holiday bonus of 85% of a month’s salary which will be paid when you take your annual holiday.

Public Holidays in Belgium

  • In Belgium there are 10 national public holidays.
  • January 1st – New Years Day
  • Easter Monday
  • May 1st – Labour Day
  • 39 Days after Easter – Ascension
  • Pentecost Monday – Monday after Pentecost
  • July 21st – Belgian National Day
  • August 15th – Assumption of Mary
  • November 1st – All Saints’ Day
  • November 11th – Armistice Day
  • December 25th – Christmas

Working Hours in Belgium

A worker is not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. Regular working hours are between 8:00am and 5:00pm. Working overtime is normally prohibited in Belgium. If overtime is worked, pay must be 1.5 times that which is paid for normal hours.

Vacation in Belgium

Once you have worked a full year for an employer, you are entitled to 20 days vacation the next year.

Sick Leave in Belgium

If one falls sick, one is entitled to 30 days of statutory sick pay. This is paid for by the employer. After the first 30 days, the employee will receive sickness benefits, paid for by the Health Insurance Fund.

To be able to receive sick pay, an employee has to inform his employer immediately of his inability to work. The employer is allowed to request a medical statement from a doctor. The employer may also request the sickness to be ascertained by an independent medical officer, a so-called controller-officer.

Termination/Severance in Belgium

In Belgium, all employees have a right to be informed of the reason for their dismissal. Empoyment contracts are terminated through a notice period or an agreement and the payment of a severance. A combination of both can also be done.

The notice period in Belgium is laid down by law. If one has worked for company less than 3 years, the notice period is 91 days. From 3 years onwards but less than 4, the notice period is 116 days. Between 4 and 5 years the notice period is 145 days. Between 5 and 6 years, the notice period is 182 days and it continues in this fashion.