Expand your organization into Belgiumwith or without a Belgian entity
The compact Western European country of Belgium has a fascinating history, diverse culture, and an influential place in the European Union. These factors, along with its high standards of living, advanced economy, and more, make it a popular country for foreign businesses to expand.
If your organization is planning a move to Belgium, it can be a challenge to navigate the complex business and employment regulations, with EU laws as well as Belgian laws potentially affecting your business. Following the proper procedures can take weeks or even months, but failing to operate within the law can result in significant fines and legal troubles, so it is crucial that you do operate compliantly.
At New Horizons, we offer full support to organizations aiming to expand into Belgium. Our custom professional employer organization (Belgium PEO), employer of record, and payroll outsourcing services can offer everything you need to expand your business into Belgium, whether or not you have already established a Belgian entity.
With a dedicated in-house recruitment team, we can also source, recruit, and onboard your local workforce, as well as handle any ongoing HR and compliance work. Our experienced team will provide everything you need to expand into Belgium as efficiently as possible and can potentially save you thousands in expansion costs.
Why choose our Belgium PEO to simplify your expansion?
New Horizons enables your business to expand its operations into Belgium, without needing to establish a legal subsidiary.
Employment & Labor Laws in Belgium
Employment contracts in Belgium
Belgian employers are legally required to provide all employees with a formal contract of employment. All relevant details of the agreement should be included, such as maternity leave rights, sick leave, and salary/wage. All references to compensation should be in the local Euro currency.
By partnering with our Belgium PEO & Employer of Record, New Horizons’ team of local experts can provide assistance for drafting strong employment contracts that are compliant with local regulations.
Working hours in Belgium
Workers in Belgium can work for a maximum of 38 hours, beyond which employers need to pay overtime rates. Normal overtime is 1.5X normal pay, and Sunday or public holiday overtime is 2X normal pay.
Workers are also entitled to at least one 24-hour stretch of time off every week. Workers can also choose to work either 39 hours or 40 hours per week in exchange for six or twelve extra annual ret days respectively.
Public holidays in Belgium
Employees in Belgium are entitled to ten paid public holidays. The following is an expanded list of holidays, and some employees may not be entitled to all of them:
New Year’s Day
Three Kings’ Day
Celebration of the Golden Spurs
French Community Holiday
All Saints’ Day
German Community Day, King’s Feast
Feast of St. Nicholas
Belgium vacation leave
Employees in Belgium are entitled to 20 days of paid vacation leave if they work five days per week. Some employers may choose to offer more days as part of their benefits packages. Vacation days do not carry into the next year if they are not used.
Belgium sick leave
Employees in Belgium are entitled to unlimited sick leave when they present a valid medical note. They are compensated for this leave, but the precise payments vary based on length of absence. For example, they receive 100% of pay for the first seven days, then 85.88% for the 8th to 14th day, and so on. Workers may be eligible for a government-funded invalidity benefit after more than one year of absence.
Parental leave in Belgium
Female employees in Belgium can take maternity leave of six weeks before childbirth, and a minimum of nine weeks after childbirth. They are entitled to compensation during maternity leave, but the exact amount decreases as they have more children.
Male employees are entitled to ten days of paternity leave, which can be taken within four months of their child being born. The first three days are covered at full pay, and the next seven days are compensated at a reduced rate.
Terminations and severance in Belgium
Navigating employee terminations and handling severance packages can be complicated for companies expanding overseas for the first time. New Horizons’ Belgium PEO can mitigate risk for foreign companies and provide guidance through this process.
Sick leave in Belgium
For terminations, the amount of notice that must be provided to employees varies depending on the length of employment. In most cases, probation periods are not allowed, and the minimum notice, for under three months of employment, is two weeks (or one for resignations). This increases gradually, up to 62 weeks after 21 years of employment. Beyond this, it increases by one week per year of employment.
Notice periods can be, and often are, given in the form of extra pay, so it may be sensible to set aside a fund for this purpose.
Taxation in Belgium
Income is taxed progressively in Belgium, with rates ranging from 25% to 50%, depending on earnings.
Additionally, both employers and employees are required to pay a percentage of gross income to social security funds, totaling 35% for employers and 13.07% for employees.
Health coverage in Belgium
Belgium has a nationalized healthcare system with high standards of care, so employers do not need to offer private health insurance.
Belgium compensations & benefits
Compensation laws in Belgium
The legally regulated minimum wage in Belgium is €1,593.81 per month (as of 2020)
Benefits management in Belgium
While Belgians do receive relatively generous state benefits, many employers still choose to offer things like company cars, holiday bonuses, and so on. Setting up a benefits system for your employees in Belgium is an important part of being an employer and expanding into the country. However, it can be difficult if you are not familiar with the country’s complex labor laws, languages, and administrative procedures.
New Horizons can help you bypass this element of your Belgium expansion by offering benefit system outsourcing that can save you time and money. Our experts will advise you on the best course of action and take care of your benefit setup and management, helping you focus on the rest of your expansion.