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Belgium

Staff

Updated 08/2012

Legal requirements

The rights and duties of workers and employers are governed by the following legal texts:

The following bodies administer the regional policies on employment and job seeking:

Employment Conditions

The period of work is limited to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week (38 hours a week on an annual basis).

The work week runs from Monday to Saturday (at the latest). Work is not performed at night (between 8 PM and 6 AM). Public holidays shall be observed.

There are, however, exceptions to normal working hours.

Social security covers the following risks:

  • Unemployment, via the National Employment Office (NEO);
  • Pensions, via the National Pension Office (NPO);
  • Illness, via the worker's mutual insurance company;
  • Disability, via the worker's mutual insurance company;
  • Family allowance, via the employer's family allowance fund;
  • Occupational illness (occupational illness fund);
  • Accidents at work (fund for accidents at work).

The National Social Security Office (NSSO) collects and administers payroll taxes and employment taxes.

Employment contracts

Employment contracts vary according to the working hours or the status of the worker. Contracts must specify the nature of the work, remuneration and hierarchical relationships.

Employing foreigners

Law of 5 March 2002 transposed the directive on the posting of workers into Belgium in connection with the provision of services.

There are minimum social rules to follow, especially about non-discrimination, gender equality and health and safety.

Administrative procedures

Statements of employment and termination of work

When hiring a new employee, you must electronically file a ‘DIMONA' declaration. The same applies when one of your employees leave his or her position. The procedure must also be completed concerning the electronic completion of the NSSO declaration.

With the NSSO

Employers hiring one or more workers for the first time must register with the NSSO in one of more ways:

  • an employer planning to hire a worker in the near future and wishing to identify as an employer with the NSSO can download the registration forms and return them to the NSSO completed;
  • an employers who is hiring its first worker must submit an immediate declaration of employment (DIMONA declaration). The NSSO posts the required registration forms to the employer, which are to be completed and signed and promptly returned.

Identification number

In either case, the NSSO assigns an identification number. This number consists of three parts:

  • a three-digit category code representing characteristics applicable to the employer and used in calculating the tax rate;
  • the actual six or seven-digit identification number;
  • a two-digit control number used to verify that the ID is correct.

Mandatory notifications

Employers are required to provide the NSSO with specific information including: a change of occupation, reassignment to a position different from the one initially stated, a change in family allowances, etc.

Business Number

Since 2005, all employers are listed with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) and are assigned a unique business number.

Complete quarter without employees

Employers which for a full quarter have had no employees must notify the NSSO no later than the end of the subsequent month by correctly filing a discharge notice for their last employee using a DIMONA declaration.

Termination of operations

Employers which cease to operate or have no employees for at least two full quarters must notify the NSSO in writing. The NSSO then deletes the company's identification number.

Social Security Contributions

Each employer must submit a quarterly report to the NSSO no later than the last day of the month following the quarter. This quarterly report must also be filed electronically.

In practice, many employers seek specialised assistance, through an affiliated secretariat service or an outside service provider, and either seek professional guidance or outsource the preparation and filing of the statements.

The quarterly DmfA statement fulfils two main objectives:

  • determining the amount of social security contributions employers owe the NSSO in relation to their employees;
  • notifying the tax authorities a single time on salaries and benefits paid.

Salary contribution

Employers are responsible for collecting and paying their social security contributions, referred to as the NSSO contribution. For all wages paid, employers must deduct individual social security contributions from the workers' pay. The employer then adds their own contribution to this withheld portion.

Resources

The autravail.be portal provides extensive information on employment promotion measures (federal and regional) and their financial benefits.

EURES, the European job portal, offers employers information and support on recruiting across the EU. As well as assisting jobseekers, it helps entrepreneurs find workers from across the EU. In border regions, EURES provides information on cross-border commuting and helps workers and employers with problems that may arise.

Help & advice

Help & advice

SOLVIT helps businesses deal with problems that arise when national authorities wrongly apply EU market rules.

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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