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Belgium: Employee rights

Original and updating author: Mark Carley


  • There are various rules for employees' hours of work, with particular restrictions for night workers. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees are entitled to minimum rest breaks and rest periods. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Subject to various exemptions, employees cannot work on Sundays. (See Sunday work)
  • There are various rules regarding minimum paid annual leave for employees and when it may be taken. (See Holiday and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant employees, new mothers and adoptive parents have various rights. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Qualifying employees may take parental or paternity leave. (See Parental and paternity leave)
  • Employees are entitled to various types of leave for care, as well as leave for "imperative reasons". (See Carer's leave)
  • Employees are entitled to other paid leave for various reasons. (See Other leave)
  • Part-time employees have the same employment law rights as full-time employees, on a pro rata basis where necessary. (See Part-time workers)
  • Fixed-term workers have various rights, including not be treated less favourably than a comparable employee on an open-ended contract except where the treatment can be justified. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Employees who have at least six months' service with the employer are entitled to request a form of employment with more "predictable and secure" employment conditions. (See Right to request more predictable and secure conditions)
  • Temporary agency workers may generally be used solely to carry out work that is temporary in nature, and only in specific circumstances defined by law. (See Temporary agency workers)
  • Workers posted to work in Belgium from other countries are covered by the working, pay and employment conditions laid down by Belgian provisions that are subject to penal law. (See Posted workers)
  • When an independent economic entity is transferred to a new employer and maintains its identity, the employment contracts of employees are transferred to the new employer. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • A public fund covers employees' claims where their employer becomes insolvent or the company or administrator/liquidator has insufficient funds. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • The employer's works rules must set out the disciplinary measures applicable to employees. (See Disciplinary procedures)
  • Employers are obliged to protect employees from "psychosocial risks" at work, including bullying and violence. (See Bullying and psychosocial risks)
  • Individuals who act as whistleblowers receive statutory protection from dismissal or other retaliation by their employer, and many employers are required to have in place internal channels and procedures for dealing with whistleblowers' reports. (See Whistleblowing)
  • There are various rules regarding the processing and use of employees' personal data. (See Data protection)
  • Various rules govern telework, performed on either a regular or occasional basis. (See Telework)
  • Employees have a general "right to disconnect" (ie, not to be contacted by their employer outside working hours) and employers with at least 20 employers must have in place rules on how this right is exercised in practice.(See Right to disconnect)
  • All employers must draw up a set of works rules in consultation with employees. (See Works rules)