How to Hire Remote Employees In 

Belgium

The Basics

Currency
Euro (EUR)
Employer Taxes
34.00%
Payroll Frequency
Monthly
Official Language
Dutch

Employment in 

Belgium

Hire Independent Contractors

Independent contractors or freelancers are self-employed individuals who provide services to companies as a non-employee. This is one of the most common ways companies tend to hire non-local designers, engineers, support reps, etc.

For legal and tax purposes, independent contractors are not classified as employees. They may work for multiple clients, set their own work hours, negotiate their pay rate, and decide how a job gets done.

For example, the IRS says that if an independent contractor or freelancer does work that can be controlled (what will be done and how it will be done) by an employer then they are, in fact, classified as an employee.

As you can imagine, hiring someone as an independent contractor versus an employee is a fine line to tread.

While there are benefits when you choose the contractor route, there are quite a few drawbacks to consider and you’ll need to weigh them carefully to determine the best fit for your company.

Benefits of Hiring Independent Contractors
Reduced overhead: Lower cost in expenses, payroll, benefits, and more.
Greater flexibility: Contractors can be brought on as-needed. If not a good fit, you simply don’t have to move forward with the contract.
Reduced legal risk: Contractors aren’t usually protected by employment anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws.
Disadvantages of Hiring Independent Contractors
Risk of Misclassification: Not only does this deny workers their proper protections, it can also result in steep penalties and damage to your company. If the IRS determines that employee misclassification has occurred, you will be liable for a percentage of the employees wages, FICA contributions, penalty fines, unpaid taxes, up to a year in prison, and more.
Lack of Control: Contractors are drawn to being independent because it gives them greater control over the work they perform and who they work with. Because they’re not employees, you can’t tell them what to work on and how it should be done.
Lack of Loyalty: Contractors come and go as-needed. Many companies hire contractors for short-term work, which makes it difficult to cultivate loyalty.
Increased Scrutiny: Using Independent Contractors typically leads to an increased risk of being audited.

Set up a subsidiary in 

Belgium

A foreign subsidiary is a company that operates overseas as part of a larger company who’s HQ is in another country.

Establishing a foreign entity is great for having an international presence and accessing new markets. Though, setting up a subsidiary in Belgium can be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. It's not for the faint of heart.

To set up a subsidiary in Belgium, you have to:

  1. Register your business name and file articles of incorporation
  2. File for local bank accounts
  3. Learn and keep track of the local employment laws
  4. Set up local payroll
  5. Hire local accounting, legal, and HR people

If you're lucky, this process can take months. If you're not so lucky, it can take up to a year. And on average, it costs about $50k-$80k, all-in-all, to get setup. And that's just for Belgium.

Use an Employer-of-Record (EOR)

An employer-of-record (EOR) is a company that hires and pays an employee on behalf of another company.

An EOR is typically used to overcome the financial and regulatory hurdles that often come with employing remote workers.

Each country has its own payroll, employment, and work permit requirements for non-resident companies doing business in their jurisdiction. Meeting those demands can be a huge obstacle when it comes to hiring remotely.

At Panther, we help companies employ and pay people in over 160 countries, without having to set up a foreign subsidiary. Payroll, benefits, taxes, compliance, and more are all handled by us, at a fraction of the cost.

Outside of saving you months and tens of thousands of dollars, other advantages of using Panther are:

  • Ability to attract talented and motivated employees from all over the world.
  • Full legal compliance: There is no risk of violating local employment laws.
  • Transparency: Employees are still your employees. All the work, processes, operations and day-to-day business belong to you, the company, just like with any other employee. Panther just takes on all of the responsibilities, obligations and admin work related to your team's employment.
  • No risk of misclassification

Because you no longer have to set up your own subsidiary, you’ll save a ton of time and tens of thousands of dollars using Panther.

Paying Remote Employees

Paying employees in Belgium is not the same as paying workers in your own country. Employees have to be paid using Belgium’s employment and payroll standards.

This means that you have to know, understand, and keep up with 1) fluctuating currency changes, and 2) local payroll and tax laws in the countries you’re looking to hire in.

Outside of the laws and regulations around payroll, there may be different conditions surrounding leave, overtime, termination, and more. As you can imagine, maintaining this kind of regulatory knowledge can be challenging. But it is crucial and necessary to follow local legislation.

After, you’ll have to determine the best way to pay your international employees. This can be done in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

Pay through a local entity

One of the most challenging (and expensive) parts of paying international employees is setting up the infrastructure to do so.

Before you start to run payroll, you have to register your company as the local employer in the country the worker resides in. As you can see in the “Set up a subsidiary” section, this is a multi-step process that can take up to a year and put you on your way to bankruptcy.

Work with an EOR

Outside of EORs acting as the full admin employer, many also provide remote payroll.

For example, at Panther, in just 1-click, you’re able to pay your entire global team, anywhere in the world. We send you an invoice each month, charge you in US Dollars, and pay your employees the same amount in their local currency.

We factor in currency fluctuations and use the mid-market rate plus any applicable fee passed on by our provider at cost at the time of billing.

Belgium

 Specific Information

Working Hours

The maximum full workweek in Belgium is 38 hours.

Depending on some Joint Labour Committees, the number of working hours can be lower, however, the minimum number of hours per day is 3.

Overtime

Overtime is strictly regulated and in general, prohibited.

When employees work overtime, they are paid at the rate of 150% of the regular pay during weekdays and 200% for work on weekends or public holidays.

Rules on overtime and working hours do not apply to some jobs such as sales, managerial roles, and trust roles.

Payroll Tax

Employer

Employer

  • Social Security

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Belgium varies and is agreed upon in national collective agreements and is overseen by the Joint Labour Committee. Flanders Minimum salary levels will increase by 1.94% in Flanders for the following categories. New minimum salary levels include: Executives (including those in the upcoming EU ICT Permit): EUR 69,638 EU Blue Card applicants: EUR 52,229 Specialists and trainees (EU ICT Permit/Highly-skilled permit applicants): EUR 43,524 Locally hired staff under 30 years old: EUR 34,819.20 Brussels Starting in 2021, Brussels will have a 1.23% minimum salary increase in the categories below. New minimum salaries include: Executives: EUR 72,399 EU Blue Card applicants/managers with the EU ICT Permit: EUR 56,111 Specialists (EU ICT Permit): EUR 44,889 Trainees (EU ICT Permit): EUR 28,056 Highly-skilled permit applicants: EUR 43,395 Wallonia Minimum salary levels will increase by 1.23% in 2021. New minimum salaries are reported for the following categories: Executives: EUR 72,399 EU Blue Card applicants: EUR 56,112 Highly-skilled permit applicants: EUR 43,395

Payroll

Pay Cycle

Payroll frequency is monthly, for work between the first and last day of the month.

Pay date is typically the last day of the month, but can be as late as the 15th of each following month.

13th Salary

A 13th salary may apply depending on Joint Labour Committee.

Leave

Paid Time Off (PTO)

PTO is calculated by the:

  • Employees are entitled to 20 days if they work 5 days a week and 24 days for employees working 6 days a week.

Public Holidays

There are 10 public holidays.  An extra holiday may be applicable according to the Joint Labour Committee.

Sick Days

The duration of sick leave entitlement provided to workers is dependent on how long they have been employed by their employer:

  • For the first 30 days of sick leave, the employer must pay the employee’s full salary.
  • The employee is required to provide a medical certificate upon the employer’s request.
  • After the first 30 days of sickness, the Health Insurance Fund pays for the remainder of the sick leave.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is 15 weeks long and is broken down into 2 stages:

  • Prenatal leave: The woman must take a minimum of 1 week before the expected due date and can take up to a maximum of 6 weeks of leave before the due date.
  • Postnatal leave: A mandatory 9 weeks which starts from the date of the birth of the child.

For multiple births, the mother is entitled to an additional 2 weeks of maternity leave.

The Health Insurance Fund pays for the maternity leave as follows:

  • 82% of the salary for the first 30 days of the leave
  • 75% of the salary (capped at 106.9, EUR per day) from the 31st day onwards.

Paternity Leave

The father is entitled to 15 days of paid paternity leave. The 15 days can be taken separately or in a row as well as split up to up to 30 half-days.

The first 3 days of the leave are paid by the employer and the remaining leave is paid by the Health Insurance Fund at a rate of 82% of the regular pay.

Parental Leave

Parental leave can start from any time from the end of the post-natal maternity leave and can be taken as follows:

  • A single 4-month period
  • Multiple periods broken into at least 1 month each
  • Temporarily reducing the working hours to 80% and can be done for a maximum of 20 months.  This period can also be divided up into multiples of 2 month periods.
  • Temporarily reducing the working hours to 50% for a maximum of  8 months.  This period can also be divided up into multiples of 2 month periods.
  • Taking off half a day per week or one full day every 2 weeks and can be done for a maximum of 40 months or divided up into several periods of 10 months each.  However, the employer has the right to refuse this scheme.

Other Leave

None.

Marriage Leave

Depending on the various Joint Labour Committees, leave might be given for the marriage of the employee or family member.

Bereavement Leave

None.

Termination

Termination Process

The termination process varies according to how the employment agreement.

The strictest form of dismissal is dismissal with notice.

Employees who have been employed for at least 6 months have the right to know the reason for the termination.

Notice Period

The notice period in Belgium is:

Notice period varies based on the length of employment:

  • Less than 3 months of employment- 2 weeks’ notice
  • 3-6 months of employment- 4 weeks’ notice
  • 6-9 months of employment- 6 weeks’ notice
  • 9-12 months of employment- 7 weeks’ notice
  • 12-15 months of employment- 8 weeks’ notice
  • 15-18 months of employment- 9 weeks’ notice
  • 18-21 months of employment- 10 weeks’ notice
  • 21-24 months of employment- 11 weeks’ notice
  • 24-36 weeks of employment- 12 weeks’ notice
  • 36-48 months of employment- 13 weeks’ notice
  • 48-60 months of employment- 15 weeks’ notice
  • 60 months- 19 years of employment- 60 weeks’ notice + 3 weeks for every year exceeding 5 years
  • 20-21 years of employment- 62 weeks notice + 1 week for every year of employment

It is also possible to pay in lieu of notice.

Severance Pay

The Severance Pay in Belgium:

Severance pay is only applicable when an employer terminated an employment agreement without notice.  In this case, the severance pay would be for the same amount the employee would earn if they were given notice.

Probation Period

Probation period is 6 months.