How to hire employees in Belgium

Struggling to navigate Belgium's complex hiring landscape? Uncertain about legal requirements and cultural nuances? Our comprehensive guide provides expert insights and strategies to streamline your hiring process, ensuring you attract top talent effortlessly.
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Belgium's dynamic talent ecosystem, distinguished by its proficiency in multilingual communication and various sectors, identifies the nation as a premier destination for hiring. The country boasts an extensive pool of professionals across diverse areas such as digital technology, sustainable energy, and biotech, marking Belgium as a cornerstone of innovation and varied expertise.

Furthermore, the Belgian labor market offers an economically advantageous structure for acquiring top-notch talent, providing companies with a competitive edge in terms of cost. This melding of skilled labor and fiscal prudence positions Belgium as an ideal choice for firms seeking to expand their reach or solidify their international presence.

What you need to know before hiring employees in Belgium

Job market in Belgium

When exploring how to hire employees in Belgium, the following trends can help you hire cost-effectively and pay talent correctly. 

  • Belgium's unemployment rate decrease by 0.7 percentage points signals a robust pool of talent eagerly seeking opportunities, ideal for businesses expanding their teams.
  • The stabilization of Belgium’s share in the global GDP at 0.4 percent by 2028 reflects a stable economy conducive to business growth and development.
  • An anticipated average inflation rate of 1.96 percent by 2028 underscores Belgium’s economic stability, attracting long-term investments and workforce planning.
  • Belgium's GRWI score of 0.801 in the Global Remote Work Index, ranking it among the top remote work destinations, underscores its strong cybersecurity, economic stability, advanced infrastructure, and social safety—all critical factors for quality remote work.
  • With an emphasis on technology and digital skills, Belgium’s labor market is perfectly aligned with the needs of modern businesses, offering a diverse and skilled pool of candidates ready to contribute to global business challenges.

Belgium Hiring Trends

  • In 2024, Belgium is a key center for recruitment, with economic and workforce expectations driving a fertile environment for business expansion.
  • Young, tech-savvy Belgians prioritize workplaces that foster growth, diversity, and inclusion, indicating a shift towards more people-focused recruitment strategies.
  • The service sector dominates employment in Belgium, with 79.69% of the workforce, emphasizing the need for strategic compensation and a strong workplace culture.
  • There is a growing demand for skills in analytical thinking, AI, big data, and leadership, highlighting the importance of continuous learning and adaptability.
  • Belgium is increasingly open to flexible working arrangements, making it an appealing location for job seekers.
  • The trends in Belgium's job market necessitate that employers adapt to both economic and sectoral shifts, ensuring alignment with the evolving desires of the workforce.
  • Success in attracting and retaining top talent in Belgium hinges on creating a supportive and inclusive work environment, vital for organizational growth and international competitiveness.

How to hire employees from Belgium

1. Set up an entity in the country

Establishing a legal entity in Belgium is an optimal strategy for companies aiming for significant expansion or to maintain a continuous presence. This approach enables direct control over employee management and offers long-term financial efficiencies.
The process involves selecting an appropriate business structure, such as a Besloten Vennootschap (BV) or Naamloze Vennootschap (NV), followed by registration with the Belgian Business Registry and obtaining a VAT number for tax identification.

However, embarking on this journey requires navigating through a complex and potentially costly landscape, necessitating a thorough understanding of Belgian labor laws and proficient management of HR and payroll tasks. This complexity highlights the importance of careful planning or seeking expert guidance to ensure compliance and operational success.

2. Hire independent contractors

Hiring independent contractors in Belgium entails establishing agreements with individuals or organizations for specific tasks or projects, offering significant adaptability ideal for short-term needs or specialized project objectives. Accurate classification of workers is crucial to avoid legal complications and potential fines. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that contractors might not exhibit the same degree of dedication or loyalty as full-time, permanent employees, a vital consideration in adopting this approach to staffing.

3. Partner with an EOR in the country

Utilizing an Employer of Record (EOR) service like Gloroots facilitates a smooth transition into Belgium's market, bypassing the intricacies involved in setting up a legal entity. This approach markedly diminishes liabilities and promotes cost efficiency. Partnering with an EOR guarantees adherence to Belgian labor laws, tax requirements, and regulations, effectively minimizing legal exposures and establishing a compliant operational framework.

Compliance risk while hiring in Belgium

Hiring in Belgium presents compliance risks related to labor laws, tax regulations, and worker classification. Navigating these complexities requires thorough understanding and adherence to local and EU directives to avoid legal penalties and ensure ethical employment practices. Partnering with local experts or using an EOR can mitigate these risks significantly.

Key Aspects of Belgium  Labor Law

Employment Contract:

In Belgium, employment contracts are typically presumed to be indefinite in nature unless explicitly defined otherwise. Although not legally required, it is standard practice for companies to formalize agreements in writing. These contracts detail:

  • The identities of both the employer and the employee.
  • The commencement date of employment, and for fixed-term contracts, the duration.
  • The location where the work is to be carried out.
  • A comprehensive description of the job role.
  • The compensation amount in Euros.
  • The agreed-upon working hours.
  • Vacation entitlements provided to the employee.
  • The periods of notice for termination by either party.
  • Any relevant collective bargaining agreements that apply.

Fixed-term contracts are permitted but are subject to certain limitations, notably in terms of pension rights, with eligibility typically arising after four years of service in such roles.

Working Hours:

Belgian labor legislation caps the daily working time at eight hours. Employment activities are restricted to the hours between 6 am and 8 pm, following the prohibition of nighttime labor. Typically, the weekly working hours are set at 38 hours, either consistently each week or averaged over a predetermined period.


To adhere to the standard weekly working time norms, employees must receive compensatory rest for any overtime worked. Workers earn extra remuneration for hours worked exceeding the daily 9-hour limit and the weekly 40-hour threshold.

Overtime completed within the week, including Saturdays, attracts a 50% premium. For overtime performed on Sundays or public holidays, the compensation rate increases to 100%.

Minimum Wage:

In sectors lacking specific joint committee wage determinations, the minimum wage defaults to the inter-professional average minimum monthly income. From August 1, 2022, this standard minimum monthly income for employees aged 18 and older was set at €1,879.13.

Payroll laws in Belgium

In Belgium, the frequency for payroll distribution is set on a monthly basis.

Employment benefits in Belgium

Leave Policies in Belgium

1. Paid Time Off:

Workers are entitled to 4 weeks of annual vacation each year, with the option to roll over a maximum of 2 weeks of unused vacation to the next year. Additionally, upon exiting their position, employees have the opportunity to redeem any unused vacation time for cash with their employer.

2. Public Holidays:

Workers are entitled to paid leave for ten recognized public holidays. Should a public holiday occur on a Sunday or a non-working day for the employee, the employer is obligated to offer an alternative day off as compensation.

3. Sick Days:

In the event of illness or a personal injury, employees are entitled to their usual salary from their employer for the first thirty days. Following this period, the Health Insurance Fund assumes responsibility, compensating the employee with 60% of their salary for the duration of their absence. To qualify for these sick leave benefits, employees are required to submit a medical certificate confirming their condition, certified by a healthcare practitioner.

4. Maternity and paternity leave

Leave type Duration Pay
Maternity leave 15 weeks 82% of capped daily gross salary, up to €120.52 per day
Paternity leave 20 days 82% of capped daily gross salary, up to €120.52 per day

Public Health Insurance 

Public health insurance in Belgium is integral to its healthcare system, ensuring universal access to medical services for all residents. Funded by employer and employee contributions, it's administered by various mutual health insurance funds under the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI) guidance. Enrollment is mandatory, offering coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, and more, significantly reducing individual healthcare costs. This system emphasizes Belgium's commitment to public health and social welfare by providing equitable healthcare access to its entire population.

Filing tax in Belgium

Income Tax:

In Belgium, employee income tax rates start at 25% for annual incomes up to €15,200, and progressively increase to 40%, 45%, and a maximum of 50% for incomes above €46,440.01. This progressive taxation system ensures a fair contribution from all income levels, with higher income brackets bearing a greater tax burden. For an overview of these tax brackets and for more comprehensive details, our guide offers an in-depth exploration of Belgium's income tax framework.

Other Tax and Social Security Contributions:

In Belgium, employer payroll contributions cover a broad spectrum, including social security which encompasses sickness, unemployment, accident insurance, and pension, resulting in a total employment cost of 27%. For employees, social security contributions are standardized at 13.07% for both white-collar and blue-collar workers, irrespective of the gross wage base. This cohesive framework underpins Belgium's robust welfare system, highlighting the country's commitment to safeguarding employee welfare. For detailed insights into specific rates and contributions, our comprehensive guide on Belgian payroll contributions provides further information.

Business Culture in Belgium

Business Culture in Belgium is shaped by its linguistic diversity and rich cultural heritage, manifesting in specific etiquette practices within the workplace. Here are the core aspects:

  • Initially, a handshake is the common greeting in Belgian business settings, evolving to three cheek kisses among closer colleagues, though handshakes remain prevalent among men.
  • Workplace conversations may become informal over time, but showing respect through good manners is paramount. Initially, the formal "vous/u" is used, shifting to the informal "tu/je" or first names upon invitation. Academic or professional titles are generally not required.
  • Discussions on sports, cuisine, art, culture, and local history are welcomed. Topics like politics, religion, and personal wealth are considered sensitive and best avoided. Language sensitivity is crucial; addressing individuals in their native language or English is recommended, avoiding cross-language communication in Flanders and Wallonia to prevent offense.
  • Maintaining eye contact and smiling are positive gestures in Belgian business etiquette, while overly animated gestures or hands in pockets are frowned upon. Limited physical contact, such as gentle arm touches, is acceptable.
  • Business attire ranges from smart to conservative casual, depending on the workplace. Men typically wear dark suits, while women opt for business suits or skirts with blouses. Smart casual in subtle tones is advisable for less formal environments, avoiding overly bright, revealing, or inappropriate clothing.
  • Gifts are not a standard practice for business meetings but, if given, should be modest like chocolates or souvenirs. Avoid alcohol, romantically or funereally associated flowers, and items with company logos. Opening gifts in the presence of the giver is customary.
  • Exchanging business cards is common, with details including name, position, and contact information. Cards translated into French or Dutch demonstrate respect for Belgium's linguistic diversity, and having versions in both languages caters to the bilingual nature of certain regions.

Top sectors to hire from in Belgium

Service Sector: 

Dominating the workforce with 79.69% employment in 2021 and contributing 68.26% to the GDP in 2022, the service sector stands as Belgium’s largest employment and economic contributor. This sector encompasses a wide range of services including finance, healthcare, and education, offering vast opportunities for recruitment.


With a 19.37% share in employment and contributing approximately 20.72% to the GDP in 2022, the industrial sector remains significant. It spans manufacturing, construction, and engineering, among others, presenting robust hiring prospects.

Cleantech and Renewables: 

Highlighted by 42% of decision-makers as the primary driver of Belgium’s future growth, the cleantech and renewables sector is ripe for recruitment. This industry's focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies positions it as a key area for innovative talent.

Digital Economy: 

Accounting for a key portion of future growth prospects, as identified by 13% of respondents, the digital economy including IT, telecoms, and media emerges as a critical sector. This field offers opportunities for specialists in digital technologies, media, and telecommunications, underscoring the growing importance of tech-savvy professionals.

Top cities to hire from Belgium 

As the capital city and the heart of European politics, Brussels is a melting pot of international talent. It's a prime location for hiring in sectors such as international relations, finance, and digital technology, thanks to its host of European Union institutions and multinational corporations.

Known for its port, one of the largest in the world, Antwerp is a leading city for trade and logistics. It's also a center for diamond trading, fashion, and chemical industries, making it a diverse pool for specialized talent.

With a strong focus on research and innovation, Ghent is home to numerous startups, tech companies, and the prestigious Ghent University. The city is ideal for recruiting in biotech, clean technology, and IT.

Renowned for its prestigious KU Leuven University, Leuven is a hub for academic and research talent, particularly in technology, healthcare, and brewing sciences. It's an excellent source for fresh and innovative minds.

As a key industrial city, Liège offers a wealth of talent in engineering, IT, and manufacturing sectors. Its strong logistics infrastructure also makes it a strategic point for businesses involved in distribution and logistics.

While known for its tourism and historical significance, Bruges is also home to a burgeoning tech scene, particularly in software and digital marketing. It's a city where traditional meets modern, offering a unique talent pool.

Hire in Belgium compliantly with Gloroots

Gloroots, acting as an Employer of Record (EOR) in Belgium, offers a streamlined approach to navigate the complexities of recruitment. Our EOR platform ensures swift onboarding of candidates, facilitating the quick initiation of operations while adhering to both local and international regulations. Designed to accommodate businesses of all sizes, Gloroots simplifies payroll management, benefits administration, and tax responsibilities, bypassing the need for a local entity. This strategy enables companies to effectively build a remote team in Belgium, optimizing efficiency and compliance. For detailed insights on how Gloroots can support your Belgian hiring initiatives, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What are the typical requirements for hiring employees in Belgium?

Employers must provide written contracts, register hires with social security, and adhere to minimum wage laws. Benefits like health insurance and paid leave may also be required.

2. What are the key differences between hiring permanent employees and temporary workers in Belgium?

Permanent hires receive indefinite contracts with notice periods and severance pay, while temporary workers often have fixed-term contracts or agency arrangements, offering more flexibility.

3. How does taxation affect the hiring process in Belgium?

Employers deduct payroll taxes, including income tax and social security contributions, from employees' salaries. Understanding tax incentives and seeking expert advice is crucial for compliance.

4. Are there specific regulations regarding hiring foreign nationals in Belgium?

Yes, employers need work permits for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, must demonstrate local recruitment efforts, and comply with immigration laws for residence permits and visas.

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