Operating a Business

flag Belgium Belgium: Operating a Business

In this page: Legal Forms of Companies | The Active Population in Figures | Working Conditions | The Cost of Labour | Management of Human Resources

 

Legal Forms of Companies

Société à Responsabilité Limitée (SRL) / Besloten Vennootschap (BV): Limited Liability Company
Number of partners: Minimum one shareholder.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Société Anonyme (SA) / Naamloze Vennootschap (SA/NV): Public Limited Company
Number of partners: Minimum two shareholders.
Capital (max/min): EUR 61,500 totally subscribed and released.
Shareholders and liability: Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Société Simple / Maatschap: Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum two shareholders.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: A partnership may acquire legal personality and become a general partnership (Société en nom collectif / Vennootschap onder firma) or a limited partnership (Société en commandite / Commanditaire vennootschap), depending on whether all or only certain partners will be jointly and severally liable.
Société Coopérative (SC) / Coöperatieve Vennootschap (CV): Cooperative Company
Number of partners: Minimum 3 partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed.
 

Business Directories

Financial Information Directories
Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses
Kompass - Belgian Business Directory

To go further, check out our service Business Directories.


 

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Belgium OECD
Procedures (number) 5.00 5.21
Time (days) 5.00 9.47

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

 
The Competent Organisation
Business.belgium.be provides all information needed to invest in, set up or manage a business in Belgium.
For Further Information
Doing Business: Belgium, to learn about procedures to start a business in Belgium
Belgian Companies Register (BCE/KBO)
 

Recovery Procedures

Bankruptcy Laws
Bankruptcy Act of 1997.

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The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 5,089,7525,137,1745,114,000

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 68.06%68.63%69.06%
Men activity rate 72.83%72.86%73.13%
Women activity rate 63.19%64.30%64.88%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labour Force) 2015
Human health and social work activities 14.7%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 13.6%
Manufacturing 12.9%
Education 9.3%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 8.3%
Construction 7.1%
Administrative and support service activities 5.7%
Transportation and storage 5.5%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 5.1%
Accommodation and food service activities 3.4%
Financial and insurance activities 3.3%
Information and communication 3.1%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 1.4%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1.2%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 0.8%
Real estate activities 0.6%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.5%
Mining and quarrying 0.1%
 
For Further Statistics
Government Statistics Website

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Working Conditions

Opening Hours
 
  • Legal Weekly Duration
35, 38 or 39 hours
  • Maximum Duration
8 hours
Working Rest Day
2
Paid Annual Vacation
As far as holidays are concerned, there is a difference between workers and employees. The National Holiday Allowance Office (ONVA/RJV) provides holiday allowance for the former and the employer provides it for the latter. The number of days of paid holiday depends on the number of days worked during the previous year.
Retirement Age
65
Child Labour and Minimum Age For Employment
16

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The Cost of Labour

Pay

Minimum Wage
Minimum wages are not determined by law. The minimum wages in force are normally set by collective labor agreements (CCT). Since April 2022, the national minimum wage in Belgium is 1,806.16 € per month.
Average Wage
According to the OECD, the average yearly wage was USD 54,327 in 2020 (latest data available).
 

Social Security Costs

The Areas Covered
Old age, sickness and maternity, unemployment, work injury and social assistance including family allowance
Contributions
Contributions Paid By the Employer: The employers’ standard social security contributions are equal to 25% of gross salaries (including the base rate of 19.88% and the wage moderation of 5.12%). However, additional general contributions should be calculated (Asbestos Fund, Closure Fund, sector-specific fund for subsistence, etc.), thus the average employers’ contribution for white collar workers generally goes up to 27.5%.
Contributions Paid By the Employee: Withholding tax is estimated at 13.07% of gross salary.
Competent Organization
National Office of Social Security

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Management of Human Resources

 

Recruitment

Method of Recruitment
Recruitment via connections is high rate of success. Interim as the charges and the constraints for employers are high, most companies would recruit after testing the person on interim basis. Big size companies recruit within the group/company.
Recruitment Agencies
Sam Headhunting
Chorus
Russel Reynolds associate
Michael Page (en inglés)
Le Forem
Recruitment Websites
Stepstone
Xpatjobs
 

The Contract

Type of Contract
There are several types of employment contracts commonly used in Belgium. There are different contracts for manual workers, white-collar workers, domestic workers, student workers, professional sports people and home workers. More info is available at Angloinfo.

Breach of Contracts

  • Dismissals
Dismissal because of misconduct or resignation means no benefit entitlement under normal circumstances. Dismissal must be done by registered letter.

Protected workers, such as trade union representatives, prevention advisers, workers on paternity leave and pregnant women, cannot be dismissed. In some cases dismissal is possible only if a severance payment is made.
  • Other Possible Methods
Employment may come to an end for various reasons. In most cases, either the employer or the employee gives notice. Other possibilities are expiry of the agreed period of employment, death, dismissal for serious misconduct, major force, or mutual agreement.

Sometimes a contract is suspended on account of a temporary instance of major force , such as inclement weather or a fire. If the suspension is short-term, the employer pays; otherwise payment is the responsibility of the unemployment office.
Labour Laws
Anglo info
Doing Business: Belgium, to obtain a summary of labour regulations that apply to local entreprises
 

Dispute Settlement

 

Conciliation Process

  • Procedure
Notice must be given in writing and indicate the start and duration of the period of notice. This period differs according to whether you are a manual worker or a white-collar worker, whether the employee hands in his or her notice (resignation) or whether the employer gives notice (dismissal). It is possible for the notice not to be worked, in which case it is replaced by a one-off payment, the amount of which is equivalent to the salary, which would have been paid or received during this period.

In Belgium, conciliation of collective labor disputes relies on the principle of voluntary conciliation. It is conducted by joint commissions, which are statutory bodies under public law, generally chaired by social conciliators, civil servants from the Department of Collective Labor Relations Service, in the Federal Ministry of Employment and Labor.
 

Judicial Structures

  • Competent Legal Body
 
 

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Belgian workers are highly unionised. A national bargaining process covers inter-professional agreements that the trade union confederations negotiate biennially with the government and the employers' associations.
Unionisation Rate
60%
Unions
Syndicat Liberal
Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond / Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens -
Nationale Bondsstaat van de Kaders / Confédération Nationale des Cadres -
Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond / Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique
 
 

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Latest Update: December 2022