Labour laws are organised on several levels, with general regulations defined at federal and regional level. These regulations are completed by sectorial agreements negotiated between employers and trade unions and also by company level regulations. Ask your HR manager which Convention Collective de Travail (in French-speaking companies) or Collectieve Arbeidsovereenkomst (in Dutch speaking companies) is applicable to your company. Translations into another language may accompany the original documents, but they will have no validity in law.
It is interesting to note, that Belgian labour laws give employees greater rights after 12 months of employment, however this explains why there are so many temporary working contracts.
Belgian labour law differentiates between different categories of workers: blue- and white-collar workers, part-timers, temporary staff, domestic and home-workers and students. Labour regulations are not the same for all categories, but contracts should always be signed by both parties on the first day of employment. The Belgian working week is usually 38 hours, with 20 days annual leave along with 10 (paid) national or public holidays.
If you are an EEA national, you can access the three Belgian regional employment services for free who can help you regarding contract problems.
- Flemish Community: VDAB
- Wallonia: FOREM (French)
- Brussels and Central region: ACTIRIS (French and Dutch)
The minimum and maximum duration of a trial period depends on your employee status. For white-collar workers, it will depend on your annual salary with a maximum of 12 months, but generally it runs to six months. If you or your employer want to end your employment during your trial period, the legal period of notice is seven calendar days for both parties.
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