4 things to know about holiday and leave entitlements in Belgium

To be entitled to paid holiday, you must have worked as a salaried employee in Belgium for the calendar year preceding the year during which the holiday is being taken. In other words, you must have worked in Belgium in 2014 to be able to take paid leave in 2015. This can come as quite an unpleasant surprise for new arrivals to Belgium.

How many days annual leave are you allowed?

The length of your paid holiday will depend on the number of months during which you were paid in Belgium in the preceding year. If you worked a full calendar year on a full-time contract, for example, you are entitled to four weeks’ legal holiday the following year.

The legal minimum amount of holiday entitlement in Belgium for people working full-time is 20 days, but some companies offer extra holidays. If you are entitled to paid holiday leave, you will be paid your normal salary plus a complement of 92% of your gross salary. Unpaid leave is possible if your employer agrees, but this has an impact on your social rights.

Taking a leave of absence

You are entitled to take time off work with your normal salary pay, for family events such as funerals, or if you have to appear in court for example. However, in order to do so, you have to advise your employer in advance.

Urgent leave (unpaid)

It is possible for you to take an urgent leave of absence as a result of an unforeseen event which has a major impact on you. This leave can last up to ten days and is not paid.

Maternity leave

Statutory maternity leave in Belgium is three months, with a possibility of adding an extra three months of breastfeeding leave and for you and your partner to work four days out of five for a period as well. Paternity leave is usually 10 days. However, many expats are employed under a contract from their home country or on an independent basis, meaning their national law applies. If you are self-employed in Belgium, you should be aware that statutory maternity leave is only a couple of months.

(Photocredits: PublicDomainPictures)


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