A pocket guide to working in Belgium

Last update: 18th Jan 2024
Published: 5th Feb 2023

Are you going to work in Belgium? What are the Belgian working conditions and what should you know before you go?

Work permit

EU citizens do not need a work permit to work in Belgium.

Residence permit

No residence permit is required for short stays or for stays of less than 3 months. However, you are obliged to register with the local authority within 10 days of entering the country. You just need to present your passport or ID card to register. The local authority will then issue a "Declaration of Presence" document which entitles the holder to stay in Belgium for 3 months. At the same time, you will receive a Belgian eID card, which will serve as an identification card at the various offices.

A residence permit is required for long-term stays or stays of more than 3 months. You must apply for a residence permit at the local authority within three months of entering the country. The local authority will then forward the application to the Belgian immigration authority, which will issue a decision within 6 months. During this period, you are entitled to reside in Belgium. To apply, you will need:

  • your passport or ID card,
  • 3 passport photographs,
  • a work contract, or a job application (in the case of jobseekers),
  • a rental contract or proof of accommodation,
  • health insurance certificate.

Failure to comply with the reporting obligation may result in a fine of € 200 for an EU citizen.

Employment contract

Belgian employment law applies to any person working in Belgium. An employment contract can be concluded in writing or orally if it is an open-ended employment contract. All other employment contracts (fixed-term employment contract, student employment contract, employment contract for a specific job, replacement contract, part-time contract, temporary work contract, homeworking contract) must be in writing.


The amount of the minimum monthly wage is determined according to the age of the employee (students and employees under 21 years of age have their wages reduced according to the corresponding percentages). For 2024, the minimum wage is set as follows:

AgeAmount of monthly salary
21 years and over€1 994,18
20 to 21 years€1 794,76
19 to 20 years€1 695,05
18 to 19 years€1 575,40
Source: www.sociare.be

Working hours

Working hours are 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. Employees may also work up to 120 hours of overtime, subject to a signed agreement authorising overtime work.

Trial period

The duration of the probationary period depends on the type of activity carried out and ranges from 2 weeks to 12 months. A two-week probationary period applies to manual workers, while a 6 to 12-month probationary period is for clerical workers.


An employee is entitled to 4 weeks of leave, after having worked for 12 months in the previous calendar year. If the staff member does not work the full 12 months, the holiday entitlement will be reduced. The number of days of leave also varies depending on the profession. Information on holiday entitlement for each profession is available in the online Belgian social security system.

Income tax

The employer pays income tax on behalf of the employee in monthly installments, which are decisive for the annual tax settlement or for the tax return.

Read also:

Taxes in Belgium: everything you need to know about them

There are many different kinds of taxes in Belgium. In this article we explain the most important ones.

Social insurance

The employer is obliged to register each new employee in the social security system or NSSO and to pay monthly social insurance contributions. The contributions are 13.7% of the employee's gross salary. Belgian social insurance includes:

  • sickness insurance,
  • accident insurance,
  • unemployment insurance,
  • family allowances,
  • pension insurance,
  • insurance against occupational diseases.

Health insurance

After taking up employment and registering with the social security system, the employee is obliged to register with one of the public health insurers (or provide proof of private insurance). The largest public health insurance companies that also provide insurance for foreigners include:

Public health insurance covers treatment at the doctor's surgery or hospital, dental treatment and childcare. At the check-up, you must present the eID card you received when registering for your stay. Charges related to treatment are paid in full directly to the doctor. You must then apply to your health insurance company for reimbursement of the cost of the treatment via a medical certificate issued by the attending physician.

Public health insurance covers only 75% of the medical costs, so it is also possible to sign up for supplementary private insurance.

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