In this page, we’ll break down all you need to know about leave laws in Belgium.
Read on to learn about employees’ rights in regards to paid time off/annual leave, sick leave, parental leave, national/public holidays, and more.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
Employees in Belgium are entitled to four weeks of annual leave. This is calculated based on the length of time the employee worked in the preceding year.
If an employee is unable to work due to illness or accident, their employment contract is suspended and their salary continues to be paid by their employer for a period of time of 30 days.
White-collar workers receive their full salary for 30 days, while blue-collar workers receive their full salary for the first 7 days, 85.88% for 7 days after that, and a lower percentage from the 15th to 30th days off work.
Following this time, if still unable to work, the employee is paid by the sickness insurance fund.
Belgium has the following public holidays:
If a public holiday falls on a non-working day, such as a Saturday or Sunday, it will be observed for the employee on another regular working day.
Employees must be granted a day off for a public holiday, and paid their regular pay for that day.
If an employee is required to work on a public holiday, they are entitled to a compensatory paid day off (a full day if they work more than four hours, or a half day if they work less than four hours).
Employees in Belgium are entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave (rising to 17 weeks for multiple births).
This includes a maximum of six weeks before birth (or eight weeks for multiple births), and a minimum of nine weeks post-birth.
Maternity leave does not have to be paid for by the employer, but employees can claim a maternity benefit from the sickness and invalidity insurance.
Fathers (or someone who is married or is legally or permanently and affectively cohabiting with an individual who gave birth) can take up to 10 days of paternity leave within four months following the date of birth.
The first three days of paternity leave are paid by the employer, and the rest are paid by health insurance funds.
In addition to paternity and maternity leave, employees in Belgium can take parental leave within the first 12 years of their child’s life (raised to 21 years for a child with a physical or mental disability or condition).
They can choose from the following parental leave schemes:
Employees can mix different schemes (for example a period of full-time leave and a period of 1/10th time leave).
The employee may be eligible for a benefit from the National Employment Office during this period.
Employees in Belgium are entitled to paid bereavement leave of up to 10 days.
Bereavement leave is one day for the death of a short-term foster child living with the employee.
Bereavement leave is two days for the the death of the employee’s:
Bereavement leave is three days for the:
Bereavement leave is 10 days for the death of the:
What is Bereavement Leave? Click here to learn more.
Employees may suspend their work or reduce their working hours in order to care for or support a person suffering from an incurable disease.
This can be a period of up to one month per patient, which can be extended twice by one month in each case. Employees may be able to claim a benefit from the National Employment Office during this time.
Similar to the above, employees can take time off from work or reduce their hours to support or care for a family member with a serious illness.
This can be: