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Payroll and benefits in Belgium

As you pursue your hiring endeavour in Belgium, it is essential to understand key factors like minimum wage, statutory benefits, and other employee benefits to ensure your employees are treated fairly and to protect your business. 

In this guide, we will explore all the things you need to know about payroll and benefits in Belgium. We will provide insights on compliant payroll in Belgium, including how to leverage payroll providers or outsource payroll so you can scale quickly and compliantly.

As of April 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Belgium is €2,029.88 a month for a 38-hour workweek. The minimum wage per hour is €12.33. 

Most sectors in Belgium pay higher than the minimum wage. All wages set by law are gross wages. Employers in Belgium are responsible for covering a portion of that gross salary through taxes and social security contributions.

The labour laws in Belgium mandate that employees are entitled to receive a fair and just remuneration for their work, which includes their wages and any additional compensation such as bonuses or allowances. Apart from providing accurate wages, employers are responsible for deducting payroll taxes and social security contributions from employees’ wages. Understanding the rates, calculations, and deadlines for these contributions is essential to comply with Belgium’s laws and regulations. 

Payroll cycle

The payroll frequency in Belgium is typically monthly, covering the period from the first to the last day of the month. Generally, employees receive their salaries on the last day of the month. 

13th salary 

A 13th-month salary is applicable in Belgium. This is usually paid at the end of the year and can be supplemented with half of a 14th-month’s pay. Keep in mind that the 13th-month bonus is prorated if the employee has not worked a full calendar year.  

Payroll outsourcing in Belgium

To ensure smooth operations, companies in Belgium must keep their payroll compliant with local labour laws and regulations. However, setting up payroll in Belgium can be challenging. Companies looking to expand quickly are opting for payroll outsourcing in Belgium so they can focus on their core business activities. This helps them allocate their time to drive growth and other strategic goals. Consider outsourcing payroll services to a reputable provider like CXC to streamline payroll processes, mitigate risks, and ensure compliance.

Social security Belgium

Social security contributions in Belgium Belgium offers a comprehensive social security system that provides important benefits for employees. Both employers and employees are required to make social security contributions to fund benefits such as healthcare and pensions. These benefits are financed through social contributions, which are deducted from an employee’s income. By contributing to the social security fund monthly, both employers and employees gain access to various statutory benefits. These benefits include:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Incapacity allowances
  • Sickness and disability allowances
  • Insurance in the event of accidents at work and industrial disease
  • Old age and survivors’ pension allowances
  • Family allowances

Calculation of social security contributions

Social security contributions in Belgium are typically calculated as a percentage of gross wages. Employers are responsible for withholding these contributions from employees’ salaries and making their own contributions. The exact rates and thresholds may differ depending on factors such as the type of industry and employee status. 

Social security for self-employed in Belgium

Self-employed workers in Belgium are required to make social security contributions to a social insurance fund, and these contributions are usually a higher percentage of income than those paid by employees. 

Additionally, special considerations apply to assisting spouses and part-time self-employed individuals in Belgium. Both groups are also subjected to the social security scheme for self-employed persons and are required to join the same social insurance fund as their self-employed spouse/partner and pay social contributions.

Other employee benefits in Belgium

Employers often grant additional benefits to their employees in Belgium. These can include: 

Meal vouchers

Employers in Belgium often provide meal vouchers to employees, which are exempt from tax up to a certain daily amount. These vouchers are typically funded partially by the employer and the employee. 

Additional vacation day

Some employers in Belgium offer additional vacation days or policies, such as granting seniority leave, where employees receive extra vacation days based on their years of service within the company. 

Wellness programs

Employers may offer wellness programs designed to promote employee well-being, which could include gym memberships, mental health support, or wellness workshops. 

Transportation benefits

Some companies provide transportation benefits to employees, such as covering public transportation costs or offering subsidies for commuting expenses. 

Flexible working arrangements

Employers may offer flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, or remote work opportunities, allowing employees to achieve a better work-life balance. Company car benefit in Belgium The minimum taxable benefit in kind for a company car in Belgium was set at EUR 1,600 per year in 2024, a 3.9% increase from the previous year. Aside from that, employees who use their own car for business purposes can receive reimbursements for incurred costs. The government determines the applicable reimbursement rate on a quarterly basis. As of July 1, 2023, until September 30, 2023, the reimbursement rate for mileage allowances in Belgium stands at €0.4237 per kilometre.    

Reimbursement system in Belgium

The reimbursement system for employees and employers in Belgium depends on various factors, such as the nature of expenses, the legal obligations, and the type of expenses involved. The Belgian government has set out regulations that employers must follow when reimbursing employees for expenses. 

For instance, with respect to business travel expenses, the employer has the option to either reimburse actual expenses or pay a tax-free lump-sum reimbursement per employee. As of 2022, employers can pay tax-exempt amounts of up to € 1.1591 for the first 30 days of domestic travel and € 2.9570 from the 31st day onwards. For foreign travel, the exemption amounts are € 1.7587 per day for the first 14 days of travel, and € 3.6016 per day from the 15th day onwards. Employers must maintain proper documentation to justify these expenses and avoid tax penalties. 

Apart from travel expenses, the Belgian government also has provisions for tax-exempt allowance payments for employees working from home. From January 2022, employers can pay a fixed amount of €129.48 per month, tax-free, for home working allowances to employees. 

Reimbursement of other employee expenses, such as meal and entertainment expenses of employees incurred during business travel, are subject to limitations and conditions and require proper documentation for tax purposes.

Outsource payroll service in Belgium

Managing payroll in-house can be an overwhelming task, especially if you do not have enough resources and expertise in these areas. Changes in tax laws and labour regulations can make managing payroll even more complex and stressful. Payroll errors and non-compliance can lead to costly penalties, litigation, and reputational damage. 

Worry no more. Our team of HR and compliance experts is here to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Outsource payroll with CXC, and we will handle the HR and compliance tasks associated with engaging workers in Belgium, from tax withholding to bonuses on your behalf. 

Contact our team and we will provide guidance on your specific requirements.

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