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Source and scope of regulations - 2019    

  • Employment Contract Act [ECA], 3 July 1978, as last amended on 05.03.2017
    (Loi relative aux contrats de travail - available in French, Dutch and German )
    Date: 05 Mar 2017; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
  • Labour Act [LA], 16 March 1971, as last amended in March 2017
    (Loi sur le travail - available in French, Dutch and German)
    Date: 05 Mar 2017; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
  • Royal Order on Collective Dismissals [ROCD], 24 May 1976, as subsequently amended in May 2016.
    (Arrêté royal sur les licenciements collectifs)
    Date: 13 May 2016; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
  • Act on Promotion of Employment [APE], 13 February 1998 as last amended in December 2010
    (Loi portant des dispositions en faveur de l'emploi - available in French, Dutch and German)
    Date: 19 Dec 2010; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
  • Law of 26 December 2013 concerning the introduction of a single status between blue-collars and white-collars workers with regard to notice periods and the day of default and accompanying measures
    (Loi concernant l'introduction d'un statut unique entre ouvriers et employés en ce qui concerne les délais de préavis et le jour de carence ainsi que de mesures d'accompagnement - available in French, Dutch and German)
    Date: 26 Dec 2013; view website »
Size of enterprises excluded (≤): 20
Workers' categories excluded: civil/public servants; police; army; seafarers; teachers; dock workers

Collective agreements

Types of employment contracts - 2019    

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Maximum probationary (trial) period: 0 month(s)

Fixed term contract (FTC):
  • FTC regulated: Yes
  • Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation on first FTC
  • Maximum number of successive FTCs: 4
  • Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: 36 month(s)
  • % of workforce under FTC: %

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - 2019    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none; none

Prohibited grounds: marital status; pregnancy; maternity leave; temporary work injury or illness; race; colour; sex; sexual orientation; religion; political opinion; social origin; nationality/national origin; age; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; financial status; language; whistle blowing; birth; state of health; genetic information; ethnic origin

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives; pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave; workers holding an elected position or discharging a public function

Procedural requirements for individual dismissals - 2019    

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Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Notice period:

    Pay in lieu of notice: Yes

    Notification to the public administration: No

    Notification to workers' representatives: No

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Procedural requirements for collective dismissals for economic reasons (redundancy, retrenchment) - 2019    

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    Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned):
    Over a period of 60 days, at least:
    1) 10 workers in undertakings with 20-99 workers;
    2) 10% workers in undertakings with 100 - 300 workers;
    3) 30 workers in undertakings with at least 300 workers.

    Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

    Notification to the public administration: Yes

    Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

    Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

    Priority rules for re-employment: No

    Severance pay and redundancy payment - 2019    

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    Redundancy payment: Only for collective dismissals:
    (basic average net remuneration - unemployment benefits ) ÷ 2. Due for 4 months subject to exceptions.

    Notes / Remarks
    1) Individual dismissals (including for economic reasons): no statutory severance pay.
    2) Collective dismissal: redundancy payment established by a national collective agreement (N°10 of 1973).

    Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - 2019    

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    Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

    Compensation for unfair dismissal - Are there legal limits?: Yes

    Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method):
    In case of "manifestly unreasonable" termination of employment, the employer shall grant a compensation to the worker of minimum 3 weeks and maximum 17 weeks of remuneration (Art. 9 of the national 2014 Collective labour agreement No. 109).

    In addition, the worker might request another specific compensation in case the employer does not motivate the reasons for the dismissal.

    Reinstatement available: No

    Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

    Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): labour court

    Existing arbitration: No

    Burden of proof: worker

    Source of additional information - 2019    

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    Belgian Ministry of Labour / Motivation du licenciement - Travailleurs relevant du secteur privé »

    Belgian Ministry of Labour / Fin du contrat à durée indéterminée - congé moyennant le paiement d’une indemnité de rupture »

    Belgian Ministry of Labour / Fin du contrat de travail »

    Belgian Ministry of Labour / Licenciements collectifs »