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Belgium - Working time - 2009


LAST UPDATE

23 December 2009

SOURCES


Name of Act

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Name of Act

Act Regarding the Compatibility Between Work and Life Quality of 10 August 2001, Moniteur Belge 2001-09-15

Name of Act

Law Setting Legal Rules Regarding Annual Holidays of 28 June 1971

Name of Act

Royal Order of 23 April 1997 Modifying Royal Order of 30 March 1967, Moniteur Belge of 10 July 1997

Name of Act

Royal Order of 5 May 2004 Modifying Royal Order of 30 March 1967, Moniteur Belge of 12 May 2004

Name of Act

Royal Order Modifying Certain Conditions Regarding the Interruption of the Career, dated 29 October 1997 as updated to No. 230 of 15 July 2005, Moniteur Belge of 28 July 2005

Name of Act

Act Regarding Public Holidays of 4 January 1974, as amended up to Royal Order of 11 July 2003
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Name of Act

Royal Order of 16 April 1998 Regarding the Execution of Articles 37 and 38 of the Law of 16 March 1971

Name of Act

Act Respecting the Principle of Non-Discrimination in Favour of Part-Time Workers of 5 March 2002, Moniteur Belge of 13 March 2002

Name of Act

Royal Order Regarding the Interruption of the Professional Career of 7 May 1999

LEGAL DEFINITIONS


Working time/working hours

The period during which a worker is at the employer’s disposal.
Labour Act § 19

Employee/worker

Worker is a person who performs work under the command of another person.
Labour Act § 1

Employer

Persons who command employees.
Labour Act § 1

Overtime/overtime work

Work performed in excess of nine hours daily and forty hours weekly.
Labour Act § 29

Part-time work(er)

Part-time worker is a worker who works less than the normal statutory hours limit.
Act Respecting the Principle of Non-Discrimination in Favour of Part-Time Workers § 2

Night work(er)

Work performed between 20.00 and 06.00.
Labour Act § 35

Young worker

Minor workers of at least fifteen years age and not anymore under full-time schooling obligation.
Labour Act § 2

NORMAL HOURS LIMITS


Daily hours limit


General limit

8 hours.
Labour Act § 19
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Workers are not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day on average.
  • 2007: 8 hours

Exceptions

A 9 hour limit can be introduced, provided the worker is entitled to at least a half day of rest in addition to the weekly rest periods.
A 10 hour limit can be introduced for workers who are too far from their homes to return home each day.
The 8 hour limit can be exceeded for work that, due to its nature, cannot be interrupted and for inventory or accounts work, provided the limit is not exceeded on more than 7 days per worker per year.
The 8 hour limit can be exceeded in response to an extraordinary workload. Authorization from the relevant government authority and the agreement of the workers union representative are required.

The 8 hour limit can be exceeded in order to perform:
(1) work in response to an accident or where an accident is imminent;
(2) urgent work on machinery or plant that must be carried out beyond normal hours in order to avoid a serious disruption of the enterprise;
(3) work in response to an unforeseen need, where the prior agreement of the union representative has been received and the relevant government authority informed.
Labour Act §§ 20, 22, 25, 26

Special categories


» Shift work

The 8 hour limit can be exceeded for shift workers.
Labour Act § 22

» Young workers

8 hours.
Exception: 10 hours for work in response to an accident or where an accident is imminent; urgent work on machinery or plant that must be carried out beyond normal hours in order to avoid a serious disruption of the enterprise; and work in response to an unforeseen need.
Labour Act § 31

Weekly hours limit


General limit

38 hours
Act Regarding the Compatibility Between Work and Life Quality § 2
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Workers are not allowed to work more than 38 hours a week on average.
  • 2007: 38 hours
  • 1995: 40 hours.

Exceptions

The 40 hour limit can be exceeded in response to an extraordinary workload. Authorization from the relevant government authority and the agreement of the "delegation syndicale" are required.

The 40 hour limit can be exceeded in order to perform:
(1) work in response to an accident or where an accident is imminent;
(2) urgent work on machinery or plant that must be carried out beyond normal hours in order to avoid a serious disruption of the enterprise;
(3) work in response to an unforeseen need, where the prior agreement of the union representative has been received and the relevant government authority informed.

The government can progressively reduce the hours limit, without any reduction in pay, in enterprises or sectors in which unhealthy, hazardous or dangerous work is performed.
Labour Act §§ 25, 26

Special categories


» Young workers

40 hours.
50 hours for work in response to an accident or where an accident is imminent; urgent work on machinery or plant that must be carried out beyond normal hours in order to avoid a serious disruption of the enterprise; and work in response to an unforeseen need.
Labour Act §§ 26, 31

OVERTIME WORK


Limits on overtime hours


General limits

The maximum weekly limit is 50 hours per week and 11 hours per day
Labour Act Art. 27
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: The hours of work that a worker may perform, including overtime, is limited to 12 hours per day and 50 hours per week.
  • 1995: Maximum 11 hours per day and 50 hours per week, including overtime.

Compensation for overtime work


Overtime rate(s)

50% increase (ordinary weekdays)
100% increase (Sundays and public holidays)
Labour Act § 29
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: In general, overtime work gives entitlement to extra compensation of 50% for overtime performed on the normal weekdays and Saturday, and extra compensation of 100% for overtime performed on Sunday and public holidays. Under certain conditions and within certain limits, the employee can, in writing, waive to the compensatory rest and receive the payment of his salary at 100% as well as the legal compensation for overtime of 50% or 100%.
  • 2007: 50% increase (ordinary weekdays) 100% increase (Sundays and public holidays)
  • 1995: 50% premium for work beyond 9 hours per day or 40 hours per week. 100% for work on Sundays and public holidays.

Compensatory rest

Workers are entitled to time off for hours worked beyond normal hours.
A worker can, in writing, waive his or her right to compensatory rest and instead opt for financial compensation, to a maximum of 65 hours in a calendar year, where the overtime is worked to deal with extraordinary workloads, force majeure or to prevent damage. Collective agreements can extend this limit to 130 hours per year.
Labour Act § 26 bis

Special categories


Young workers

Young workers who work overtime hours are entitled to time off of equal duration by the end of the following week.


Labour Act § 33

REST PERIODS


Rest breaks


General provisions

Workers may not work for more than 6 hours without a break.
Labour Act § 38 quater
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Workers may not work for more than 6 hours without a break.
  • 2007: Workers may not work for more than 6 hours without a break.
  • 1995: No generally applicable provisions.

Special categories


» Young workers

May not work uninterruptedly more than 4 1/2 hours. If daily working time exceeds 4 1/2 hours, rest break amounts to 30 minutes, and if more than 6 hours, to 1 hour of which 30 minutes in one time.
Labour Act § 34

Daily rest periods


Duration

Minimum 11 consecutive hours per 24 hours.
Labour Act § 38ter
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Workers shall enjoy a daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours.
  • 2007: Minimum 11 consecutive hours per 24 hours.
  • 1995: No generally applicable provisions.

Exceptions

Exceptions to the eleven hour daily rest may take place in different situations, such as in case of accident occurred or about to occur, urgent work to be performed on machinery, unforeseen circumstances, in continuous work with change of teams. The daily rest period is to be grouped together with the weekly rest or the compensatory rest in case of work on a Sunday, in order to correspond to 35 consecutive hours of rest.
Labour Act §§ 26, 38 ter

Special categories


» Young workers

A minimum of 12 consecutive hours per 24 hours.
Labour Act § 34 quater

Weekly rest periods


Duration


» General

1 day.
Labour Act § 11
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: The legislation provides the Sunday as the period of compulsory weekly rest.
  • 2007: 1 day
  • 1995: General prohibition to employ workers Sundays.

Day specified


» General

Sunday.
Labour Act § 11

» Exceptions

Exceptions to the prohibition of work on Sundays may take place if the normal running of the enterprise cannot be carried another day of the week, notably: guarding of workplace; cleaning and repair tasks; work to prevent or repair accident occurred or about to occur; necessary work to hamper deterioration of raw materials. In retail trades, workers may be employed on Sundays between 08.00 and 12.00 am.
Labour Act §§ 12, 14

Work on weekly rest day


» Compensation (for working on a rest day)

Employees working on a Sunday receive a compensatory rest within the six following days. This rest period mus be a whole day if the work on Sunday was performed for more than four hours and half a day if the work on Sunday was less than four hours.
Labour Act § 16

Special categories


» Shift workers

Shift workers may be employed on Sundays provided that their work is interrupted once a week during twenty-four consecutive hours of which at least eighteen are during a Sunday
Labour Act § 17

» Young workers

In addition to the rest on Sundays young workers have the right to one more rest day which should be either Saturday or Monday.

Exceptions to the prohibition of work on Sundays may take place if the normal runnning of the enterprise cannot be carried another day of the week.
Labour Act §§ 32, 33

ANNUAL LEAVE AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS


ANNUAL LEAVE


Duration


» General

The number of holidays depends on the number of days worked per week and the number of weeks worked per year. If the employee works a full year:
24 days for a 6 day week.
20 days for a 5 day week.
Law Setting Legal Rules Regarding Annual Holidays § 3
Royal Order of 5 May 2004 Modifying Royal Order of 30 March 1967
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: In the private sector, the number of days of annual leave depends in each case on the number of days of work performed by a worker per week and the number of weeks of work performed during the calendar year immediately preceding the year during which the holidays are taken. In this sense, after one year of full employment, the employee shall be entitled to: - 24 working days if they work 6 days per week; and - 20 working days if they work 5 days per week.
  • 2007: 24 days per year worked
  • 1995: 24 days.

Payment


» Amount

For workers the payment is made by the National Office of Annual Holidays. They receive 15,38% of their salary earned in the preceeding year.
For employees the employers pays. They receive their nomal remuneration for the time of holidays and a supplement of one twelveth of 92% of their gross salary of the month in which the holidays start.

» Date of payment

At the moment where the employee takes the holidays. If the holidays are split at the moment of the departure to the main holidays if they start after 2 May of the year.
Royal Order of 23 April 1997 Modifying Royal Order of 30 March 1967 § 1

Special categories


» Young workers

Normally, workers are only entitled to a proportion of holidays in relation to the working days per week and the weeks worked. Young people below the age of 25 years who finish their studies and start working in the same year benefit from an additional youth leave. The young person gets the same amount of holidays as if he or she would have worked the full year.
Royal Order of 5 May 2004 Modifying Royal Order of 30 March 1967 § 1
http://www.rva.be/D_opdracht_Jeugd/Regl/Werknemers/InfoFR.pdf

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS


Number and dates

Ten days.
If a public holiday coincides with a Sunday it is replaced by a free day.
Act Regarding Public Holidays §§ 4,6

Payment

Workers are entitled to pay for each public holiday and for each compensatory rest day.
Act Regarding Public Holidays § 14

Work on Public Holidays


» Criteria

Workers may be employed during a public holiday under the same conditions as work on Sundays.
Act Regarding Public Holidays § 10

» Compensation

A worker occupied during a public holiday is entitled to compensatory rest of one whole day if the work has lasted for more than four hours, or at least half a day if the work has not exceeded four hours. Compensatory rest is to be granted within six weeks following the public holiday.
Act Regarding Public Holidays § 11

EMERGENCY FAMILY LEAVE

Leave to care for a terminally ill patient - Maximum of 1 month, with the possibility of a 1 month extension. The leave can be taken full-time or in the form of a reduction of working hours by 1/2 or 1/5.
Royal Order Regarding the Interruption of the Professional Career §§ 9, 10

PART-TIME WORK


Right to equal treatment

Part-time workers are not treated in a less favorable way than full-time workers as far as employment conditions are concerned, for the sole reason that they work part-time.
Act Respecting the Principle of Non-Discrimination in Favour of Part-Time Workers § 4

NIGHT WORK


Criteria for night work

Night work is generally prohibited for all workers.

It is permitted in certain specified sectors, including hotels and catering, media, energy, medical establishments, transport, bakiers and cleaning.
Night work may also occur in work performed in shifts, for tasks that need continuous work and in enterprises where materials are subject to quick deterioration.
Labour Act §§ 35, 36
Royal Order of 16 April 1998 Regarding the Execution of Articles 37 and 38 of the Law of 16 March 1971 § 2

Special categories


Special categories


Young workers

Night work is the work between 20.00 and 06.00 for workers between 14 and 16 years. For workers between 16 and 18 years the hours beween 22.00 and 06.00 or 23.00 and 07.00.

Night work is prohibited for young workers.

Exception: Work that cannot be interrupted or work in cases of urgency.
Labour Act §§ 26, 34bis

Pregnant workers/recent birth

Pregnant workers cannot be required to perform night work during the eight weeks preceding childbirth, or on presenting a medical certificate to the effect that it should not be performed.
Labour Act § 43

RIGHT TO CHANGE WORKING HOURS


Type of changes permitted

Workers are entitled to a career break of at least 3 months up to 1 year (5 years under a collective agreement) which can be taken as part-time leave.
Royal Order Modifying Certain Conditions Regarding the Interruption of the Career § 2

Reasons for request


Parents

Parents can make a request to change their working hours if they want to care for their child or adopted child. They can either suspend their contract for three months or they can make a request for part-time work for a duration of six months.
Royal Order Modifying Certain Conditions Regarding the Interruption of the Career § 2

Carers

Family leave is available to allow a worker to care for a seriously ill family member. The leave can either be taken as a 12 months full time leave or a 24 months leave of reduced working hours.
Royal Order Regarding the Interruption of the Professional Career §§ 10, 11

Results generated on: 30th September 2014 at 23:56:35.
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