Dismissing employees in Belgium
Employers who want to dismiss Belgian employees
should consider the type of employment contract
they have concluded and have legally justifiable causes to terminate the employment agreement
Permanent or open-ended employment contracts can be terminated at any time, with the obligation to observe the legal notice period. Fixed-term contracts can only end at their specified termination date or after the work is completed.
Grounds for dismissal in Belgium
The employer should have a fair reason to dismiss employees in Belgium. According to the events that lead to the dismissal, there are certain common cases in which employees can be dismissed in Belgium:
- when the employment period has expired – in case of fixed-term employment contracts; this can be done without a notice letter;
- when the employee has breached a contractual clause dismissal can be made immediately and without notice; such breach is considered any event that makes the collaboration between the employer and the employee impossible;
Special provisions apply to pregnant women: they are entitled to prenatal and post-natal leave and special protection clauses prohibit them from performing certain tasks.
If you are interested in specific dismissal rules
for certain categories of employees, our Belgian lawyers
can help you with additional information.
Notice periods for employment contract termination in Belgium
Certain changes have been made in the existing Belgian dismissal regulations, so that the differences between blue-collar workers and white-collar workers will be reduced. An old dismissal regime still applies for employment contracts concluded before January 2012 or after January 2012 and until 1 January 2014.
However, starting with 1 January 2014, the length of the notice period will depend only on the length of service. The notice period grows according to a specific algorithm. Below you can find the notice period for the first years of employment:
- one years’ seniority: 7 weeks;
- two years’ seniority: 12 weeks;
- five years’ seniority: 18 weeks;
- after six years of service, 3 weeks are added per every additional year of service.
Our lawyers in Belgium
can help you calculate the appropriate notice periods in Belgium
and make the conversion for the pre-2014 years of service.