Labour and employment—Belgium—Q&A guide

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Labour and employment—Belgium—Q&A guide
  • 1. What are the main statutes and regulations relating to employment?
  • 2. Is there any law prohibiting discrimination or harassment in employment? If so, what categories are regulated under the law?
  • 3. What are the primary government agencies or other entities responsible for the enforcement of employment statutes and regulations?
  • 4. Is there any legislation mandating or allowing the establishment of employees’ representatives in the workplace?
  • 5. What are their powers?
  • 6. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against background checks on applicants? Does it make a difference if an employer conducts its own checks or hires a third party?
  • 7. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against requiring a medical examination as a condition of employment?
  • 8. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against drug and alcohol testing of applicants?
  • 9. Are there any legal requirements to give preference in hiring to, or not to discriminate against, particular people or groups of people?
  • More...

Labour and employment—Belgium—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to labour and employment in Belgium published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: April 2020).

Authors: Van Olmen & Wynant—Chris Van Olmen

1. What are the main statutes and regulations relating to employment?

Belgian employment law is largely uncodified, with the exception of the Health and Safety Code and the Social Penal Code. Therefore, most employment law is laid down in separate federal acts and executive royal decrees, the most important of which is the Act on Employment Agreements of 3 July 1978.

Further, although most employment law matters are considered at the federal level, some matters have been delegated to the regions (ie, Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia), including international employment (eg, work permits for foreign citizens) and job placement services. Specifically, social partners (ie, trade unions and employers’ organisations) have the competence to set out binding rules in national and sectoral collective bargaining agreements. These agreements are usually declared universally applicable. Therefore, national collective bargaining agreements are an important part of Belgian employment law.

Finally, collective bargaining agreements can be concluded at the level of the undertakings, and certain rules can also be set out in internal company rules.

2. Is there any law prohibiting discrimination or harassment in employment? If so, what categories are regulated under the law?

Discrimination

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