- Registered Diamond Companies
- Banking and Taxes
- Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility
- Diamond Office
- Resources and Regulations
- Sponsorship Request
- Brilliant Benefits
- AD Jobs
- Doing Business in Antwerp: Contact List
- Starting a Business in Antwerp
- 1. Formalities, Registrations and Declarations for Diamond Traders
- 2. Founding a Company in Belgium
- 3. Types of Companies in Belgium
- 4. Methods to Acquire Companies in Belgium
- 5. Commercial Property
- 6. Insurance
- 7. Labour in Belgium
- Status of the employee
- Employment contracts
- Recruiting employees
- Specific case of secondment
- Relocation assistance and integration
- Public holidays in Belgium
- Legal paid annual leave in Belgium
- Illness of the employee
- Personnel/staff administration
- Social Inspection Department
- Contribution to the Internal Compensation Fund
- 8. International Agreements
- 9. Subsidies in Belgium
- 10. Intellectual Property
The procedures and obligations concerning labour in Belgium differ between employees from Belgium, the EEA and from outside the EEA. The following is discussed in this chapter:
When recruiting Belgian employees, employers need to fulfil the following obligations:
Insurance for work-related accidents (“Arbeidsongevallenverzekering”)
In Belgium, all employers are obliged to take out an insurance policy for work-related accidents for their employees, regardless of the duration of their employment.
To take out an insurance policy for work-related accidents you can turn to one of the suggested insurance companies in the list of contacts, amongst others.
Joining the Federal Public Social Security Service (“Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid”)
Social Security is a public system to guarantee an income and/or healthcare for workers and families, who are temporarily or permanently unable to provide (enough) income and/or healthcare for themselves.
Social Security grants benefits in many circumstances for example in case of retirement, illness, disability and possible unemployment.
In Belgium, every employer is obliged to contribute to Social Security. In this respect, all employers are obliged to register with the Federal Public Social Security Service.
To contact the Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security, please visit their website: http://www.socialsecurity.fgov.be/en/index.htm.
This registration can be made directly at the Federal Public Social Security Service itself or you can request a social secretariat (Sociaal Secretariaat) to do it for you.
If you wish to do so, please contact one of the recognised social secretariats as mentioned in our contact list.
Joining the Child Benefit Fund (“Kinderbijslagfonds”)
The Child Benefit Fund is a fund that pays out child benefits to all employees for whom all legal conditions are fulfilled.
In Belgium, all employers are obliged to register with a Child Benefit Fund within 90 days after hiring an employee with or without children whereby the employer needs to fill out all the required details.
If there is no registration within 90 days, the employer will automatically be registered with the Federal Child Benefit Service for Employees. In this situation however, the employer will receive a default registration, which might result in higher payments.
For registration, please contact the Federal Child Benefit Service for Employees or another Child Benefit Fund via the website of the Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security: http://www.socialezekerheid.fgov.be/.
Federal Annual Holiday Department (“Rijksdienst voor Jaarlijkse vakantie”)
In Belgium, all employers who recruit manual workers (blue collar) are obliged to register with a Holiday Allowance Fund.
Normally this is the Federal Annual Holiday Department, but some corporate sectors have their own Holiday Allowance Fund.
For manual workers in the diamond industry (manufacturing/no trade), employers can turn to the Holiday Allowance Fund for the Diamond Industry (Rijksverlofkas voor de Diamantnijverheid). More information can be found here: http://www.sbd.be/.
Many provisions applicable for manual workers and intellectual workers distinctively, will be unified under the Unification law. Keep an eye on the AWDC newsletter for the most recent news.
 Wet van 26 december 2013 ‘betreffende de invoering van een eenheidsstatuut tussen arbeiders en bedienden inzake de opzeggingstermijnen en de carenzdag en begeleidende maatregelen’, B.S. (Official Belgian Gazette) 31 December 2013 http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi_loi/change_lg.pl?language=nl&la=N&table_name=wet&cn=2013122608
External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work (“Externe Dienst voor Preventie en Bescherming op het Werk”)
The instant an employer has an employee on his/her payroll; the employer is obliged to register with an External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work.
For registration, you can turn to one of the recognised External Services for Prevention and Protection at Work (see list of contacts).
Internal Service for Prevention and Protection at Work (“Interne Dienst voor Preventie en Bescherming op het Werk”)
In addition to being registered with an External Service For Prevention And Protection At Work, the employer also has to have in place Internal Service for Prevention and Protection at Work and implement a welfare policy within the company policy.
Employers in the diamond sector are obliged to have a Committee of Prevention and Protection at Work when they employ an average of 10 to 49 employees.
Employers – who have joined the Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry (Syndikaat der Belgische Diamantnijverheid [SBD]) – are allowed to found a common service and a common committee.
For more information, please consult the Royal Decree (Koninklijk Besluit) from the 27th of March 1998 with respect to the Internal Service for Prevention and Protection at Work (published in the Official Gazette (Belgisch Staatsblad) on the 31st March 1998).
The contact details of the Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry (Syndikaat der Belgische Diamantnijverheid), can be found on their website: www.sbd.be.
1 KB 27 maart 1998 ‘betreffende de externe diensten voor preventie en bescherming op het werk’, B.S.(Official Belgian Gazette) 31 march 1998. http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi_loi/loi_a1.pl?imgcn.x=37&imgcn.y=12&DETAIL=1998032737%2FN&caller=list&row_id=1&numero=2&rech=4&cn=1998032737&table_name=wet&nm=1998012230&la=N&language=nl&choix1=EN&choix2=EN&fromtab=wet_all&nl=n&trier=afkondiging&chercher=t&text1=externe&ddda=1998&sql=dd+%3D+date'1998-03-27'+and+((+tit+contains++(+'externe')+++)+or+(+text+contains++(+'externe')+++))and+actif+%3D+'Y'&tri=dd+AS+RANK+&dddj=27&dddm=03
DIMONA report (“Dimona aangifte”)
In Belgium, all employers are obliged to immediately report the commencement and termination of an employee’s employment to the government.
This DIMONA report is a very simple report and can be made:
- By telephone with push buttons on the number: + 32 (0) 2 511 51 51;
- On the website of the Federal Social Security:
Via your social secretariat (see chapter on Formalities and Registrations)
Employees of the European Economic Areaa
The principle of free movement of workers
In the 31 member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) - with the exception of Bulgaria and Romania - the free movement of workers is a fundamental right whereby citizens of a country belonging to the EEA may work in another EEA country under the same conditions as the citizens of that member state. Consequently EEA workers are exempt from presenting a work permit (arbeidskaart).
Employers' obligations when recruiting EEA employees
When recruiting employees from the European Economic Area (EEA) the same obligations apply as for recruiting Belgian employees (please check the chapter on Belgian Employees for more information).
Should you require relocating services, global mobility service or even cultural training for your employees, there are specialised companies who can assist. Please consult the contact list for suggestions.
 Citizens from the following countries are considered EEA workers: Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, (the Greek part of) Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland (EEA), Italy, Liechtenstein (EEA), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (EEA), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, bilateral agreements are in place between the EEA and Switzerland, including an ‘Agreement on free movement of persons. Therefore the EU rules of free movement of persons also apply on Switzerland.
Recruiting non-EEA employees
No free movement of labour
Non-EEA Member States and non-Swiss nationals do not enjoy the fundamental right of free movement of workers in the EEA, so they need to apply for a work licence and/or a work permit before starting their employment in an EEA state.
Three different situations can be distinguished:
(1) Work licence and work permit B
If a non-EEA employee has not worked in Belgium before, the Belgian employer is required to apply for a work licence (arbeidsvergunning), and this before hiring the employee.
Following the granting of a work licence to the employer, the employee will receive a “work permit B” (arbeidskaart B), which gives the employee permission to work on the payroll of the Belgian employer for a specific period and a maximum of 12 months.
The Belgian employer must present his/her application for the work licence to the regional employment placement agencies. The competent agency varies depending on the place of employment. For diamond enterprises based in Antwerp with workers employed in Antwerp the competent agency is the Regional Economic Migration Service Antwerp. More information can be found on their website: http://www.werk.be/online-diensten/werknemers-buitenlandse-nationaliteit...
The following documents must always be presented:
· An application form to be completed and signed by the Belgian employer: application for the employment of a foreign worker (aanvraag tot tewerkstelling van een buitenlandse Werknemer). The form can be found here:http://werk.be/online-diensten/werknemers-buitenlandse-nationaliteit/for...
· A medical certificate (geneeskundig getuigschrift) in which the employee’s fitness to work is confirmed (the form can be found following the link mentioned above).
· A copy of the employment contract (arbeidsovereenkomst). The employment contract needs to be in the standard form to be found following the link mentioned above.
· A copy of the foreign identity card or a copy of the personal details on the international passport of the employee.
· If the employee is already in possession of a residence permit to stay in Belgium on a regular and legitimate basis, you also need to present an information sheet with identification data of the foreign employee and information about his/her residence permit.
(2) Work permit A
A Work permit A (arbeidskaart A) is given to non-EEA employees who, prior to their application for the permit, were already legitimately living in Belgium for a maximumperiod of 10 consecutive years and can prove that they have already worked with a work permit B for 4 years (4 times 12 months). This period of 4 years can be reduced in some cases up to 3 or 2 years. To know if it is applicable in your case, please contact a specialized lawyer or consult http://www.kruispuntmi.be/thema/vreemdelingenrecht -internationaal-privaatrecht/arbeidskaarten-beroepskaart/arbeidskaart-a
This work permit applies for all professions carried out in an employment context for an open-ended period of time.
Foreign employees must present their application for a work permit A by filling in the appropriate application forms. These application forms can be obtained from the regional employment placement agencies. There are three employment agencies in Belgium.
For blank application forms for applicants in Antwerp, please go to the following website:
or contact the VSAWSE (please find the contact details in the list of contacts).
If the work permit A is applied for by a person, who is regularly residing in Belgium, the application forms must be accompanied by an information sheet with respect to his identity, signed by the mayor of the municipality where the applicant is residing.
More information on this topic and access to the forms can be found on the abovementioned website.
(3) Work permit C
A work permit C (arbeidskaart C) is granted only to specific categories of foreign citizens who have limited or uncertain residence rights in Belgium (e.g. students, asylum seekers, etc.).
This work permit applies for all professions carried out in an employment context for a fixed period of time.
The procedure to apply for a work permit C is identical to the procedure for a work permit A.
A foreign employee must present his/her application for a work permit C by filling in the appropriate application forms. These application forms can be obtained on this website:
or you can contact the VSAWSE (please find the contact details in the list of contacts).
The application must also be accompanied by an information sheet signed by the mayor of the municipality where the applicant is residing.
More information on this topic and access to the forms mentioned above can be found on the website mentioned above.
Residence in Belgium
Non-EEA employees who wish to work in Belgium must arrange for a legitimate residence while being employed in Belgium.
A short overview of the three possibilities available for a non-EEA employee is given below. More information on this matter is available the following websites:
· Website of the Kingdom of Belgium: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation;
· Website of Portal Belgium.be: Coming to work in Belgium). http://www.belgium.be/en/
There are several types of visas or residence permits depending on the duration of the residence in Belgium:
(1) Employment of a non-EEA worker for a short period of time
Maximum: 3 months.
Upon arrival in Belgium, the employee must register with his/her municipality of residence.
If the foreign employee has the intention to reside in Belgium for a maximum period of 3 months, he/she must also apply for a visa type C at the relevant Embassy or Consulate of Belgium in his/her home country.
(2) Employment of a non-EEA worker in Belgium for more than 3 months (not permanent)
Employees only intending to stay in Belgium for a short period of time, have to register with their municipality of residence. Then the employee must apply for a visa type D at the relevant Embassy or Consulate of Belgium in their home country.
(3) Employment of a non-EEA worker in Belgium for permanent residence in Belgium
If an employee wishes to apply for a permanent residence in Belgium he/she must firstly register with his/her municipality of residence in Belgium, or start a procedure in order to obtain a permanent stay in Belgium from his/her home country.
In order to obtain the correct residence permit for a permanent stay in Belgium or in another country of the European Union, extensive and complex formalities must be fulfilled.
A non-EEA citizen can use several grounds to acquire a permanent stay in Belgium or in another country of the European Union.
Considering the fact that the procedure for permanent stay is complex and detailed, it is advisable to contact a specialised lawyer for further assistance.
More information on this subject can be obtained here:
Employers’ obligations when recruiting a non-EEA employee
When recruiting employees from outside the EEA (European Economic Area), the same obligations apply as for recruiting Belgian employees or employees from within the EEA.