Recruitment can be a tricky business, especially when a company is venturing to unfamiliar countries and exploring new markets. This is where we come in to oversee the process for you - Bradford Jacobs’ expertise and over 20 years of experience in international recruitment services is indispensable for expansion into Belgium.
Hiring the right talent in Belgium to expand your company can result in a thriving business with numerous opportunities. However, the recruitment process can be complicated when you have no physical presence in the country yet. Our PEO and EOR service can be the solution for your company.
Are you curious about the recruitment process in Belgium? In this guide, we will share the ground rules of hiring and recruiting talent in Belgium. Our comprehensive knowledge of all Italian employment sectors and understanding of the culture and customs guarantees an untroubled transition.
The Recruitment Process in Belgium
The first stage of making your company operational in Belgium is the recruitment process. It is vital to know where to locate the best talent who will be a perfect fit for your company’s plans.
Belgium is home to many multi-nationals, European Union institutions and global organizations such as NATO. This makes Belgium and its major cities a magnet for attracting foreign staff – but staff with the right qualifications. Language skills are also important as Belgium has three official international languages, French, Dutch and German.
Belgian recruitment agencies tend to specialize in certain sectors, such as service industries, banking and tourism, textiles, engineering, vehicle assembly and chemicals.
International companies expanding into Belgium need not operate through a local entity to recruit employees, but you will have a lot of questions … and the answers are not easy to find. Once the right employees are found, employers must follow strict registration and payroll procedures for their new staff. These include:
- Registering with the National Social Security Office (NSSO) and the Tax Office for their region.
- Tax and social security contributions withheld by employers are remitted to the NSSO and the relevant tax authority for their region.
- Employee must register with their local City Office (Leuven Stadskantoor) where a national registration number (rijsregisternummer) is issued. This is needed for local government departments, the tax office, health insurance etc.
- Remittances to the tax authority should be made by the 15th of the month following payment.
- If tax prepayments are due, they should be made by the 10th day of April, July, October, and December.
- The tax year runs from January 1 until December 31, with returns due by June 30 of the following year for residents and September 30 for non-residents.
The recruitment process is time-consuming and requires dedication – a difficult task when faced with a host of other complicated issues involved in international expansion. Partner with Bradford Jacobs as your Employer of Record (EOR). We will provide all the answers. We will convert your expansion blueprint for Belgium into an action plan with a few simple steps, including:
- Bradford Jacobs locates the ideal employees for your company, then steps in as EOR to ensure they comply with Belgium employment contracts law, payroll, HR, visa requirements and permits (if required).
- We manage all work-related registration formalities and on-going employment issues while you have daily control of your employees.
- The employees complete their time sheets, and any expenses claims – and we invoice you, the client. Once paid, we deduct all contributions to the relevant Belgian authorities and transfer the balance into the employees’ accounts
Within a few days your company has an international presence in Belgium, in prime position to explore expansion throughout the European Union and further afield without having risked the initial expense, commitment or hassle of setting up your own subsidiary or branch office. Make contact today.
Legal Checks you can make on Belgium Employees
Wide-ranging pre-hire checks are not usual in Belgium and, like interview questions, are restricted by law and Collective Bargaining Agreements. The interviewee must be given prior notice that background checks are going to be undertaken: Pre-employment checks in Belgium should be done as so:
- Scope: Checks should be strictly relevant to suitability for the role, regarding such as educational qualifications, experience, and references.
- Criminal Record Checks: These are allowed only for certain sectors, such as security roles, and only with the applicant’s permission.
- Discrimination: The Belgian Constitution guarantees equal rights for all citizens. Checks should not reflect discrimination on grounds of gender or sexual orientation, social status, or wealth, religious, political, or philosophical beliefs, current or future health, race, nationality, or genetic background.
- Required checks include verifying candidates have necessary work permit and/or residence permit.
- Permitted checks include educational qualifications, past employment records, and health and medical checks for certain occupations as defined by law or CBAs.
If checks contravene an individual’s rights under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), fines and other sanctions can be imposed on the employer.
Basic Facts on Hiring in Belgium
- At the interview, employers can ask questions only genuinely relevant to the nature and working conditions of the job and the applicant’s ability to carry them out.
- The applicant has the right to refuse to answer questions that violate privacy or anti-discrimination laws.
- Terms and conditions are generally covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) combined with minimum statutory requirements.
- Permanent employment contracts need not be in writing. However, written contracts must be in place for all other types of employment, such as fixed-term and part-time.
- There is no legal requirement to lodge employment contracts with any public body, but employers must declare all new employees either through DIMONA declarations or, for foreign employees, LIMOSA declarations.
- Employers and employees must be registered with their local tax authority and the National Social Security Office (NSSO).
- Minimum wages apply either through Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or as a national minimum in the absence of a CBA. The Belgian Government reviews the NMW bi-annually and in 2021 it remained at €1,627 (US$1,925) per month or €19,508 (US$23,086) per year based on 12 payments each year.
- Working hours should not normally exceed eight per day or 38 each week, with 40 hours permitted in some sectors. Different rules apply to shift work, while CBAs may impose fewer hours in some industries.
- Overtime, where permitted, entitles employees to 50% extra on their hourly rate for working Monday to Saturday with a 100% premium for overtime on Sundays or public holidays.
- Paid vacations depend on length of service and months worked during the preceding year, which generally equates to 24 vacation days (six-days-a-week scheme) or 20 vacation days (five-days-a-week scheme) i.e., a maximum of four complete weeks of paid leave for a full-time working employee.
- Maternity leave amounts to 15 weeks comprising two periods taken pre- and post-natal. Benefits are paid by the employee’s mutual insurance fund. Co-parents are entitled to four months paternal leave each within 12 years following the birth.
Working with a Recruitment Agency in Belgium
Most leading European and international recruitment agencies have offices in Belgium operating mainly in the Dutch and French-speaking sectors, typically charging fees of between 40% and 50% of the first year’s salary. Head-hunters also search for the highest-qualified, multi-lingual candidates for sectors such as insurance, banking, chemicals, automotive and pharmaceutics. Despite Belgium’s relatively low unemployment, there are still skills shortages in some sectors.
Belgium is also a member of the European Employment Service (EURES) network, which includes all the other European Union nations, plus Norway and Iceland. 32 nations combine to facilitate free movement of workers throughout Europe on behalf of jobseekers and employers. The member nations exchange information on job vacancies, living and working conditions.
Belgian government employment services are available by region and by language. The main employment service for the Brussels region is the ACTIRIS (Office Régional Bruxellois de l’Emploi/Brusselse Gewestelijke Diest voor Arbeidsbemiddeling) as well as the sub-regional employment offices, SSE/STD (Services Subrégionaux de l’Emploi/Subregionale Tewerkstellingsdiensten), throughout Flanders and Wallonia.
Bradford Jacobs have the inside knowledge for recruiting from Belgium’s workforce. Whichever of the leading sectors you are expanding into we are perfectly placed to be your ‘recruitment agency’ in Belgium.
What are the Benefits of Hiring Outsourcing for Belgium?
The big bonus from outsourcing recruitment for Belgium is in streamlining your international expansion by opening potential new markets efficiently and cost-effectively. This frees your company to focus on putting this exciting new venture into action.
Advantages for the parent company include:
- A wide-ranging talent search undertaken by a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) with reduced recruitment costs
- Control over capital expenditure, as outsourcing removes the initial need to establish premises for a subsidiary
- Reduce risks with an ‘easy in, easy out’ operation while exploring fresh markets
- Quickly start new projects
- Focus on core business
- Improve flexibility
- Scale the global workforce to fit the pace of expansion
Do not leap into the Unknown!
Now is the moment to outsource recruitment and payroll by contacting Bradford Jacobs to utilize our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) networks to create the smoothest possible expansion into Belgium.
We remove the risk of not complying with payroll and tax regulations, both at the national, regional, and municipal levels. Your new staff members are operational within days rather than the weeks or months it would take to establish a costly subsidiary.
If you are expanding into Belgium or plan exploring further afield into Europe and need to recruit globally without the hassle of red tape, we ensure you are ready for every eventuality. Contact us today!