Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2021-09-16

Minimum Wage

Minimum pay rates are generally set by the industry wide agreements adopted by the competent joint committees. When no such rates have been set by the Committees, an employer is required to comply with the minimum monthly pay set by the cross-industry agreements at the national level. These national level collective agreements are concluded by the National Labour Council. The Average Monthly Guaranteed Minimum Wage (Revenu Minimum Mensuel Moyen Garanti) is the minimum amount that a full time 21 year old (or higher) employee in the private sector must be paid in a month. Paying less than the minimum wage is prohibited in Belgium. The RMMMG, applicable to all workers in the private sector, employment is set through collective agreements negotiated in the National Labour Council. The minimum wages for different sectors can also be determined by the Joint Negotiation Committees established at the sectoral level. The sectoral minimum wage can't be less than the RMMMG. The Revenu Minimum Mensuel Moyen Garanti is applicable to all full time workers 21 years and older. Workers under the age of 21 years (from 16 years to 21 years), workers are entitled to lower rate of pay, as a percentage of national or sectoral minimum wage, ranging from 70% for workers aged 16 years to 96% for workers aged 20 years. The RMMMG and sectoral minimum wages are indexed to the consumer price index (CPI). Part-time workers are also entitled to the RMMMG calculated on a pro-rata basis in accordance with the number of hours worked (full time work is 38 hours per week).

The workers aged 16 years and under are entitled to 70% of the RMMMG (entitled to a worker 21 years of age). This percentage is 76% for workers aged 17 years. Since April 2013, a higher percentage of RMMMG is given to young workers aged 18 years to 20 years. Workers aged 18 years are eligible for 88% of the minimum wage, 19 years old for 92% of the minimum wage and 20 years old for 96% of the minimum wage.

The Wage Norm Act,1996 regulates the power of employers to increase workers’ wage. The maximum margin for wage increase, ie, the norm is set by the social partners based on the report of National Economic Council. If no agreement is reached between the social partners, the maximum margin is determined by Royal Decree.

The 2017 amendment in the Wage Norm Act provides that the National Labour Council should formalise the wage norm as agreed upon by the social partners in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. In 2017-2018, the wage norm/maximum margin has been set at 1.1% and is formalized in the national CBA n°119. In the event of violation of this wage norm, the social inspection services may impose administrative fines amounting between EUR 250-5,000. This amount is multiplied by the number of employees concerned with a multiplier maximum of 100.

Compliance with minimum wage rates is ensured by the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. In the event of minimum wage violations, an individual may file a complaint with the labour inspectorate.

(The Collective Bargaining Agreement No. 43 of 1988, last modified in March 2013; Convention Collective De Travail N 43 Duodecies; Loi sur les conventions collectives de travail et les commissions paritaires 1968; CCT n° 50bis du CNT du 28 mars 2013 modifiant la convention collective de travail n° 50 du 29 octobre 1991 relative à la garantie d'un revenu minimum mensuel moyen aux travailleurs âgés de moins de 21 ans)

Details on minimum wages are found in the section on Minimum Wages. 

Regular Pay

In accordance with Law of 12 April 1965 regarding Protection of Workers' Compensation, "it is unlawful for an employer to restrict in any manner whatsoever the freedom of the worker to dispose of his earnings at his own discretion". The remuneration may be paid in cash or through some type of transfer like bank transfer, postal cheque, postal summons or circular cheque. The remuneration in the public sector is in principle made in cash however a worker may give his written consent to transfer his remuneration through any of above transfer methods.

Compensation must be paid at regular intervals and at least twice per month at an interval of 16 days. The blue collar workers are twice a month while white collar workers are paid at least once a month. Salaries must be paid on a working day and at or near the workplace. Salaries must be paid at the latest four working days following the pay period except when a collective labour agreement provides for a different deadline (the maximum limit is seven working days on completion of the period for which salary was earned).

There is an amendment in the law on the protection of workers' remuneration regarding the payment of remuneration. This law will take effect 1 year after publication, that is, 1st October 2016. The law changes the mode of payment of compensation to the worker: it must be paid through bank transfer, unless a collective agreement or a sectoral agreement authorizes payment of remuneration in cash. The manner of wage payment must be added in the work regulations of the enterprise.

The remuneration ceiling, provided in law of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts, has been revised from 1 January 2021. The ceiling has been changed from € 35,761 to € 36,201. The upper limit has also been increased from € 71,523 to € 72,402.

Source: Loi concernant la protection de la rémunération des travailleurs, 12 Avril 1965

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Accord de Convention collective No. 43 de 1988, dernière modification en mars 2013 / Nationale Arbeidsraad uit 1988, laatst gewijzigd in maart 2013 / The Collective Bargaining Agreement No. 43 of 1988, last modified in March 2013
  • Loi sur les conventions collectives de travail et les commissions paritaires 1968 / Wet op de collectieve arbeidsovereenkomsten en paritaire comités van 1968 / Law on Collective Labour Agreements and Joint Committees 1968
  • Loi concernant la protection de la rémunération des travailleurs, 12 Avril 1965 / Wet betreffende de bescherming van het loon der werknemers, 12 April 1965 / Act on Protection of Workers' Remuneration 1965

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