Living and working conditions

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Working conditions

Terminating an employment contract


  1. The commitments arising from an employment contract end:
    1. upon expiry of the term for fixed-term contracts;
    2. upon completion of the work in respect of which the contract was concluded for specific work;
    3. when one of the parties so desires (resignation or dismissal) for open-ended contracts;
    4. by mutual agreement among the parties (for all contracts);
    5. on the death of one of the parties (for all contracts): an employment contract automatically ends on the death of the worker. This does not apply to the death of the employer;
    6. in case of force majeure with permanent consequences (for all contracts).
  2. Forms of termination common to all contracts
    1. Immediate termination for compelling reasons:  either party may terminate the contract for a compelling reason without notice or compensation. A strict procedure must be followed, otherwise the termination will be null and void. The party invoking the compelling reason must prove its existence. Any serious failing that makes all professional cooperation between the employer and employee immediately and definitively impossible is regarded as a compelling reason.
    2. Termination with notice: where a contract has been entered into for an indefinite period, each party may terminate it with notice. The communication giving notice must indicate the start and duration of the notice period.Notice must be communicated either by registered letter, which takes effect on the third working day after the date of dispatch, or by a court bailiff.An employee may also give notice in writing to his or her employer, in two copies. The employer signs one copy as proof of receipt
    3. Act equivalent to termination Certain acts performed by one of the parties may modify the working conditions to such an extent that they are equivalent to the immediate termination of the employment contract (e.g. unjustified absence for several days without having informed the employer).
  3. Limitation of the right of dismissal

In some circumstances and with respect to certain categories of workers, the law provides for limitations on the right to dismiss an employee.

  1. Pensions

There are three pension systems in Belgium:

  1. pensions for employees (general system);
  2. pensions for the self-employed;
  3. pensions for appointed civil servants.

In principle, the statutory retirement age is set at 65 for all three employment models: employees, the self-employed and civil servants for a career spanning a 45-year period. You can take early retirement under certain conditions, which vary depending on your professional situation. In 2030, the retirement age will increase to 67.

Pensions are generally calculated by:

  • the National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE) if you were self-employed;
  • the Federal Pensions Service if you had a career in the civil service or as an employee.

The pensions of individuals who worked outside the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and who paid contributions to the Office for Special Social Security Systems (DIBISS/ORPSS) are paid by the latter. The responsibilities of the DIBISS/ORPSS (formerly the Office for Overseas Social Security (DOSZ/OSSAM)) in respect of overseas social security were transferred to the National Social Security Office (RSZ/ONSS) on 1 January 2017. FAMIFED is responsible for child benefit.

Your pension amount is calculated on the basis of three parameters: work history, salary and family circumstances.


Text last edited on: 05/2020

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