A tailor-made employment contract is the best guarantee to a long-lasting successful relationship with your employee in Belgium.
Definition of an employment contract
An employment agreement is a contract whereby a person – the employee – engages her/himself to perform work in return for a salary under the authority of an employer. The legal basis which governs employment agreements is the Act of July 3, 1978 (Belgian national legislation).
Since January 1, 2014, there is no longer a possibility to include a trial period in an employment agreement, with the exception of a contract for student work.
For an employment agreement to exist, there are four key elements which simultaneously need to be fulfilled:
- An agreement
- Link of subordination
Types of employment agreements
Employment contracts can be categorized according to:
In most cases, the employment agreement can be a mix of the three aspects, e.g. a part-time employment agreement for a limited period of time for a blue-collar worker. In some specific cases, due to the nature of the function or the job content, there will be a limit to the options, e.g. the replacement agreement which is only possible for a certain period of time in some cases
Basics behind drafting an employment contract
One of the first steps is drafting a tailor-made employment contract that reflects the outcome of your negotiations with the candidate or the employee. If the employee works partially from home, has frequent business travel abroad or receives lump sum cost reimbursements, then this should be included in the contract. For some functions, it’s strongly recommendable to include a non-competition clause.
Language of the employment contract
Don’t forget that English is not an official language in Belgium. Although it is a tiny country, it has three official languages: Dutch, French and German.
The use of language in the different regions:
- French and Dutch in the Brussels region
- Dutch in the Flemish region
- French in the Walloon region
- German in the German speaking region
By consequence, the use of languages in an employment context is very strict in Belgium. Should you ever need to use the agreements made in the employment contract before a Belgian court, a translation in one of the official languages will need to be provided.