Engineering — 5 min
Belgium’s diverse labor force, its open market economy, and its favorable location in Europe make it an attractive place to do business. But hiring international employees in Belgium can be risky if you’re unfamiliar with local payroll, taxes, benefits, and compliance. You’ll have to start by opening your own entity — a costly and time-consuming process that can be challenging if you don’t know how to get started. Additionally, you’ll have to have a good grasp of Belgian employment and sort out HR processes to onboard, pay, and manage employees compliantly.
That’s when an employer of record can make your life easy. An EOR can take on the legal legwork to help you hire employees around the globe without setting up local entities yourself or spending a significant amount of time and resources.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the benefits of using an EOR to expand your business, how to navigate hiring in Belgium using an EOR, and how to select the right EOR for your needs.
There are dozens of EORs on the market today, and each offers a different suite of services. How do you know an employer of record has the infrastructure required to support your hiring? First, you need to do your own due diligence and make sure they own legal entities in Belgium, compare reviews, take their product for a demo, and assess the security their platform offers.
Follow the six steps below to find the right EOR partner to grow your business in Belgium.
Make a list of your business requirements and vet each EOR against the following criteria. Some questions you could ask include:
How much does their service cost? Do we need to pay extra for payroll, benefits, and tax management? Does their pricing reflect the value they offer?
Do they own their own local entities, or do they depend on third parties?
How long have they been in business?
Do they offer a simple user experience?
How easy is it to dismiss an employee and pay them their accrued severance without legal trouble?
Do their contracts secure the rights to the intellectual property your employees produce using your company’s resources?
It’s not unusual for EOR providers to use legal entities owned by third-party agencies and partners. That way, they can roll out their services quickly and start serving more nations before they’ve built the infrastructure in-house.
The biggest downside to this arrangement is that those third-party agencies can raise their prices at will, which will be passed down to you. You might also be dragged into legal trouble if any of the third-party agencies face legal issues themselves. In comparison, an employer of record that owns its own local entities can lock in a fair price for its customers and will notify you months in advance of any price hikes.
Our employment guide on owned-entity versus partner-dependent global employment providers will illustrate which model is better for your business.
Checking out client testimonials and online reviews can give you a stronger understanding of the EOR’s operations and how well (or not) they treat their clients. Review third-party review sites like Saasworthy, G2, Capterra, or Trustpilot to get an unbiased overview of your potential EOR’s services. Some points to consider and verify when you’re reviewing online press coverage:
Do users complain about a certain issue over and over?
How responsive is the EOR’s customer support?
How long does it take for the EOR to fix bugs or start working on it?
Has the EOR suffered any security breaches in the past?
You need to test run the EORs you’ve shortlisted to ensure their product’s user experience is optimized for your employees, not just your HR manager. Among others, an employer of record should:
Automatically generate payslips that show your employees’ compensation with a clear breakdown of any taxes, contributions, and deductions levied on their gross pay.
Offer a reliable customer service experience that can resolve your employees’ issues quickly.
Onboard employees, collect their tax information, personal details, and account details seamlessly.
Offer a simple user interface that makes it easy to upload invoices, change personal information, and apply for time off without jumping through hoops.
Remote work has led to interesting conversations about compensation — basically, how much should you pay your employees who are located around the world for doing the same quality of work?
For instance, a software developer based in Brussels earns roughly $43,787 (€40,274) annually according to Payscale while the same role in San Francisco nets roughly $136,000 per year on average, as per Glassdoor.
How do you balance it? Your aim should be to create an equitable compensation structure that can save you money and still attract top-tier talent. Additionally, to employ top talent, you’ll have to offer a range of modern benefits to your potential recruits factoring in local labor laws, as well as the individual’s role, experience, and skills.
An employer of record should be able to help you figure out a compensation and benefits strategy that will save you money as you outsource but also help you make competitive offers that will attract A-class employees.
An employer of record is essentially an outsourced human resource department for your international employees. As a result, they handle sensitive information such as your employees’ salary figures, government IDs, bank details, tax information, and business information — that’s exactly the kind of information that hackers and identity fraudsters are looking for.
At that least, an employer of record should:
Be SOC2 and GDPR-compliant
Undergo regular penetration testing exercises for security preparedness
Monitor their systems to prevent breaches and unauthorized access
Restrict access using two-factor authentication and single sign-on tokens
Make sure their partners and vendors undergo due diligence to avoid third-party breaches.
Apart from strong data security, An EOR’s employee contracts should also clearly specify that your company owns the rights to the intellectual property created by your employees using your company’s resources.
An employer of record reduces the administrative workload required to hire across borders, curbs legal liability, and makes it simple and fast to top-tier Belgian talent. Among other benefits, EOR providers help you:
Pay salaries and invoices on time in local currencies
Offer benefits and perks like retirement accounts, health insurance, stock options, and paid vacations
Minimize your legal liability by staying compliant with local labor laws
Project your intellectual property and inventions with binding, enforceable contracts that you can defend in court
Hire across borders without the complexity that comes with opening and managing your own entity
Withhold and remit any requisite taxes and contributions easily.
The biggest advantage an employer of record offers over setting up your own entity is speed and security. An EOR helps companies of all sizes move fast and not break anything, no matter where in the world you’re hiring from.
The prices for EOR services vary drastically, depending on the type of provider you opt for. On one hand, older, traditional EORs charge a percentage (15% to 18%) of whatever you pay your employees, or a minimum monthly fee ($2,000), whichever is higher.
On the other hand, smaller EORs often offer significantly lower rates, but it’s usually because their services are not truly global, and they don’t have the required infrastructure to support your company as you scale up.
Remote offers extensive global employment services that include everything you need to hire abroad — onboarding, benefits, payroll, data security, and compliance — at an affordable, flat rate. Our Fair Price Guarantee ensures transparent billing and pricing, which means there are no commitments or hidden fees in our costs.
Compare Remote with other EOR providers to find the partner that offers the best value for your money.
Any worker based in Belgium is subject to local labor laws, including expats and resident aliens. Belgium’s labor laws are a collection of legislative edicts contained in documents such as:
Employment Contracts Act of 3 July 1978
Act of 19 August 1948
The Labor Act (1971), on working time and conditions;
The Act on Collective Bargaining Agreements and Joint Committees (1968); and
The Act on Annual Holidays (1971).
Contracts can be agreed upon verbally, but it’s standard practice to draw them up in writing. Depending on the place of business, all documents must be drawn up (or interpreted) in French or Dutch.
Employers pay roughly 35% of their employees’ earnings out-of-pocket as mandatory social security contributions — social security (25% to 27%) and pensions (9%) while employees pay ~21% for social security (13.07%) and pensions (7.5%). Income tax ranges from 25% on incomes up to €13,440 ($14,612) to 50% on incomes above €41,060 ($44,642).
Employees in Belgium are entitled to the following benefits.
Vacation: 20 days off for employees who work five-day weeks and 24 days off if they work six days a week; workers are also entitled to a vacation bonus that’s equal to 90% of a month’s pay.
Public holidays: 10 public holidays; workers earn 200% of their normal pay for any overtime work done on Sundays or on public holidays.
Sick leave: Up to 30 days’ paid leave.
Maternity leave: 15 weeks’ leave, which must commence at least one week before the mother’s expected due date and must not end until she’s spent 10 weeks confined.
Personal leave: Workers can take a paid leave of absence for jury duty or unforeseen emergencies.
Remote has created an insightful guide to help employers create a relevant and locally compliant benefits package while recruiting in Belgium.
An employer can be dismissed unilaterally, provided there’s a fair justification. Employees are only entitled to severance if they’re dismissed for no permissible reason. Notice periods range between two weeks and 62+ weeks, depending on tenure.
If the authorities determine that an employee has been wrongly misclassified as a contractor, you may be liable to pay any taxes, payroll contributions, and levies due for the period that the employee has been misclassified.
Working with an employer of record is the best way to ensure that your workers are correctly classified. Remote’s employment experts can help you avoid misclassification risks and stay compliant with Belgian labor laws. Read our comprehensive guide to employee and independent contractor misclassification to learn more about how you can avoid the risks of misclassifying employees as freelancers.
The rise of remote working has made it easy for companies to hire remote workers in Belgium or globally. However, international hiring is still a massive challenge for many businesses that are looking to expand. The best way to hire and pay workers abroad is to partner with a reliable EOR who can take on the legal responsibility for you. An employer of record does the heavy lifting required to hire employees and contractors from around the globe, while taking care of compliance, tax reporting, payroll, benefits, etc.
With Remote, global hiring becomes simple and fast. Whether you’re hiring a developer from Brussels, a UX design team in Nieuwpoort, or a project manager based in Antwerp, Remote has the infrastructure needed to scale in Belgium and beyond. Our global employment service does all the heavy lifting so that you can focus on finding A-class talent and scaling your business. Remote can help you:
Onboard freelancers and employees in hours versus months
View and manage your employees via our intuitive global HR platform
Offer localized benefits such as healthcare, dental, and eye care, stock options, personal development budgets, etc.
Pay salaries and invoices globally in local currencies
Withhold and remit the requisite payroll taxes and contributions
Protect your intellectual property with ironclad contracts
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