There are also a number of labor schemes that can be used to optimize cost and productivity, and the process of acquiring work permits for foreign workers is significantly less complex that that of other EU countries. In 2019, the single permit was introduced, combining work permit with residence permit for foreign employees and reducing administration.
Companies hiring professionals with academic or scientific backgrounds can recover up to 80% of the withholding tax on their salaries.
In Belgium and Flanders as a region, working hours can be temporarily shortened or deferred due to a lack of work resulting from economic conditions. If an employer cannot provide work to its employees on a normal basis for economic reasons, the employer is not required to pay wages for days of unemployment. This rule applies to both blue- and white-collar employees.
Companies in Belgium and the region of Flanders are permitted to add flexible schedules to their labor code. To avoid having to pay for overtime, an employer may switch from the basic work schedule to an alternative schedule. Working hours can be spread over a maximum of 1 year, and a weekly average of working hours must be respected.
The process through which a company dismisses an employee in Belgium is significantly less complex as those of many EU countries. A registered letter describing a simple motivation is required, rather than the use of a cantonal judge (Netherlands). The term of the decision depends on the individual’s seniority, and there are no legal costs or delays in judgment.
Social security contributions in Flanders are reduced for employees under 25 and over 55, making it easier for companies to hire fresh graduates or very seasoned workers.