- You are always entitled to the statutory minimum wage.
- Your wages must be paid to you personally at regular intervals.
- Only you can decide what you do with your wages.
- There are strict rules about paying in kind (which means paying with something other than money, such as meals or accommodation).
- The payment of your wages should never depend on the profit or loss of your employer.
- Your employer is not allowed to pay you less if they believe you haven’t carried your work out well.
- There is no such thing as a trial period in which you have to work for free.
- Your employer must also pay a part of your travel costs for getting to work.
The minimum wage in Belgium also applies to underhand work and working off the books. The exact minimum wage you should receive depends on the type of work you do, your age, your qualifications and how long you have worked. The hourly wage must sometimes be higher. When you work many hours, or work in the evenings or at the weekends, for example. If you would like to know whether you’re being paid the correct wage, it’s best to get in touch with the trade union or the inspectorate.These minimum wages are adjusted almost every year.
The general minimum wage (since 1 January 2023) is €2.070,90 a month if you work 38 hours a week or € 12,576 an hour. So you can never earn less than this wage. Most sectors have an even higher minimum wage.
A few examples:
If you work in construction, the gross minimum wage is €17.157 an hour (valid on 1 July 2023)
If you work for a cleaning firm, the gross minimum wage is €15.6570 an hour (valid on 1 January 2023)
Gross and net
All wages set by law are gross wages. If you work legally, your employer will pay a part of that gross salary in taxes and another part in social security contributions. What remains is paid to you. We call this wage the net wage.
If you’re 21, for example, and you work 38 hours a week, you will be paid for a month’s work:
€1.954,99 gross wage
minus €7,01 social tax (ONSS/RSZ)
minus €117,03 withholding tax on professional income
= €1.830,95 net wage