You are here

Labor Market

Labor Costs

The cost of labor has long been a challenge for all businesses in Belgium. In combination with a flat-lining economy, the high cost of labor acts as a deterrent for future investors. Additionally, it is a disincentive for companies already present in Belgium to create new jobs. As the economic crisis lingers on, unemployment figures are on the rise, particularly among the young people, highlighting the need for deeper labor market reforms. The Chamber is convinced that a reduction in the cost of labor will help to reverse these worrying trends, in addition to making Belgium more attractive for foreign investors. Continue reading...

Talent Gap

Belgium has a high standard of education, according to the OECD. Given the current graduation patterns in Belgium, it is expected that 68% of young people will complete an upper secondary level vocational qualification in their lifetime, compared with the OECD average of 47%. Belgium also ranks eighth among OECD countries for levels of expenditure from primary through post-secondary education, spending $11,028 per student per year compared to the OECD average of $9,308. This is evidenced by the caliber of the country’s workforce. Indeed, AmCham Belgium’s member companies have consistently praised the quality of the highly skilled and multilingual workforce and often cite it as a primary reason for their continued investment in Belgium. Continue reading...

Harmonization

Historically, there has been a clear distinction in Belgian law between blue and white collar workers, based on whether the employee performs manual or intellectual labor. This distinction has meant that employees in Belgium were afforded different rights under Belgian labor law in accordance with their assigned category. Generally speaking, white collar workers were better off than blue collar workers. Differences included the notice period in the case of dismissal, guaranteed pay in the case of illness, salary thresholds, holiday entitlement and even social security liability. Continue reading...

Pensions

As life expectancy has increased, the aging population has started to erode Europe’s generous state pension system, leading the continent to face one of the most predictable crises of its history: the pension time bomb. Continue reading...