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Belgium: Termination of employment

Original and updating author: Mark Carley

Consultant editor: Thierry Viérin, Osborne Clarke


  • Employment contracts can be terminated on various grounds. (See General)
  • Statutory notice periods apply in the cases of both dismissal and resignation. (See Notice periods)
  • The employer may terminate the employment contract without notice or payment in lieu on "serious grounds". (See Summary dismissal on serious grounds)
  • The employer must provide a written statement of the specific reasons for dismissal in certain circumstances. (See Statement of reasons for dismissal)
  • There is no concept of "unfair dismissal", as such, but employees may, in certain cases, claim compensation if they are dismissed for reasons that are "manifestly unreasonable" or are dismissed "abusively". (See Unfair dismissal)
  • Where an employer unilaterally modifies an essential element of the employment contract against the employee's wishes, the employee may resign and bring a court claim. (See Constructive dismissal)
  • There are various rules regarding collective redundancies. (See Collective redundancies)
  • Employees who are dismissed after a certain length of service must generally be offered outplacement assistance by their employer. (See Outplacement).
  • When an employee reaches the legal pensionable age (currently 65), this does not automatically terminate the employment relationship. In order for the employee to retire, the employment contract must be terminated in the normal way, although special rules apply in areas such as notice periods. (See Retirement)