With 2022 already on the horizon, now is a good time to familiarise ourselves with Belgium’s public holiday dates for next year, as well as a reminder of the rules surrounding replacement days.

Public Holidays 2022

New Year’s Day - Saturday 1st January

Easter Monday - Monday 18th April

Labour Day/May Day - Sunday 1st May

Ascension Day - Thursday 26th May

Whit Monday - Monday 6th June

Belgian National Day - Thursday 21st July

Assumption Day - Monday 15th August

All Saints’ Day - Tuesday 1st November

Armistice Day - Friday 11th November

Christmas Day - Sunday 25th December

Replacement Days

According to Belgian law, if a public holiday falls on a non-working day (Saturday or Sunday), it must be replaced by a ‘replacement day’ on a normal working day (Monday - Friday). Theoretically, employees cannot work on public holidays, however, the employer is obligated to pay employees their normal salary for that holiday. In 2022, three public holidays fall on a non-working day (stated in bold above), for this reason, employees are entitled to three replacement days.

In order to decide when replacement days should fall, the Joint Industrial Committee competent for each sector will sometimes decide when these days shall fall, however, this is quite uncommon. The Joint Industrial Committee must decide before 1st October 2021. If they fail to make a decision by this date, each individual company can decide when replacement days will fall for their employees.

Companies in Belgium can make that decision in one of the following four ways:

  1. By the Works Council
  2. If the company does not have a Works Council, by agreement between the union representatives and the employer
  3. If the company does not have a Works Council nor union representatives, by agreement between all the employees and the employer
  4. If no agreement can be reached for the whole company, individual agreements may be drawn up between the employer and each employee

If a company cannot decide on replacement days using one of the methods stated above, the replacement day will automatically fall on the next working day following the public holiday (normally a Monday).

All employers in Belgium must inform their employees of the replacement days for 2022 before 15th December 2021 by displaying a signed and dated document on the company premises, additionally, it can be sent to employees via email.

Interested in doing business in Belgium? Find out everything you need to know about payroll, tax, social security, employee benefits, work permits, employment law and more in activpayroll’s Guide to Doing Business in Belgium. This is available as a free PDF to download.

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