Maximum working hours, overtime, weekly rest and leave
Article 3 sets out the exceptions to the general restrictions regarding working hours. Under this provision, a number of categories of employees are excluded from the scope of application of these restrictions: (i) sales representatives; (ii) domestic workers; and (iii) employees having a position of management or a position of confidence within the meaning of the Royal Decree of 10 February 1965.
For these workers, the daily and weekly limits set out in the law of 16 March 1971 can be legally exceeded and they are not entitled to overtime compensatory rest and overtime pay if they exceed these limits.
Law / 16 March 1971 / Belgium / Law of 16 March 1971 Relating to Work
Under Belgian law, it is strictly forbidden to put children to work or to let them work or to make them perform an activity outside of the ordinary course of the education and learning process. For the purposes of this law, “children” are defined as minors who are less than 15 years of age or who are still subject to full-time compulsory education.The law permits some individual exceptions to the above-mentioned general prohibition of putting children to work. However, the conditions for these exceptions are strictly regulated, and the application of these exceptions must be authorized by a competent officer in writing.
If a child does perform any activity under an exception, a child of 6 years of age and under may only do so between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., a child between 7 and 11 years of age may only do so between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., and a child between 12 and 15 years of age may only do so between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
The law of 16 March 1971 relating to work also regulates maximum working hours, setting out weekly and daily limits. Exceptions to those weekly and daily limits are only possible in certain situations specified by the law; and the conditions, limitations, and procedures stipulated must be respected. If the employer fails to comply with these strict rules/conditions, the employer can be held criminally liable under the Criminal Social Code.