Belgium: news about cross-border workers

The Belgian authorities have reconsidered their previous position that the 5% working time criterion should be assessed on the European working time as a whole and have now adopted a country by country approach.

The new guidelines state that an employee is considered to be normally employed in two or more EU countries only if he/she works 5% or more of their working time in a country other than their country of residence. The secondment will not be challenged if an employee’s total working time outside Belgium reaches or exceeds the 5% threshold, as long as his working time in each EU Member State stays below 5%. For the average employee, 5% of time would represent somewhere between 11 and 12 days.

Belgian social security authorities stress that the 5% working time criterion is merely an indicator, although it is very important in practice. Beside the working time, the nature of the activities can also be an indicator that they concern marginal activities. In particular, activities outside Belgium that lack independence (such as business trips) or that are in the service of the (Belgian) main activity can be considered “marginal”.



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