Public holidays in 2018

As 2017 is gradually coming to an end, we want to send you an overview of the Belgian public holidays for the year 2018 and a reminder of the rules applicable to replacement days.

 Public holidays in 2018

  • New Year's Day: Monday, January 1
  • Easter Monday: Monday, April 2
  • Labour Day: Tuesday, May 1
  • Ascension Day: Thursday, May 10
  • Whit Monday: Monday, May 21
  • Belgian National Holiday: Saturday, July 21
  • Assumption Day: Wednesday, August 15
  • All Saints’ Day: Thursday, November 1
  • Armistice Day: Sunday, November 11
  • Christmas: Tuesday, December 25

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday or another day which is normally a non-working day (usually Saturdays), it is replaced by a normal working day (see below). Public holidays which will fall on a non-working day in the course of 2018 appear in bold on the list above.

 Applicable rules

In Belgium, employees cannot be required to work on public holidays, but the employer must pay him/her normal salary for that day.

If a public holiday coincides with an official non-working day (e.g. a Saturday or a Sunday), employees are entitled to a replacement day off. Therefore, in 2018, employees will be entitled to take a replacement day for the Belgian National Holiday (Saturday, July 21st) and for Armistice Day (Sunday, November 11th).

The law of January 4, 1974 provides for the manner in which replacement days should be determined. The Joint industrial Committee competent for each sector may decide when replacement days shall fall, but in practice Joint industrial Committees do not do this very often. If the Joint industrial Committee has not taken its decision before October 1, 2017 each company may decide when the replacement days for its employees will fall. Within a company, the decision on replacement days must be taken in one of the following manners:

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

If replacement days cannot be decided upon using one of the solutions above, they must automatically fall on the next normal working day following the public holiday (usually a Monday).

Employers must inform their employees of the replacement days for 2018, by displaying a signed and dated document on the company premises, before December 15, 2017. A sample of such a document can be obtained from your payroll administrator at Pro-Pay.

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