Does Belgium Have A 4-Day Work Week? (Status: Sort Of…)

Belgium 4-day work week

Does Belgium have a 4-day work week?

Yes. Belgium does have an optional four-day work week.

In February 2022, a series of labor law reforms in Belgium passed, one of which gives workers the right to condense their work week from five days into four. Belgium has a 38-hour work for full-time employees. Workers who choose a four-day week would be expected to deliver the same amount of hours just in fewer days, making the labor reform an optional compressed schedule.

Why are people talking about a 4-day work week in Belgium?

In 2022, Belgium passed a new labor law that gives employees the option to request a four-day work week from their employers. The new law essentially protects workers who make that request and will make it hard for employees to legally deny the request.

Four-day schedule workers would still have to work the same amount of hours per week as five-day workers (the standard work week is 38 hours in Belgium). Therefore, the reform opens the option for a compressed work week rather than a typical four-day, 32-hour work week.

“We have experienced two difficult years. With this agreement, we set a beacon for an economy that is more innovative, sustainable and digital. The aim is to be able to make people and businesses stronger.”

Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo (2022)

How many hours per week do people work in Belgium?

The average work week in Belgium is 28.5 hours. The standard work week for full-time employees is 38 hours.

In ranking countries from the shortest work week to the longest, Belgium ranks 57 out of 187 countries tracked by OECD (70th percentile).

  • 56 countries have a shorter work week than Belgium
  • 130 countries have a longer work week than Belgium

 

The average work work is calculated by taking the total annual hours worked per year divided by the average number of people in employment per year, divided by 52 weeks. Therefore, the average work week includes hours for full-time, part-time, and self-employed people. It is not the standard work week for full-time employees.

Source: OECD (2022), Hours worked (indicator). doi: 10.1787/47be1c78-en

View the average work hours per week for every country.

Have any 4-day work week bills been proposed in Belgium?

Yes: A four-day work week bill was proposed, and passed, in 2022.

Workers in Belgium can now choose a four-day, 38-hour week under a series of labour market reforms. The existing work week is five days and 38 hours.

Track every four-day work week bill around the world here.

Have there been any 4-day trials or studies done in Belgium?

No. There have been no known trials or studies done in Belgium regarding the four-day work week.

However, under the new labor law, employees who request a four-day work week will do so on a trial basis to start.

The most well-known four-day work week studies have taken place in Iceland (a country-wide study), Spain (a three-year, €50 million study), Japan through Microsoft’s Japanese arm, and New Zealand through a private company called Perpetual Guardian.

Track every four-day work week study here.

How many companies in Belgium have a 4-day work week?

0 Belgian companies have announced a permanent, company-wide four-day work week*.

*This figured is pulled from Buildremote’s database of four-day work week companies, the most comprehensive list available.

Do you think our database is missing a company? Add a company here.

In which countries are the most 4-day companies located?

Right now, we have 177 four-day work week companies in our database across 20 countries. 38% of four-day work week companies are located in the United States, 36% are located in the United Kingdom, 7% are located in Canada. No other country takes more than a 3% share.

Here is an analysis of company adoption of the four-day work week by country.

4 day work week country adoption

View every country that has tested or implemented a four-day work week.

Learn more about the 4-day work week

I’ve personally run a four-day work week company since 2020. I’ve seen employee happiness and retention increase with no loss to productivity. Now I strive to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the four-day work week.

It seems that many individuals, companies, and countries are finally starting to question to standard, 40-hour work week for the first time in nearly a century. Follow along as we break down the trend.



4-Day Work Week: The Complete Overview

By country: Finland, United Kingdom, Belgium, United States, Iceland, Japan, Spain, Scotland, Lithuania

By state: California



About the author

Henry OLoughlin

Hi, I'm the founder of Buildremote. I have worked from home for a decade and run a fully remote, four-day work week company for eight years. I've made all of the mistakes running a remote company. I hope if you read my site, you'll be spared.

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