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Income tax, holiday time and pension


Hi all,

Hope you're well.

I'm moving from the UK to Belgium and I'm trying to work out what my net take home income will be on a job offer that I've received, along with how the holidays work. I found two different Belgian income tax calculators on the web but they both gave a different answer...

I'd really appreciate someone taking a look so that I can evaluate the job offer

- Gross annual salary: €70,000 (based on 13.82 months)... does this mean that I will be paid 12 x months gross at 5,065 euros and then in one of those 12 months I'll earn 5,065 plus another 5,065 with another month at 5,065 plus an added 4,155? I'm extremely confused, and at the end of the day what is the net take home, and how on earth does 13.82 months of pay work??

- Holiday: 20 days holiday plus 12 recuperation days plus public holidays... I've read somewhere that in your first year of employment in Belgium you're not entitled to any vacation time. Is that really true? Also, what's all this about single and double paid holidays?

- Employer pension contribution of 4% - Is this paid at gross or net salary? Also, does anyone have any idea how easy it is to convert a euro pension to a GBP one, or combine the funds? I'm not intending to live in Belgium forever and the rest of my pension fund is in the UK in GBP.

The 13th and 14th month payments are mostly throwing me when I'm trying to compare it to my current UK salary and calculating how much I'll actually take home each month...

Please help!


This question was dealt with in some depth only a couple of weeks ago. Do a search and most of your questions will be answered.

On the matter of calculating how much you'll actually take home each month, you work out your take home pay and get a number but, unless you imagine that every single thing costs exactly the same here as it does there, the figure is not hugely helpful. It doesn't tell you whether you will be better off, more or less able to save, able to enjoy the same standard of living and so on.

I moved from London where I lived and worked in the outermost suburbs. My salary here was more-or-less identical and within a very short time I realised that I was enjoying a standard of living which I could only dream of in London. Principally because accommodation was so much cheaper here.

Jun 28, 2016 11:04
Aussie Guy

With vacation time it depends on the work, I took vacations in the first year and was going to unpaid, but work decided to cover anyway.

You would have to ask if you can take the time in the first year as unpaid, would like to think you're not forced to work for a year before you can take anything at all.

Had it explained by HR a while ago, something like your employer pays into a blocked account (maybe state controlled??) for use the next year. If you change jobs and your salary increases the money comes out of the account and your new work is required to pay the difference to bring it up to your new salary.

I noticed some double paid days on a pay statement, not sure when / why they are enforced.

Ask them, maybe they have some policies to make it more appealing.

Jun 28, 2016 13:20

It's a good salary, and you take home pay in Euros is more pounds in your pocket on a daily basis.

Jump now. Especially of you have, or plan to have kids.

Jun 28, 2016 14:05
Phil Cole

Thanks all for your replies. My question on salary isn't due to trying to compare it to my UK salary as such, but to ensure that I can meet all my commitments (I have some loans in the UK that I will need to continue to pay).

The net pay per month question is still confusing me. Does it mean that I will be paid 12 x months gross at 5,065 euros and then in one of those 12 months I'll earn 5,065 plus another 5,065 with another month at 5,065 plus an added 4,155? I'm extremely confused, and at the end of the day what is the net take home, and how on earth does 13.82 months of pay work??

Also, on holiday... I just want to make sure... are you saying that if I choose to take time off during my first 12 months with a company in Belgium I will be not paid at all for that specific time, or just that I will receive my normal monthly salary with nothing on top? As in, if I take time off over Christmas for example, will it mean a lower monthly salary?

Jun 28, 2016 16:15

If your gross annual is 70kEur, in a normal year you will be paid a monthly salary which is equal to 70k divided by 13,82. So as you write you will receive 12 times 5,065Eur. In addition you will be paid once in a year, usually in end of December, a premium called 13th month and equal to one months gross salary.
Depending of your holiday accrual during the year preceding the year you take holidays you can take up to 20 days of paid holidays. The amount of paid holidays is calculated pro rata, so if in 2016 you worked 6 months in Belgium, you will be entitled to 10 paid holiday days during 2017.
In case you have not accrued the full 20 days of paid holidays, you have a right to take up to 20 days of holidays in any case. You can choose to take these holidays unpaid, in which case your monthly salary will be lower than in normal month (say you work 3 weeks and are one week on holiday, your monthly gross would be about 3/4 times your normal monthly salary). You can also choose to take these holidays paid. In this scenario the payment of the holiday days is in fact an advance payment of your double holiday pay.
Double holiday pay is accrued during the year preceding the year you take the holidays. It's equal to 92-80% of one months gross salary depending on sector you work at. This is the 0.82 in your salary calculation, and it is paid on top of your normal monthly salary. It is also calculated pro rata if you did not work full year on the previous year. The accrued amount is normally paid annually as one time payment between June and August. Any amount that was paid to have paid holidays during your first work year, will be deducted from the accrual on the following year (and if necessary still on the year after that).
The 12 recuperation days you would have function differently than the annual holidays (20 days). They are compensation of you working a 40hour work week instead of contractual 38hours. You accrue and use them during the same year, so if you start in beginning of January 2017, in the end of January you already have one paid day off to use. Some employers allow you to use part of the accrual in advance (for example take 12 days off in August, even though they are fully accrued only in the end of the year). On the other hand it is quite common that at least part of these days are assigned by the employer (so you have to take the day off when the employer says) , typically for office closure to create bridge around bank holiday falling on Tuesday or Thursday, or to close the office between Christmas and New Year.
The 4% employer contribution is from your monthly gross, so 12 times your monthly salary times 0.04. The contribution is not paid of the 13th month or the double holiday pay. For combining the funds, it depends on the pension providers. In general it is possible to transfer the capital from one country to another, but you might lose in the change if the conditions on the pension to which you move the capital are less profitable than in the one from which you move the money.
Here's a link to relatively accurate and simple gross-net calculator:
You need to calculate based on your monthly salary, and the final income tax depends on whether you have children and/spouse, and whether your spouse has income. Remember that the 13th month and double holiday pay are taxed higher than normal monthly salary, in your case always ont the be highest tax bracket (about 50%).

Jun 28, 2016 19:28