The Belgium government recently passed a law introducing changes to existing employer-paid bereavement leave, including an extension of its duration from three to 10 days and greater flexibility in taking such leave.

The new law entered into effect on 25 July 2021. Following the recent flooding that hit the country, the Belgian government announced that the law will apply retroactively to deaths that have occurred since 25 July 2020.

Key details

Death of spouse, partners or child

Workers are now entitled to a paid bereavement leave of 10 days in the event of the death of the:

  • Employee’s spouse or cohabiting partner
  • Employee’s child or the child of their spouse or cohabiting partner
  • Foster child of the employee (applies only for long-term foster care)

Three days can be taken anytime from the close relative’s death day to their funeral day. The remaining seven days may be taken by the worker anytime in the 12 months following the death.

Death of other close family members

Employees are also entitled to the following employer-paid leave in the event of the death of other close family members as follows:

  • Three days of bereavement leave in the event of the death of the:
    • Employee’s father, mother, stepfather or stepmother.
    • Employee’s long-term foster father or foster mother.
    • Father, mother, stepfather or stepmother of the employee’s spouse or cohabiting partner.
  • Two days of bereavement leave in the event of the death of an employee’s brother, sister, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, great-grandmother, grandchild, great-grandchild, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law. The two days apply only if these close relatives lived with the employee (one day if they didn’t live with the employee).
  • One day of bereavement leave in the event of the death of a short-term foster child living with the employee.

Bereavement leave should be taken between the death day and the funeral day of the close family member. Employers and their employees may agree on other more flexible ways to take bereavement leave.

Additional resource

Bereavement leave law