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Working in the private sector

The private sector comprises all businesses and organisations not under the management or direction of the public authorities. This obviously includes commercial businesses, but non-profit organisations (the legal acronym in French is 'asbl') are also in this category. The majority of workers in Belgium are employed in the private sector.


The relationship between private sector employees and employers is governed by an employment contract. Employees in Belgium are further divided into two categories: 'ouvriers' and 'employés'. The former are what are informally known as ‘blue-collar workers’ in English; the latter as ‘white-collar workers’. The two categories of workers have slightly different employment conditions in terms of probationary period, notice period, temporary layoffs, holiday bonuses and wage or salary payment.

For External linkmore information on employment contracts (FR/NL) see the employment portal

Private sector employers must comply with federal labour law and the collective bargaining agreements, which are concluded by sector.

To find out more about External linkemployment conditions (FR/NL), visit the website of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue

Contact us

FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue

Rue Ernest Blerot, 1
1070 Brussels