Belgium misses deadline to implement EU social rights directives

Belgium missed the deadline to transpose two EU directives aimed at strengthening social rights into national law. The implementation process is already underway and will resume in September, the spokesperson for Belgium's Employment minister explains.

The start of this month marked the deadline for EU countries to apply two directives aimed at improving employees' social rights. Member States had to transpose a directive on transparent and predictable working conditions into national law by Monday. On Tuesday, EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance for parents and carers entered into force.

The social directives include minimum standards for paternity, parental and carers' leave, and rules on giving greater clarity to workers in precarious forms of employment, among other things. One of the aims of the work-life balance directive is to increase the participation of women in the labour market.

Both directives have not yet been transposed into national law in Belgium. "The draft laws for these directives are before parliament at the moment and have been approved at first reading in the Social Affairs Committee. The parliamentary work will resume in September," says Laurens Teerlinck, spokesperson for Employment minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS, French-speaking socialists). The Belgian Federal Parliament is currently in summer recess until September.

Belgium is a habitual lagger when it comes to implementing EU laws. At the end of 2021, the country's total number of open infringement cases for late transposition stood at 42. This puts Belgium in the lead along with Cyprus, Czechia and Spain, which have an identical number of open cases. The country's complex state structure partly explains these lags: EU directives often have to be implemented by both federal and regional authorities.



Vice-prime minister and minister of Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels