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Working conditions


Hello Everybody, I'm really new in Belgium as I've recently relocated and I'm working as a manager for a company. My first impression is that Belgium is not what I really expected as there is a lot of pressure and a chaotic work environment where many of my colleagues are suffering from burnout.   Also, I work every day more than 9-10 hours although the company policy that I received with the job proposal clearly stated that the legal working hours are in total 37.5 . Is that a normality in Belgium or I've just found a problematic company? Is there any office/service that supports the rights of the employees where I can formally complain? 


American-owned company?

Nov 5, 2019 20:19

I work 45 hours a week minimum for a Belgian company. A couple of years ago it was 50 minimum per week.

My experience is that it all depends on what job you are doing and how many hours it takes to get it done, not what's written in your contract. The more responsibility you have, the more hours are expected of you. I have many colleagues sitting around me who never work more than 38 or 39 hours, for instance.

I would try to tackle this internally first with managers, human resources or a union. Should all of that fail, I believe anyone working in Belgium can join a union, which then will offer advice or intervene on your behalf.

Nov 6, 2019 14:23

Normal in some companies, not in others. The Belgian way is to work hard and efficiently and go home on time. But there are so many international companies here that you can't assume that working for one company will be anything like another.

Go home on time. If the job doesn't get done, they need more people. If they make a remark, ask why the company culture is so rotten that people need 20% more time to do their job.

Keep your sanity.

Nov 9, 2019 10:25

Settling in to a new country can be stressful. I hope that in due course you will find that Belgium is a good place to live with much to offer.

It is not uncommon to have to invest additional hours especially at the start of a new job. Some flexibility is usually both required and appreciated. Maybe as a manager you will gradually be able to reduce some of the chaos in the working environment that you refer to.

If however you are feeling under pressure and need to talk to someone anonymously and confidentially, you can always call the English-speaking CHS Helpline on 02.648.40.14. The service is 24/7 and calls are free (CHS pays). I wish you well.

Nov 12, 2019 10:52