In the private sector, salaries are not fixed by law, but are generally agreed in a Collective Labour Agreement (CLA). That may take place within your company or within the sector in which you work. Every CLA establishes the basic scale, the conditions for salary indexation, and any benefits such as the year end bonus, meal vouchers, and bonuses for shiftwork, nightwork, weekend work etc.
The gross salary is the salary which is agreed between the employee and the employer. This figure is set out in the employment contract.
The gross salary is the sum that you, as an employee, earn before deductions. The two most important deductions are:
- The social contributions paid to the National Office of Social Security (NOSS). These contributions make it possible to pay substitute allowances (pensions, unemployment benefits etc.) and supplementary allowances (child benefit, the refund of health care, etc.). More information on social contributions on the website of the Federal Public Service Social Security.
- Income tax. This is the part of your personal taxation deducted "at source" each month from your salary. The amount of this deduction depends on your taxable gross salary (the gross salary mentioned in the the employment contract minus the social contributions), the composition of your family and other rules. More information on income tax on the site of the Federal Public Service Finances in French or Dutch.
The net salary is the amount that you keep after deduction of income tax, the NOSS contribution, and other permitted deductions.