student workers

Student workers: everything you need to know

student workers

Student workers are an important part of the Belgian labour market. Every year, thousands of students work in various industries, such as retail and hospitality. With summer approaching, the number of students working will also increase again. Before employing students, it is essential to be aware of the relevant regulations and make the proper preparations. In this blog, we would like to give you the key points to consider when planning to employ students:


1. Age and study requirements: Working students in Belgium must be at least 15 years old. They must be enrolled as a student at an accredited educational institution, such as a high school, college or university. It is important to check students' proof of enrolment and make sure they meet these requirements.

2. Working conditions and hours: As an employer, it is important to be aware of the specific working conditions and hours that apply to student workers. In Belgium, working students are allowed to work up to 600 hours per calendar year at a solidarity contribution (social security) on their gross pay of 2.71% for the student and 5.43% for the employer. In addition, no withholding tax is deducted from a student worker's pay. When a student works more than 600 hours, in principle, the normal rules that apply to any other employee in your company will apply. Thus, you will pay a higher employer's contribution on their gross pay, the social security contribution of 13.07% will apply, and the rules regarding withholding tax will apply.

3. Work on Sundays and public holidays: In principle, employees under 18 years of age may not be employed on Sundays or public holidays or work between 8pm and 6am. However, exceptions to this have been defined for certain sectors, such as the hospitality industry. For example, in the hospitality industry, young people under 18 are allowed to work on Sundays and public holidays every two weeks if they receive an extra day of rest in exchange. In the case of night work by a young person under the age of 18, there must be a continuous rest period of 12 hours between the end of the working day and the resumption of work the following day.

4. Employment contract: Student workers are required to have a written employment contract. This is regardless of the length of the employment contract. This contract must contain well-defined inforation, such as the duration of the contract, salary, working hours and job description. It is important to note that the first 3 working days of the contract are always considered probationary, even if there is no specific probation clause in the contract. During this period, both the employer and the student may terminate the contract without notice or compensation.

5. DIMONA declaration: As with other employees, it is required by law to file a DIMONA declaration before the start of employment. In the event of a late declaration for a student, the student cannot work as a student worker for the remainder of the quarter or until the end of the employment contract and is automatically treated as a regular employee by the NSSO.


There are some situations in which a student is not eligible to work as a student worker:


  • Work experience of more than 12 months: If a student has already worked continuously with the same employer for more than 12 months, they can no longer work as a student worker with the same employer. However, they can still work as a student worker with another employer.
  • Mandatory school attendance: Working students may not have work hours at times when they are required to be present at school on a mandatory basis. This is to ensure that students have sufficient time for their studies.
  • School leavers after summer vacation: After 30 September, school leavers can no longer work as student workers. This gives them the opportunity to focus on finding full-time employment or further studies.
  • Receiving unemployment benefits: If a student is receiving unemployment benefits, they cannot work as a student worker. This is because the student is considered actively seeking full-time employment.
  • Unpaid internships as part of a programme of study: If a student takes an unpaid internship as a required part of their programme of study, they cannot receive a student contract for this internship. In that case, different rules and guidelines apply to the internship.
  • Reduced curriculum or night school: If a student attends only night school or education with a reduced curriculum, restrictions or prohibitions may apply to working as a student worker. These rules may vary depending on the specific situation and educational institution.



Do you still have questions about student recruitment or would you like additional advice? Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].