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