Your rights and obligations as a student employee
If you take a student job there are a few things you need to know. Because as with an ordinary job there are a number of rules for you as an employee. Can’t find the answer to your question on this page? Then drop in to a Manpower office near you. For the most up-to-date information, check out mysocialsecurity.
Can I work as a student?
Once you are 16 years of age you can work as a student. If you have completed the first 2 years of your secondary education at age 15, then you can also work as a student. If you are no longer of school age (+18 years of age), then you may only work as a student if you are still in education. If you are only in part-time education you may not work as a student anymore in some cases.
What is a student job?
As a working student you will be given a specific type of contract: A contract for the employment of students. This contract has a limited duration. As an employee with a student contract you are protected by the employment legislation. This stipulates what work is permitted, how much rest your are entitled to, when you may and may not work, …
How many days can I work?
Each year the government stipulates that you may work 475 hours as a student, which is your contingent. As long as you remain within those 475 hours, you will pay less social contributions than an ordinary employee. You can check how many days you have left in your contingent with Student@work. You can also work for more than 475 hours but it has fewer benefits. For more information click on the question: Can I work for more than 475 hours?
Can I work for more than 475 hours?
Would you like to work for more than the 475 hours you get from the government? That is possible but then you will lose the benefit of the lower social contributions. From the 476th hour the normal social contributions will be payable. Note: you will retain the student status for those extra days and you must therefore have a student contract.
Am I only allowed to work in the summer as a student?
Since 2012 working as a student is no longer connected to a season. You can choose when you work and for how long. Do you want to sell ice creams for 475 hours in the summer? That is possible. Would you like to keep a few days to work as Santa later in the year? No problem. Whatever you do, ensure that you:
stay within your contingent;
are attending lessons or other school activities; you cannot work as a student during those times.
Can I work for several employers and/or temporary employment agencies as a student worker?
You can stay with 1 employer or “job hop”. You will receive 475 hours per year from the government, where you work for those 475 hours is irrelevant. Always make sure that you have a contract with your employer.
Paying lower social contributions, is that legal?
Absolutely, you will not be doing anything wrong. The rule for reduced social contributions on student employment is an exception to the law.
Do I need a student contract with my employer?
You must conclude a written contract of limited duration with your employer. This will be signed by you and your employer and you must be given a copy of it. This kind of student contract gives you certainty about your rights and obligations and is therefore very important. You will conclude the contract for a maximum of 1 year, once you have worked for longer at an employer your contract will be considered as an ordinary employment contract. This means you cannot conclude a new student contract with that employer.
What should the student contract include?
Lots! The contract must include the following information:
A short job description;
The job start and end date;
The duration of the employment;
The wage (or the basis and method of calculation).
Can I terminate a student contract?
That is possible but you must comply with the period of notice. If the duration of your contract is for one month or less, then the period of notice will be 1 day. If you concluded a contract for more than a month, then you must comply with a period of notice of 3 days. The termination starts on the Monday following the week in which you notified the termination of the contract to the employer.
Can my employer terminate the student contract?
That is possible but they must comply with the period of notice. If your contract is for one month or less, then the period of notice is 3 days. If it is longer than a month, the employer must give notice of 7 days. The termination starts on the Monday following the week in which the employer informed you of the termination of the contract.
Can a student contract include a trial period?
Yes, that period would then be between 7 and 14 days.
How much would I earn?
In the majority of sectors collective bargaining agreements and therefore also (minimum) wages are agreed. If there is no agreement, your wage will be determined based on the average minimum monthly wage. That amount may sometimes change but you can always find the most up to date information on the website of the Federal Department of Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue.
Gross and net: what is the difference?
A gross wage is the wage that your employer owes you. The net wage is what remains when the social contributions and taxes (income tax) have been deducted from your gross wage. If you remain within your contingent as a student, then only a solidarity contribution for social security will be deducted from your gross wage. This is 2.71% of your gross wage, your employer also pays that contribution (5.42% of your gross wage). In most cases you will not pay any tax thanks to that contribution, but you do have to submit a tax return.
Am I entitled to holiday and holiday pay? What about public holidays?
Holiday and holiday pay are reserved for employees who pay ordinary social contributions. If you only pay a solidarity contribution you therefore have no entitlement to holidays. This is different for public holidays (Christmas, Easter, national holiday, …).
Do my parents have to pay more tax if I work as a student?
Not necessarily, as long as you are “dependent” (financially dependent) on your parents they will pay less tax. Do you have a student job and your wage goes above a certain threshold? Then you are no longer a dependant and your parents will therefore pay more tax.
Will my parents still receive child benefit if I have a student job?
If you do not work for more than 240 hours in the first, second and fourth quarter of the year, then your parents will retain the right to child benefit. If you work more than that you will not receive any child benefit for the quarter in which you worked too much.