What to look out for when employing a student in the summer holidays

Student employees are authorised to work in Belgium for a limited period each year. Employing students can be interesting for employers as a lower rate of social security is charged on their wages.

Students may work at a reduced rate of social security for up to 50 days each year. Beyond this 50-day limit the normal social security rates apply. The student is free to choose the 50 days during the course of the year. It was recently agreed that this 50-day limit should be replaced by a maximum of 475 hours (as from 2017).

Any student aged at least 15 and in full-time education may work as a student employee. The student may agree the employment contract and receive the wages himself, unless his parents or guardians disagree.

The employment contract must be in writing, should be signed at the latest by the time the job begins, and is to include some obligatory data (start and end date, job description, working hours,…).

The student employee is given a copy of the employment regulations the moment he starts work.

The employment contract and regulations state the working hours. For student employees, working hours are limited to a total of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week, or a lower limit as applicable for the sector or company. Student employees are entitled to bank holidays during the course of their employment.

The reduced social security contributions are set at 2.71% of the gross wage for the student and amount to 5.42% of the gross wage for the employer. The usual employee contribution is at a level of 13.07%, and approximately 32% for an employer.

The maximum limit expressed in days can cause problems for student employees and employers. To get the most out of the 50-day period students want to work an 8-hour day. However, if the employer only requires work shifts of 3-4 hours a day then the student is forced to use up one of his 50 authorised days. That’s why, as from 2017, students may work a maximum number of hours rather than a maximum number of days. It was recently agreed that this maximum should be set at a level of 475 hours on an annual basis.

Are you planning to take on a student employee? Then contact your file manager at Pro-Pay for more information.

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