Covid-19: unrestricted employment of students in the healthcare sector in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2022

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Date:

Until 31 December 2022 the healthcare sector can make unlimited use of low-cost student labour. The rule change was finally approved by the Chamber.   

Students with solidarity contributions: ordinary rule

Students are exempt from ordinary social security contributions for a maximum of 475 hours per calendar year (the "quota").

For those 475 hours, a specific solidarity contribution of 8.13% is due: 5.42% is borne by the employer and 2.71% is borne by the student.

Neutralization in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2022 limited to the healthcare sector

In the 2nd quarter of 2022, student work hours were excluded from the quota of 475 hours for 2022 in the healthcare and education sectors.  See our Infoflash of 16 May 2022.

The measure will be extended for another two quarters, but only for the healthcare sector. 

In the healthcare sector the hours of student work performed in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2022 are further neutralized, i.e. EXCLUDED from the 2022 quota (475 hours).

Definition of healthcare sector

The healthcare sector is spread over different types of institutions.  In the private sector, the healthcare sector is identified on the basis of the joint committee; in the public sector on the basis of the NACE code. Vaccination centres and contact tracing centres are added to the scope.

Private sector

JC 318: home help and elderly caregiver services

JC 319: educational and housing establishments and services

JC 330: healthcare facilities and services

JC 331: Flemish welfare and healthcare sector

JC 332: French- and German-speaking social assistance and healthcare sector

JC 322: temporary agency sector and accredited undertakings providing community-based work or services, in so far as the temporary agency worker is employed by a user belonging to one of the joint committees mentioned above).

Public sector

NACE codes 86101, 86102, 86103, 86104, 86109, 86210, 86901, 86903, 86904, 86905, 86906, 86909, 87101, 87109, 87201, 87202, 87203, 87204, 87205, 87209, 87301, 87302, 87303, 87304, 87309, 87901, 87902, 87909, 88101, 88102, 88103, 88104, 88109, 88911, 88912, 88919, 88991, 88992, 88993, 88994, 88996, 88999  

Private and public sector

Are also considered as the healthcare sector for this measure:

  • Private and public institutions and centres in charge of contact tracing in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19;
  • Private and public institutions or services in charge of the operation of vaccination centres in the context of combating the coronavirus, for all activities related to the operation of a vaccination centre.

Dimona

The quota is followed-up via the Dimona declaration, which is specific to students.

For the healthcare sector, the Dimona declaration "STU" will be linked to a specific follow-up by the NSSO in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2022, similar to the application for the previous neutralized quarters:

  • The NSSO manages a list (a file) with the individual employers belonging to the healthcare sector, and links this list to the Dimona database.
  • Employers of the healthcare sector make an ordinary Dimona "STU" with a statement of the hours to be worked.
  • When registering a Dimona STU, the Dimona database checks whether the submitter is an employer on the “healthcare” list
  • If YES, the hours are not deducted from the quota of 475 hours
  • In the on-line counter containing the available quota, the hours in the healthcare sector are neutralized
  • In the dmfa, the checks for these employers/students are carried out taking into account the fact that the quota is not reduced by the hours declared

In practice

The extension of the regulations for the 2nd and 3rd quarter was not passed in the Chamber until 27 October. At that time the NSSO updated the “Dimona” tool on the website. Until the end of October, the hours of all Dimona STU were deducted from the quota, so a rectification has to be done for certain Dimona declarations in the healthcare sector. As a general rule, Dimona declarations "STU" already submitted since 1 July 2022 do not need to be made again if they were registered without error message of exceeding quota 2022. Dimona declarations with this error message are selected & disclosed by the NSSO through the payroll office - they must be submitted again. 

 

Source: Draft law containing measures to address staff shortages in the healthcare sector, Chamber doc. 2888, adopted 27 October

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