Healthcare and education: unlimited employment of students in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)

The Chamber has adopted a bill that allows healthcare and education sectors to make unlimited use of cheap student work during two quarters. In this way students, especially those from medical and teacher training colleges, can help to solve staff shortages in these sectors.    

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 at the expense of the employer and 2.71% at the expense of the student.

Exception for healthcare and education

In the context of the corona crisis, student work in healthcare and education sectors, performed in the period from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021, is NOT charged on the quota (475 hours) of 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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. The list below is laid down in the bill, but may be supplemented by the Minister of Work.

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 health care sector

Public sector

NACE codes 86101, 86102, 86103, 86104, 86109, 86210, 86901, 86903, 86904, 86905, 86906, 86909, 87101, 87109, 87901

Fiscal status

In order to remain fiscally dependent, the student may not earn more than a certain maximum annual amount. It is likely that the tax authorities will neutralise the extra student salary of both exceptional quarters for the maximum limits of 2020 and 2021 respectively, so that these students will remain fiscally dependent on their parents. We are waiting for an initiative from the tax authorities.

Child benefit

For students of 18 years or older, entitlement to child benefit is linked to a maximum number of hours of work, determined at regional level. It is likely that the (regional) regulations will be adjusted so that the expansion of student work does not affect child benefit - again, we are waiting for an initiative from the competent government.


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

For the given sectors and quarters , the Dimona "STU" will be linked to a specific follow-up by the NSSO, which will come into production on 13 November

  • The NSSO creates and manages a list (a file) with the individual employers belonging to the healthcare and education sectors, and links this list to the Dimona database
  • Employers from the healthcare and education sectors make an ordinary Dimona "STU" with a statement of the hours to be performed
  • When registering a Dimona STU, the Dimona database checks whether the submitter is an employer on the “healthcare/education” list
  • If YES, the hours will not be deducted from the quota of 475 hours
  • In the online counter with the available quota, the hours in healthcare & education are neutralised (but on 13 November this will not yet be visible in the student@work application, and the certificate with the available quota will not yet have been adjusted)
  • 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

For more details on the scope of application and working method, we refer to the instruction published by the NSSO on 6 November on the portal site:

Administrative instructions / 2020-3


Source: Bill on various social measures following the COVID-19 pandemic, Chamber doc. 1365/010 - Instruction of the NSSO



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