The summer holidays are approaching and student employment is a topical subject again.
We take this opportunity to repeat the rules for the employment of students.
In this first Infoflash dealing with this subject, we will go further into the specific formalities which have to be fulfilled when hiring a student.
Checking of the 475-hour quota
Since 1 January 2017, every student has a quota of 475 working hours per calendar year. During these 475 hours, no ordinary social security contributions are payable on the wage for work performed, only a solidarity levy is deducted. On 1 January of each year, the student receives a new full quota of 475 working hours.
This quota is kept up to date through a counter that is fed on the basis of the specific DIMONA declarations 'STU' that any employer who hires a student must submit (see below) and on the basis of the quarterly declarations of employment (DmfA) submitted to the National Social Security Office (NSSO). In the DIMONA declarations, the number of work days per quarter must be stated as mentioned in the student employment contract. Gradually, as the DIMONA declarations are submitted, the number of hours worked will be deducted from the 475-hour quota.
This 475-hour quota will be put into a counter which the student can consult via the online application "student@work" on the website https://www.mysocialsecurity.be/student.
Practically, the student can log in using his electronic identity card or a civil token. Using the application, the student can check the remaining number of hours of the 475-hour quota, view the periods worked as provided for in the student contract or contracts concluded with one or more employers and see the balance of the working hours.
The employer may also be informed of how many hours remain in the 475-hours quota as the student can use this application to retrieve a certificate for a potential employer stating how many hours remain in the 475-hour quota on a specific date. The certificate also contains a code (3 months valid) which enables the employer to log into the student's counter and see how many hours are left in it at the time of consultation.
We would strongly recommend that all employers ask the student to provide this certificate before entering into a contract and that, in order to be fully aware of the state of affairs upon hiring.
1. The hours worked as a student (under Dimona 'STU') in healthcare and education in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021 (from 1 January to 30 June 2021) will be neutralised. In other words, these hours are not deducted from the quota of 475 hours. A neutralisation of the hours worked should in principle also apply to the 3rd quarter of 2021 (from 1 July to 30 September 2021), regardless of the sector in which the young person is employed.
2. The employer who wants to declare someone to the NSSO with application of the solidarity contribution must ensure that this person is actually a student. He can therefore use all means, but a simple a declaration of honour of the student or the presentation of (a copy of) a student card will not be accepted by the NSSO as sufficient proof. However, a (copy of a) proof/certificate of enrolment at a (high-)school or university for the current school or academic year will suffice. The employer does not have to provide these data spontaneously to the NSSO, but in case of discussion he must be able to prove as an employer that he is indeed a student.
More information? Solidarity contribution: student statute must be proven!
Concluding an employment contract for students
When employing a student, a student employment contract must be drawn up. This contract shall be laid down in writing for each student individually. This has to be done at the latest when the student commences employment.
The employment contract for students is a fixed-term contract. The contract can be concluded for a maximum duration of 12 months.
The employment contract for students must contain certain obligatory statements and must be drawn up in duplicate (1 copy for the student, 1 copy for the employer).
- Since 1 January 2014, the first 3 working days are automatically considered to be a probationary period.
- The student employment contract is a social document. Therefore, it must be retained for 5 years at the place where the student works as from the day following the termination of the performance of the contract.
Presentation of the employment regulations
A copy of the employment regulations that apply within the company must be presented to the student, just like to any other regular worker. On the presentation of the employment regulations, the employer must have the student sign an acknowledgement of receipt.
Submitting a DIMONA declaration
After the student contract has been concluded and no later than at the commencement of the student's employment, the employer must submit an immediate declaration of employment (DIMONA). In addition to the normal information (in service date, information on the registration number of the employer with the NSSO, the worker's identification number with the social security (NISS), the social identity card number (SIS) and the number of the joint committee under which the worker comes), the DIMONA declaration must include the following data:
- the indication that it regards a student;
- the address of the place of the performance of the contract if that address differs from the one on which the employer is registered with the NSSO;
- the end date of the performance of the contract. Consequently, the employer must not make a declaration of the end of employment when the employment has ended;
- the number of employment days per quarter as foreseen in the student contract.
Concluding an insurance policy against accidents at work
All working students and their employers are subject to the legislation on work accidents, even students performing activities that do not have to be declared with the NSSO.
An employer who employs students will have to conclude an insurance against 'accidents at work' for the duration of the employment contract.
Some students must undergo a medical assessment with the prevention advisor-company doctor before they are employed. It regards students who:
- have not yet reached the age of 18 years at the moment their employment starts;
- perform night work;
- or perform activities presenting a specific health risk.