Student: how to terminate a contract?

Author: Alexia Buyl (Legal Expert)
Read time: 4min
Publication date: 15/06/2023 - 08:51
Latest update: 15/06/2023 - 08:51

As the student employment contract is a fixed-term contract, it automatically ends on the end date indicated in the contract, with no notice required. However, it is possible to terminate the contract before the end of the term.

Several cases are possible.

Termination of the contract during the probation period

For student employment contracts starting as from 1 January 2014, the first 3 working days are automatically regarded as probation period.

Before the expiry of this period, each party can terminate the contract without notice nor compensation.

Successive trial periods are prohibited if the student is employed in the same position under successive student employment contracts.

Remark – No other formality shall be required to terminate the student employment contract during the probation period. Nevertheless, we advise you to confirm the termination of the employment relation in writing.

Termination of the contract after the probation period

If there is no trial period, or if the trial period has expired, either the employer or the student may terminate the contract by giving notice.

The duration of the period of notice depends on whether the duration of employment is maximum one month or is greater than 1 month. The duration of one month is calculated from day to day.

The length of the notice period is determined as follows:

  • if the duration of employment is maximum one month, the period of notice shall be 3 days in the event of dismissal and one day in the event of resignation;
  • if the duration of employment is greater than one month, the employer must observe a 7-days notice period and the worker a 3-days notice period.

Remark – To give notice,  the rules which apply to normal employment contracts must be observed. The period of notice shall begin on the Monday following the week in which the notice has been given.

Termination of the agreement after 7 continuous calendar days of incapacity for work

If the student is ill longer than 7 continuous calendar days, the employer can terminate the agreement after the 7th day of illness. In that case, he shall have to pay a compensation equal to the wage of the period of notice or to the remainder of the term that has to be served.

Example – A student is employed with a student employment contract from 31 July to 29 September 2023. On 19 August 2023 the student submits a medical certificate for his illness, valid from 19 to 31 August 2023, to the employer. The employer can terminate the contract with the payment of a compensation of 7 calendar days, but no earlier than 26 August 2023 (so only after 7 continuous calendar days of incapacity for work).

Remark – The employer may nevertheless terminate the contract before the expiry of the 7 uninterrupted calendar days of incapacity, subject to payment of compensation. He must then justify the termination of the employment relationship on grounds unrelated to the student's illness, otherwise he risks being accused of unfair dismissal!

Important remark

In the absence of a written contract, of certain obligatory mentions in the contract, or in the event of omission by the employer of the DIMONA declaration, the student may terminate the contract without compensation or notice at any time.

Furthermore, in the absence of a written contract, or where the contract's start and end dates, working hours or reference to the applicable timetable in the work rules are missing, the employer must comply with the rules applicable to employment contracts concluded for an indefinite period. This means that in the event of termination by the employer, he will have to give the normal notice period, unless he can prove that the lack of information on working hours or reference to the applicable work schedule in the work rules does not cause any harm to the student.

Source: articles 120 to 130ter of the Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978.

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