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Social Security

Belgium - Social Security


Belgium has a very extensive social security system, which provides cover for medical care, unemployment, pensions, maternity, accidents and workplace injuries, and holiday pay. All foreign nationals living in Belgium, with the exception of some on short contracts, are required by law to contribute to the scheme, and will receive the same coverage as Belgian nationals for the time of their residence in Belgium.

Under EU regulations the nationals of other EU countries who are working in Belgium on a short-term, temporary basis can continue to be covered by the social security scheme of their home country, if certain criteria are met. Similarly, Belgium has bi-lateral social security agreements with a number of other countries including the USA and Canada.

Employers generally deduct their employees' social security contributions direct from their salaries, while the self-employed have to make arrangements to pay their contributions direct to one of the insurance companies that operate as collection agencies for the national scheme. The national social security office (ONSS/RSZ) and the national institute for social insurance of the self-employed (RSVZ-INASTI) can provide information on the scheme and the procedures for making contributions and claiming benefits.

Non-Belgian nationals can claim unemployment benefit in Belgium if they have worked for at least 300 days in Belgium or another EU country in the previous 18 months and are registered as actively seeking work in Belgium.

Employees are entitled to take a minimum of two days holiday per month, although they will normally be expected to have worked for the employer for a year before they become eligible for this. Some employers provide a more generous leave allowance. Holiday pay is received direct from the employer, in the form of a 13 month salary paid at the end of each year, along with a vacation supplement of 85% of the gross monthly salary. However these amounts are subject to tax.


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