Student work up to 600 hours per year

Students can participate in the labor market. If employer and student comply with certain conditions, more favorable social security and tax rules apply to students than to other employees. At the end of October, the government decided to further expand this favorable regime.


A student employment contract is primarily an ordinary employment contract. The agreement only becomes a real student agreement if a series of conditions are met.

The first condition is that the agreement is concluded between an employer and a student.
But who qualifies as a student? According to the government, a student is: any person who has the main status of student and who follows secondary, higher or university education in an educational institution, or who prepares an exam for the central examination board.

It therefore concerns persons who in the first instance study and who also perform work, subordinated to their studies. An unemployed person who continues to study is not a student. This also applies to 'students' who are enrolled in an evening school or who follow education with a limited curriculum.

There is no maximum age condition, but a minimum age does apply: a student contract can only be concluded with young people as from the age of 15 or more who are no longer subject to full-time compulsory education. After all, work under the age of 15 is child labour.

Some combinations of working and studying are not allowed:

the employer and the student may not have been continuously linked by an employment contract for more than 12 months; and

the student may not simultaneously perform unpaid work in the context of an internship that is part of the study program.

Foreign students who come from a country of the European Economic Area or from Switzerland can also conclude a student agreement, even if they do not follow education in Belgium or if they do not reside here. Special rules apply to other foreign students.


The employer and the student conclude a regular employment contract. There are 4 types of contracts, namely that of blue-collar worker, white-collar worker, sales representative or domestic servant. The same applies to students.

What is special is that the student contract must be drawn up in two copies for a definite period and in writing. The student may conclude and terminate his contract himself and (receive his wages) if he is 18 years or older.

A copy of the agreement must be sent to the Social Legislation Supervision department and a declaration of employment (DIMONA declaration) must also be filed.

A student contract can be concluded both during the school holidays and during the school year.

Maximum duration

The Labor Act does not provide for a maximum duration for concluding such an agreement (although a student may not be employed for more than 12 months without interruption for the same employer, because then it becomes a normal employment contract).

Taxation and social security

If we are in a situation where student work is permitted, then we soon come to the question of how that works from a tax point of view and in terms of social security.

Special rules apply for a certain number of hours – the so-called quota.
If the total number of hours the student works remains within that quota, then no social security is due, neither by the student-employee nor by the employer. However, a solidarity contribution of 5.42% is due for the employer (+0.01% for the Asbestos Fund) and
2.71% for the student (which is deducted from the gross salary).

In terms of taxation, there are 3 elements that we must also take into account:

In theory personal income tax is due on the wages, but if the student does not exceed the quota, he will probably not earn more than the tax-free minimum and therefore no tax is due in practice.

However, withholding tax is due on the wages. But if it concerns a student who remains within the quota, the employer can apply an exemption.

Finally, and what is sometimes forgotten, the student remains a dependent. The income he earns from his student work – insofar as the work is limited to the contingent – is not taken into account in assessing whether or not the dependent has his own means of subsistence.


In order to benefit from the above favorable regime, it must therefore be a student contract and there are 2 additional conditions: 

The student may not work at times when he is required to be present at the educational institution;

The student may not work more than 475 hours on an annual basis.

And it is precisely the latter that was decided on 28 October 2022 by the Council of Ministers that it could be done a bit more broadly. The government decided to increase the quota from 475 hours to 600 hours for 2023 and 2024. It also decided that this increase will be evaluated in 2024 to see whether that increased quota can also apply after 2024.