We zoom in on a few topics in the field of Employee Benefits.


Payments for time spent as a student

The proposed bill covering the handling of time spent studying has been available since 27 March 2017 on the Lower House of Parliament’s website. The bill was supposed to be discussed in the Lower House on 18 May, with the intention of turning this bill into a definitive legal text as soon as possible. The Minister of Pensions was intending to sign this into law with effect from 1 June 2017.

In the meantime, the French Community Commission has registered an objection, which means that the debate on the bill about buying extra years of insurance to cover study time has been postponed for at least 120 days.

Therefore, at present we need to wait for the outcome of further negotiations and for the final text. We are tracking developments in this area and will inform you further once there is any news to share.

Changes to overseas social security

A Royal Decree has amended the costs and tables for overseas social security from 1 April 2017.

The system of overseas social security is often applied to Belgian employees who go to work in non-EU countries where Belgium has not concluded a social security agreement. These employees are not able to remain within the classic Belgian social security system and this overseas social security often provides a useful alternative, allowing retention of certain types of cover (e.g. building up pension rights, death cover, medical care, avoiding qualifying periods, etc.)

The system of overseas social security will be continued, but the following changes are planned:

  • From now on, unisex mortality tables will be used.
  • In order to ensure financial balance in social security, the interest rate for building up pension rights has been reduced from 3.75% to 2%.
  • Both the monthly minimum and maximum contributions under the general rules are being increased. Until 31 March 2017, the monthly minimum contribution was EUR 249.50; from 1 April, it has been raised to EUR 312.50. The monthly maximum contribution is going up from EUR 998.55 to EUR 1,897.25.
  • For employers who pay the current minimum amount, the contribution of EUR 249.50 will automatically be increased to EUR 312.50. Employers who currently pay a higher amount than the minimum will continue to pay their current amount until they explicitly ask the social security authorities to increase it. Please note, if you keep your contributions at the current level, it is important to bear in mind that the level of the pensions for the new payments from 1 April 2017 will fall significantly, mainly thanks to the reduction of the interest rate from 3.75% to 2%.

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