Social security is an especially important matter for self-employed expats. Many consultants and advisers among the expat community struggle with the complexities of mixing international retirement schemes with Belgian benefits. Depending on which country you are coming from, social security might be something new to you. Here we provide pointers as to what you need to understand.
Social security coverage is fairly comprehensive in Belgium. Payments are deducted at source from salaries and contributions are paid by employers into the social security fund for their employees. This money is used to finance the different areas of social security (unemployment, pensions, child benefit, health insurance, accidents at work and work-related illnesses).
As an employee, your contribution will correspond to 13.07% of your gross salary, and will be paid directly by your employer to the Office National de Sécurité Sociale/Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid. The employer pays an additional 35% on top of the amount you are paying.
What do you need to do?
All workers must register with, and pay membership fees to, a mutual health insurance company.Some offer English language facilities, which might be helpful if your French and Dutch skills are not particularly strong. This company pays sickness benefits to employees after one month’s incapacity and also reimburses a percentage of ordinary healthcare and medication costs.
If you are too ill to work, you must provide your employer with a medical certificate justifying your illness or accident. If this occurs during the first month of a trial period or if your illness lasts for more than a month, the health insurance company to which you are affiliated will pay your sickness benefits. If you are injured at work or on your way to or from work, a special insurance that your employer is legally obliged to pay covers medical expenses and loss of salary.
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