Time credit with or without a justified reason: everything you need to know
Difference between time credit and career break
Whether you work in the public or private sector, you have the option of taking a temporary career break or reducing your working hours. In the private sector we speak of time credit and, for civil servants, a career break or care credit.
A change in your income can affect your growth package. Calculate here to what you are entitled in the event of a change in your situation.
Time credit with a justified reason
Time Credit: who is entitled to it?
Do you work for a company with more than 10 employees? Then you are in luck. In this case, time credit is an absolute right and your employer may not refuse it. Your employer may postpone your time credit to a later date, e.g. because it is beneficial in terms of the organisation of the work.
If you work for a company with 10 employees or fewer, then you require your employer's approval.
From 1 June 2023, you must have at least 36 months of seniority with the same employer to be allowed to take full-time time credit for caring for a child. Previously, this was 24 months.
If you want to take half-time time credit or 1/5 time credit, you must not only have sufficient seniority. You must also have worked full-time in the year preceding your application.
Below you can see all the possible reasons for taking time credit.
Are you in one of these situations?
Then you are eligible to take time credit with a justified reason if:
- You wish to take care of your own child(ren) who are younger than 8 years old
- You wish to pursue a recognised training programme. Then it must be recognized by the 3 communities in Belgium. Moreover, the course must also include sufficient course hours (or credits).
- You need to provide assistance to or care for your own seriously ill child who is a minor or a seriously ill child who is a minor and part of the family.
- You wish to provide palliative care
- You wish to take care of a seriously ill family member or relative
- You wish to take care of your own disabled child who is younger than 21 years of age
For how long is time credit with a justified reason possible?
For caring for a child, you can take up to 48 months of time credit. Before 1 February 2023, this was 51 months. For a recognised training programme, you are entitled to up to 36 months of time credit. For other forms of time credit, you can take 51 months.
Care credit: time credit in the public area.
Do you work in the public sector? Then it is also possible to take a break in your career. For the public sector, this is called care credit or career break instead of time credit. The conditions differ according to your status (contractual/statutory/...) and also depend on where you work. In education or, for example, in a federal, regional or local administration. The amount you receive also depends or your status and workplac.
Care credit may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. You may also take care credit on a 1/5 or even a 1/10 basis, provided that you work full-time. For the periods that you do not work, you will receive a career-interruption benefit from the National Employment Office.
Check out the amounts here.
Parental leave is another option.
All parents are entitled to a full-time or part-time career break for parental leave. You must take this leave prior to your child's 12th birthday (or 21st birthday for children with a disability) at the latest.
Read more about parental leave here
Absence for Impaired Performance (AVP)
There is also such a thing as 'Absence for impaired performance'. The latter is another name for unpaid leave. This can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis for a period of up to 60 months, also after your child's 12th birthday. To benefit from this entitlement, you require the approval of the educational institution where you work.
Time credit: how much benefit will you receive?
The benefit you receive if you take time credit depends, among other things, on:
- the work regime (full-time or part-time time credit)
- your age
- your family circumstances
- The sector in which you work
You can see the amounts for your specific situation on the RVA-ONEM-LFA website.
Time credit without a justified reason is also an option
Keen to renovate your home, travel the world, work on a personal project or simply get a little more out of life, yet do not know how to go about it? Perhaps you have already heard about time credit without a justified reason? This enables you to take a career break for a specific period, following approval from your employer. It is a form of unpaid leave for which you do not need to wait until reaching 50 years of age to enjoy. As a young parent, it is a fantastic opportunity for spending more quality time with your family. You may even go and live abroad for a few months, which is an extremely valuable experience for children. It immerses them in a different culture, enables them to learn a new language and makes a lasting impression ... Discuss the options with your partner.
For how long may you take time credit without a justified reason?
For as long as you wish, provided that your employer gives its approval. Employers are not legally obliged to approve applications for time credit without a justified reason. So it is important to present a strong case!
Has your employer given its approval? Then make a detailed written agreement. Do not enter only the period in which you will be absent, but also whether you may continue to use your company car and laptop from work, for example. Your employment contract will be suspended for the duration of your time credit without a justified reason and will resume on your return to work.
How to apply for time credit?
If you wish to take time credit, you must inform your employer in writing in advance. Your application must be made at least three months in advance if you work in a company with more than twenty employees and at least six months in advance if you work in a company with fewer than twenty employees. You may always agree a shorter application period with your employer.
In your application, you must clarify which form you prefer (full-time or part-time). In the case of time credit with a justified reason, you must also specify the reason concerned, as well as provide proof of its justification. Finally, you must indicate the desired commencement date and the desired duration of your time credit.
If you wish to take time credit with a justified reason, you must enclose the RVA-ONEM-LFA 'time credit certificate' with your application. This lists any time credit periods that you may have already taken. Request this certificate here.
Your employer then has until the end of the month following your request to reply to you. If your employer would like to postpone the time credit, it must inform you within the month following your written notification.
Once your employer has given you permission to take time credit, you must inform the RVA-ONEM-LFA accordingly. This is done via the RVA-ONEM-LFA ‘C61 time credit form'. You may also apply for your benefit with this form. Fill in the form online here.