Growth Package for school-leavers
When are you entitled to the Growth Package as a school-leaver?
After you complete your studies, you may still have 12 months of entitlement to Child Benefit. The start of this period may vary. It starts:
- On the first day of the month after your 18th birthday, if you are no longer studying at that time.
- On the first day of the month after your 21st birthday, if you were receiving a care allowance due to a medical condition from the FPS Finance or from Kind&Gezin and are no longer studying at that time.
- On the first day of the month following the holiday period if you do not continue your studies after the end of the school or academic year. This day falls on 1 September if you have participated in non-higher education or on 1 October if you have participated in higher education.
- On the first day of the month after the end of your studies if you stop them during the school or academic year.
- On the first day of the month after you submitted your thesis or internship report if you completed a diploma year or thesis year of fewer than 27 credits.
- On the first day of the month after the end of your internship in the context of a public sector job or after an interruption of that internship.
Please note: When the young person reaches the age of 25, entitlement to Child Benefit ends at the end of the month, even if the period of 12 months as a school-leaver has not yet ended.
Do I need to register with the VDAB?
Registration with the VDAB is not required to be able to start as a school-leaver for 12 months. However, we do advise you to register!
You can contact the VDAB for help with your search for a job. After a one-year vocational development phase, you may be entitled to an activation allowance if you are under 25 years of age.
Working during the period as a school-leaver.
You can certainly work during the period as a school-leaver, but in some cases that may suspend your entitlement to Child Benefit:
- If you work more than 475 hours as a student (reduced social security contributions). In Belgium, this is the maximum number of hours you can work as a student in any case. Thereafter, each hour worked is counted towards the ordinary social security contributions.
- If you work more than 80 hours a month as an employee or worker (ordinary social security contributions)
- If you work as a self-employed person in your main profession or as a self-employed person where social security contributions apply as for a main profession.
- If you receive a social security benefit resulting from a scheme relating to sickness, invalidity, accidents at work, occupational diseases, unemployment or a career break.
Hamza worked 475 hours as a student during the year. All subsequent hours worked by Hamza are automatically subject to ordinary social security contributions. In November, Hamza works a further 79 hours as an interim employee. For November, he is entitled to Child Benefit.
Does your child receive a living wage or compensation for voluntary work? This does not negate their entitlement to Child Benefit.
If, during this period, your son or daughter is volunteering or doing an internship or an unrecognised training course abroad, they are only entitled to a Growth Package if you can provide a certificate from the volunteer organisation concerned and the National Employment Office (RVA) or VDAB. This certificate must show that the period abroad counts as a vocational development phase.
If you suspect that your son or daughter is no longer entitled to Child Benefit because he/she does not (any longer) meet the above conditions, please inform us of this.
What if the young person wants to study again?
If the young person starts studying again during the period of 12 months as a school-leaver, the school-leaver period will be stopped and the young person will again be entitled to Child Benefit on the basis of the studies. Afterwards, the remaining balance left over from the 12-month ‘backpack’ will simply continue.
Lisa stops studying on 15 March 2019. Her 12-month period as a school-leaver starts on 1 April 2019. She has an entitlement until 31 March 2020 as a school-leaver.
On 1 September 2019 she resumes her studies and from then on she is entitled to Child Benefit as a student. At that point in time, 5 out of the 12 months have already been used up (April to August). She will therefore still be entitled to 7 months of Child Benefit as a school-leaver at the end of the new studies.
Does your son or daughter have to join a health insurance fund?
After your 25th birthday, at the start of your new job or when your vocational development phase at the VDAB has come to an end, it is time to register with a health insurance fund (sickness fund).
A health insurance fund offers services and benefits to help you stay healthy or to support you if your health lets you down.
In Belgium, you can choose between 5 different health insurance funds, including, for example, the CM.
The young person is starting a job, are they entitled to leave?
In the first year of employment you have not yet been able to build up any holidays. Does this mean you’re not entitled to any holiday? Not at all! If you start working for the government, you get a number of holidays immediately. You don’t work for the government and you’re under 25? Then you can apply for 4 weeks of young persons’ holiday. In this case, after the first recorded week of your young persons’ holiday, submit the form “C103-young persons’ holiday employee” to your payment institution (the insurance fund or trade union).
Are you over the age of 25? Then you may be able to apply for European leave or supplementary holiday.