Diploma in the pocket? Congratulations! Let the adult life begin.
You already know you have to do some administration, but what exactly? That is what you will find here. Should you inscribe at VDAB or not? Health insurance funds, what about them? Is there more to know?
Graduated and haven’t found a job opportunity yet? Register as job seeker at an employment service. In Belgium we have VDAB, Le Forem, ACTIRIS and ADG, per region there is one service. So register at the one in your region. The employment services will guide you through your job search by offering a website filled with vacancies and by offering other tools like extra trainings. Once you are registered, it is expected that you will look actively for a job.
Why is it that important to register? After you register there is a waiting period of one year before you receive your interim allowance or unemployment benefit. This means: if you haven’t found a job within a year, you can receive this allowance. To get this benefit, you have to be younger than 25 years old. The amount of the interim allowance is based on your age and your domestic situation. The procedure is as following: after your waiting period, you will receive letter with a certificate that proves you were registered as job seeker. This you can send to the National Office of employment and they will request your allowance. If your application is approved, you will receive your benefit through your payment institution.
There are four of them.
- General Federation of Belgian Labour (ABVV/FGTB)
- General Federation of Belgian Liberals (ACLVB/CGSLB)
- General Christian trade union (ACV/CSC)
- Public Institution for social security (HVW/CAPAC)
Not registered at a trade union, then your payment institution will be the public institution for social security. You are syndicated? Then, your trade union will take care of your allowance.
You start working now you have graduated? In some cases you still need to register at the employment service. Below you can find these situations.
- You have signed a contract with an employer, but you don’t start working immediately.
- You’re working part-time? Register as part-time job seeker.
Working full-time starting the day after graduation? In that case you won’t need to contact the employment service. Unless you are looking for another job opportunity. For more information go to VDAB.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Growing up brings a lot of costs with it. Heath insurance will help you by making some costs bearable. They will be there for you, when the rain start to fall. If you get sick or get into an accident, your health insurance fund will provide medical assistance and might give you a benefit if you can no longer work. When you are expecting a baby, this fund gives you your maternity leave.
When should you apply for a health insurance fund?
After celebrating your 25th birthday or your new job or when your waiting period at the employment service is over, it is time to apply at a health insurance fund or at the agency for health and disability insurance. There is a health insurance fund for everybody. Belgium has 5 kinds of health insurance funds, CM for instance.
That is not all! These 5 funds are divided in over 60, mostly regional organized, funds. So there is one near you! There are multiple sites where you can compare these funds, especially to help you in your search.
For better and for worse
Celebrating your new job? Check if there is a hospitalization insurance included in your contract. Otherwise, it might be in your advantage to look for an insurance like this. In Belgium, it is not obligated have this insurance, but you cannot control the future of course. Just like health insurance funds, you have a lot of options to choose from. You even can request a hospitalization insurance at your health insurance funds. It is best to do some research for the different options to find the perfect match. The same counts for dental insurance.
What about my vacation?
That first year on the job, pfff, exhausting right? You have not accumulated any leave days, but do you have the right to some vacation? Of course! If your employer is the government, you are immediately entitled to an amount of days of vacation, if not, maybe you are entitled to youth vacation. Younger than 25? Then yes, you are entitled to four paid out weeks of vacation. After the first week of vacation that you took, you have to send the “C103 – youth vacation employee” form to your payment service (trade union or the Public Institution for social security)
Graduated and now looking for a job? You are not a child anymore. What about child benefit? It is coming to an end for your parents.