Social security is a matter of give and take: you make a contribution, but you also get something back.
What you put in
All employees in Belgium give part of their gross pay to the government. Part of this is tax, another part is made up of social contributions. Social contributions pay for social security, including pensions, child benefits, and so on.
As a student with a job, you also pay social contributions, but these are much lower than those for normal employees. Employees are not the only ones to pay social contributions: employers also make a substantial contribution.
Social contributions are sometimes called 'NSSO contributions'. The NSSO (National Social Security Office) is the organisation that collects, administers and then transfers the contributions to other government institutions (for example pension services), which in turn make payments to citizens.
Collecting money and distributing the spoils to those who need it: with a bit of goodwill, you can see the NSSO as the Robin Hood of government institutions.
What it provides
Social contributions are not something that makes most people happy. No one likes to give up their pay. But what you don't hear much about is how much social contributions give back to you. Social security can save you a lot of trouble.
You save up money
Take your health. Because of social security (from social contributions!) it is affordable to:
- go to physio if you've overdone it playing sports or air guitar;
- take painkillers if you enjoyed the previous evening a little too much;
- take a pill for hay fever - so you don't have to answer every exam question with a sneezing fit.
And that's just the start. Social contributions also pay for pensions, child benefits, unemployment insurance, compensation for occupational illnesses, and so on. When you're a student, some of these benefits might seem a long way off, but you probably know someone who has needed them.
Working for social security
Suppose you think social security is interesting. Just suppose! You might want to come to work for social security once you have your diploma.
At the NSSO, we are regularly looking for new staff to help to run and improve the unique Belgian system of social contributions. We can make good use of alert lawyers, clever economists, dextrous IT specialists, sharp bookkeepers, and keen administrative employees. You can see if we have vacancies at the moment on the Selor website (in French).
The NSSO is a stable and progressive work environment with many opportunities to learn. You will also be paid enough to get by very well - even after social contributions are deducted.