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Student work: +36% during the first six months of the year 2012-10-12

In the first half of 2012 students have sizeably worked more than during the same period of last year. This can be inferred from the figures offered by the National Social Security Office (NSSO). A student earns on average 68.30 euros a day. The system of student work seems to be most popular in the age bracket between 18 and 21 years of age.

A higher number of days but also a higher wage bill

As regards the first six months of 2012, employers have declared in total 2.09 million of days of student work at a reduced social contribution rate, which is 36% more than during the same period of 2011. However this does not yet mean that the number of working hours has also risen proportionally, since employers declare student work in days and not in hours.
The increase in the wage bill even amounts to 40%, which implies that the average wage per day of student work has risen by 2.6% to 68.30 euros a day. This rise is principally inflation linked and indicates that there is not really an increase in the average number of hours per day of student work.
This increase results from the new rules on student work and on the social security compulsory insurance.  Following the new legislation, students are allowed to work considerably more days outside the summer months without being subject to social security payments. Obviously students and employers largely use the new possibilities that are now provided for.


Graph - Days of student work declared to the social security


Profile of the students concerned

On the basis of the figures relating to the first six months of the year, it becomes possible to draw up a profile of the student work realized outside the summer months.
Female students constitute the largest group: this group contributes for 57% to the total number of days declared, whereas male students have only attained a rate of 43%.
As shown by the table below, the breakdown of the student work according to the principal economic branches has not changed substantially, compared to the year 2011:


Share of the student work by branch for the first semester of the year



Agriculture and horticulture 0,44% 0,39%
Food industry 2,71% 2,71%
Industry and construction 3,02% 2,45%
Trade 22,89% 21,10%
Other commercial provision of services 23,20% 25,30%
Employment through temping agencies 37,21% 37,39%
Non commercial provision of services 10,54% 10,66%
End total 100,00% 100,00%


Peak periods

Apart from the rules on student work, the administrative procedures have also been adapted. The declaration of the days of student work has been simplified to such an extent that both the student and the employer rapidly obtain a view on the number of days already used (through the online application Student@work).
On the basis of the new declaration mode, it becomes possible to count on a day-to-day basis the number of students that have been working. These figures are rapidly available and already convey a view on the student work during the summer months of 2012.


Graph - Daily number of students working (by gender)

A temporal curve for the period up to and including the month of August 2012 shows a familiar view. Outside the school holidays, one can notice distinct peaks during the weekends with days of 55,000 registered employed students in the top weekends.
During the school holidays and especially the summer holidays, the rate of student work sharply increases and there is a significant drop of weekend work. In the month of July more than 155,000 students working under a student contract could be counted during the peak days.
The counting of the student contracts confirms the predominance of female job students, which could already be deduced from the counting of the number of days of student work.

The youngest students are working more throughout the summer

The counting on a day-to-day basis permits to conclude that the student work mostly manifests itself in the age group between 18 and 21 years. The age groups older than 21 are clearly less represented in the statistics. Indeed at the age of 21 many students acquire a diploma of higher education and move over to the regular job market.


Graph - Daily number of students working (by age)

The age group younger than 18 is proportionally more represented during the summer holidays, whereas the somewhat older students are working comparatively more often outside the summer holidays. The employment as  student within the age group of 18 to 21 years drops in the month of August compared to July, which can be explained by the second exam period in higher education.

Where do these figures come from?

Comparison 2011-2012: DmfA

The comparison 2011-2012 is based upon the figures provided for by the quarterly declaration at the National Social Security Office (for local and provincial administrations) (the so-called DmfA), which registers every quarterly period the wages and the number of paid days of student work with the application of a solidarity contribution. For a student who was bound by a contract for the duration of 2 weeks and who only worked during the weekdays, 10 paid days will be mentioned.
You can find this information under the item Statistics – Publications on the website of the NSSO. The figures for the first quarter will be published shortly, whereas those for the second quarter are expected towards the end of this year.

Day-to-day counting for 2012: Dimona

The day-to-day counting of the number of students with a student contract is based upon Dimona, the declaration of the start and ending of the labour relationships. The counting is done once the day has come to an end.
There are two ways of declaring student work in Dimona:

  • Per period: all days of the period of the contract are being counted, including the days of the weekend, even though the student is not working on those days.
  • Per day: only the days on which the student is effectively working are being counted.

From 2012 onwards, the Dimona declaration of employment  per day is being used more than in the past, since employers and students have now the possibility to check online through the application Student@work for how many days a student can still work at reduced social contributions. Consequently the day-to-day counting for the year 2011 cannot really be compared to the results obtained for 2012.
The fact that a student is employed under the terms of a student contract does not necessarily mean that this employment is also organized according to the system of the solidarity contribution (though this is generally the case).

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