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Out of work - career breaks

Out of work - career breaks
You may find yourself out of work for various reasons. Depending on the situation, you will have a number of options and duties. A number of bodies are there to help you and in some cases you may eligible for an allowance. We look at the most common situations here.


If you have just left school you will have to wait out a qualifying period before you are eligible for unemployment benefit. The length of this qualifying period depends on your age and begins when you register as a jobseeker at Actiris. It’s important to register as a jobseeker as soon as possible.

Losing your job

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you are entitled to unemployment benefit (provided you have worked a minimum number of months). However, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefit if you lose your job because of gross misconduct or if you hand in your notice.

Career breaks and leave

Sometimes you have to take a break for work or family reasons. When the time comes, you may be entitled to time credit or other forms of leave. You can ask to take a career break and in some circumstances you may be entitled to a replacement income.

The paid educational leave (FR/NL) scheme aims to promote the social advancement of private sector employees, who have the right to take paid leave to attend training courses during or outside working hours or to prepare for Central Examination Board or skills certification exams.

Back to work

A host of back-to-work programmes encourage businesses to take on different categories of jobseekers, including the (long-term) unemployed, people with a low level of education, the over 50s and the disabled.


After a life of hard work, you should be able to look forward to a well-deserved retirement. When you reach a certain age or rack up a certain number of working years you can retire on a state pension. In some cases, you can take early retirement.

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