For staff members on long-term sick leave and no longer earning an income, the social security system provides a financial cushion to fall back on via the Belgian National Institute for Illness-Disability Insurance (INAMI/RIZIV). This safety net is, however, quite modest, designed to cover essential living expenses only. In the meantime, they’ll still have to keep up with their bills, such as their mortgage and car insurance payments, in spite of their lower earnings power. With income protection or occupational incapacity insurance, your staff members will be able to maintain their current standard of living.
The social security system only covers a portion of the salary
first month of occupational incapacity leave, staff members will still collect
100% of their salary, payable by the employer.
2nd and the 12th month, the employer generally stops paying their staff for sick leave. Instead of a paycheck, they’ll have to rely on state benefits, which are just
60% of their gross salary.
After one full year, the occupational incapacity will be reclassified as a
disability. Staff members will then be entitled to an allowance according to their marital/family status, which is for example just 40% of the gross salary if married or in a registered domestic partnership.
Salary cap and exclusion of other earnings and benefits
When calculating the disability benefit, the INAMI/RIZIV applies a maximum annual salary cap of EUR 45,858.79 or EUR 3,821.64 on a monthly basis (last update: March 2020). The higher the salary, the greater the loss of income.
Anything above this cap, but also other earnings and benefits such as year-end bonuses, performance bonuses, meal vouchers, etc., are excluded from the calculation.
Want to check the size of state benefits yourself? Try our handy simulation tool.