Small statutes

Occupational accident insurance for trainees carrying out work within the framework of their training ("Small statutes")

Before 2020, people who carried out work (traineeship) within the framework of their training were not always covered by an insurance against occupational accidents taken out by the employer. Trainees were protected in varying ways.

The inclusion of the term "small statutes" in the law on occupational accidents makes it possible to guarantee protection similar to that of the workers. Since 1 January 2020, small statutes have to be insured at the workplace and on the way to and from work in case of an occupational accident. The employer is obliged to register their trainee with the National Office of Social Security (NOSS).

The term "small statutes" refers to persons who carry out work within the framework of a training for paid work, whether the traineeship is paid or not. The traineeship has to be carried out within the framework of practical training at the workplace outside the educational institution (possibly in combination with theoretical courses). This only applies to trainings organised within a legal framework (with a training contract). Fedris keeps a non-exhaustive list of these trainings.

This list is updated following the advice of the Management Committee according to the evolutions of the training contracts, both at the federal level and at the level of the federated entities. These trainings have been grouped into 4 main categories:

  • Alternate learning and working schemes (traineeship agreements for work-linked training or for entrepreneurial pathways, through alternance training for job-seekers and under job familiarity agreements and traineeships)
  • Individual vocational training in companies, under vocational adaptation or integration agreements, through traineeships for first professional experience or through activation traineeships;
  • Vocational training centres; 
  • Unpaid traineeships within the framework of a (school or other) training programme.  This also includes trainees carrying out bridging projects or doing one of the following traineeships: a job exploring traineeship, an orientation traineeship, a discovery traineeship, a vocational rehabilitation traineeship for people with disabilities or an agricultural traineeship.

For more information (not available in English - French version below)

List of work-training contracts

Summary table of work-training contracts

Law of 21 December 2018 on various provisions on social matters (Belgian Official Journal of 17.01.2019)

Impact of the health crisis

In view of the health crisis and its severe impact on the organisation of courses and traineeships in education, it was agreed, in consultation with the sector, to grant educational institutions an exceptional exemption as regards the Dimona declaration for the 2020 school/academic year (2nd semester of the 2019-2020 school year) and the 2020-2021 school/academic year, with regard to unpaid trainees who carry out work within the framework of their school education. The Dimona declaration will again be applicable for these trainees starting from the school/academic year 2021-2022.

Who has to insure the trainee?

Since 1 January 2020, a royal decree determines who has to undertake the steps regarding the trainee. This can be either

  • the employer with whom the traineeship is carried out, or
  • the authority organising the traineeship (educational institution or training body). 

Legal basis: Royal decree of 29 July 2019 implementing section 1 of chapter 2 of the law of 21 December 2018 on various provisions on social matters concerning "small statutes" (Belgian Official Journal of 02.09.2019 - in French)

The person or body considered to be the employer has to:

For more information on the immediate declaration (DIMONA): https://www.socialsecurity.be/site_fr/employer/applics/dimona/general/about.htm (links in French)

How are training contracts updated?

Fedris examines whether a training falls within the scope of the small statutes and whether the specific coverage and compensation scheme (= F2) applies. Then, a proposal is submitted to the institution's Management Committee, which takes a decision. On the basis of this decision, Fedris will draft a royal decree amending the royal decree of 29 July 2019 implementing section 1 of chapter 2 of the law of 21 December 2018 on various provisions on social matters concerning "small statuses". This determines who is to be considered as the employer and to which trainings the specific coverage and compensation scheme (= F2) applies.

As long as the royal decree has not come into force, the general coverage and compensation scheme (= F1) applies to new training contracts and the companies where the traineeship takes place take out occupational accident insurance and are responsible for the Dimona declaration. 

By decision of 17 December 2019 and 16 November 2020, the Management Committee added several training contracts to the list and made a series of changes to existing training contracts. These are marked in red in the list of training contracts and in training contracts summary table. The draft royal decree amending the royal decree of 29 July 2019 was approved by the Council of Ministers on 21 May 2021. These changes will come into force once the royal decree amending the royal decree of 29 July 2019 is published in the Belgian Official Journal. This is not yet the case. The actual date of entry into force will be announced on Fedris’s website.

Cross-border traineeships of unpaid trainees 

In the case of a cross-border traineeship, different rules apply depending on where the traineeship takes place.

A distinction is made between 

  • a traineeship within the EEA
  • a traineeship in a country with which Belgium has a social security agreement
  • a traineeship in a third country. 

Some practical diagrams can help to determine which legislation (of which Member State) is applicable to the unpaid traineeship. These sheets are intended to provide educational institutions, companies where the traineeship takes place, insurance companies and possibly unpaid trainees with a working tool. The practical diagrams always contain an explanation of the applicable rules and an illustration with concrete examples.

Outline internship - Within the EEA

Outline internship - Social security agreement

Outline internship - outside the EEA and without social security agreement

Any more questions?

If you have any other questions, please send an email to: petits-kleine_statutatfedris.be.