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Reduction in time credit benefits: key changes

31 January 2023 Amandine Boseret Employers

It was announced last October and is now becoming a reality: time credit with motive will remain possible, but the right to additional benefits from the NEO will be reduced from February 2023. Acerta summarises the changes and answers key questions following this development.


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As announced in the October 2022 budget agreement, the government must make cuts, and this will be accompanied by a reduction in time credit benefits. The royal decree amending these benefits was published on 31 January and takes effect on 1 February 2023 (instead of 1 January as initially announced).

A reduction in benefits, not time credit entitlement

The employee's right to reduce their working hours or take time off to take time credit remains unchanged.

In principle, when an employee takes time credit, their loss of income is partially compensated by an allowance from the NEO. Henceforth, in certain situations, the employee will still be able to use their time credit, but will no longer receive benefits from the NEO to compensate for the loss of income for this purpose. The conditions for receiving benefits from the NEO have become stricter. 

Time credit benefit: what exactly will change?

From 1  February 2023, the following stricter conditions will apply to entitlement to NEO benefits under time credit:

Time credit to care for a child under 8:
  • For full-time time credit, the age of the child will be limited to 5 years (i.e. a complete absence from work, no reduction in working time). 

It will still be possible to take full-time time credit for the child's5th birthday until the child is 8 years old but from now on, you will no longer receive benefits from the NEO for this. For a reduction in working hours, benefits from the NEO are always paid between the child's 5th and 8th birthdays. 

  • Throughout their career, an employee can take only 48 months of time credit to care for a child and still receive NEO benefits. They can take an additional 3 months of time credit (for a total of 51 months), but will not receive benefits from the NEO for this. 
  • From 1 June 2023, a minimum of 36 months of service with the employer will also be required. 
Time credit with motive (all motives):
  • In the case of a full suspension of working time, the employee must have a breach of employment with the employer for: 
  • 12 months of full-time work prior to the time credit; 
  • 24 months of part-time work prior to the time credit. 
  • For a half-time reduction in working hours, 12 months of full-time service with the employer is required before employee time credit can be granted.


The supplementary allowance for employees aged 50 and over in case of thematic leave, or aged 50 or over with 5 years of seniority with the employer for time credit, will be abolished. So these workers will still receive benefits from the NEO but only the basic benefit, with no supplement. 

In contrast, this new legislation will not affect end-of-career time credit

Different conditions for the entitlement to time credit and NEO benefits

As mentioned earlier, the conditions for accessing the right to absence or reduced working hours through time credit and the right to benefits from the NEO to compensate for a loss in wages, are two separate schemes.


Here is a summary table to make things a little clearer: 

  Right to absence   Entitlement to benefits  
Time credit to care for a child 
  • Max. 51 months  (all forms)  
  • Child younger than 8 years  
  • Condition of seniority at the employer: 2 years  
  • Max. 48 months (all forms)  
  • Child under 8 if reduced to half-time or 1/5th   

    Child under 5 years of age if fully interrupted  
  • Condition of seniority at the employer: 3 years   

    (From June 2023)  
Time credit with motive     

Condition of employment breach 

  • For a time credit with a 1/5th reduction: for full-time employees only  
  • For half-time time credit: only for employees with a break in employment of at least 3/4 of the time
  • For time credit in the form of full suspension: open to all employees 


Condition of employment breach

  • For time credit with full suspension: 
    • 12 months of full-time work prior to time credit 
    • 24 months of part-time work prior to time credit 
  • For a time credit with half-time suspension: 
    • 12 months full time 


What about end-of-career time credit?

End-of-career time credit remains unchanged. 

From when does the benefit reduction apply?

As a general rule, it applies to all applications for time credit submitted to the employer from 1  February 2023. For applications submitted to the employer before that date, the "old" rules or entitlements still apply.

However, there are two exceptions:

- The condition of 36 months of service with an employer to be entitled to NEO benefits to care for a child under 8 years old will only apply to applications for time credit submitted to the employer from 1 June 2023.

- The reduction to 48 months of the right to time credit to care for a child applies to all time credits, even those that started before February 2023, provided that on February 1, 2023, the employee has less than 30 months of time credit to care for his/her child. In order to prevent the employee from being without income from one day to the next, they have the right to terminate the time credit early. They do not need the employer’s permission to do so.

The changes to the regulations governing the award of benefits by the NEO in the context of a time credit will come into force on 1 February 2023.

Our experts are ready to inform, advise and support you

Do you have a question about a time credit application submitted by an employee? Contact the experts at Acerta.

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Written by Amandine Boseret

Juridisch adviseur bij Acerta

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