First things first
Once you’ve decided to take a long holiday, the very first thing you need to do is of course let your boss know about it. If he doesn’t agree, everything stops there. The very first time I gave my boss a hint about my decision was on Apr 6th, 2011. He didn’t faint, that was a good sign 😉 It wasn’t until a year later that I kindly ‘reminded’ him about our little chat back then. Because I was the only accountant in the company, we needed to talk about which arrangements must be made for during my absence.We started looking for an extra accounting colleague and after gone through many, really MANY interviews, we found Gitte! The day she signed her contract with us, was the date I bought my ticket! Next thing I wanted to know was if I could apply for some kind of unemployment payment. Belgium is not the cheapest country when it comes to paying taxes (about 1/3rd of your salary goes to Mr Government) but it has a few good systems for the working class.There is 1 system called “loopbaanonderbreking” or “tijdskrediet” where it is allowed to take a sabbatical of max.1 year during your whole career life. After your sabbatical you just go back to your job and do whatever you did before you left! You can call it a temporary career stop. But the best part of “tijdskrediet” is that, if you meet a number of conditions, you still get a small amount from the Belgian National Employment Office (NEO or RVA)!In my case, because I’ve been working for more than 5 years in total ànd more than 5 years with the same employer, I get, during my 6 months travel, a monthly net salary of +/- €570 from our Belgian gouvernment. Thank you so much Belgium!