Who is the competent body?

The National Employment Office (ONEM) is a public social security institution that manages the unemployment insurance system and certain employment measures.

When should you register?

Within eight calendar days of the first day for which unemployment benefit is claimed.

PLEASE NOTE: if the unemployed person meets the conditions for receiving benefit, they will be compensated from the date of their application. It is therefore a good idea to register as soon as possible after losing your job, even if you have not yet submitted all the necessary documents.

ATTENTION: in certain cases, claimants must register earlier:

  • If the employment contract is terminated at the employer’s initiative and the claimant is obliged to serve a period of notice, and if during this period the claimant is exempt from at least part of the work benefits.

In this case, the claimant must register as a jobseeker within two months of the first day on which he or she benefits from an exemption from benefits.

  • If the employment is terminated and, as a result, the claimant receives compensation that cannot be combined with benefits (e.g. compensation in lieu of notice, compensation for eviction, compensation under a non-competition clause, compensation paid on termination of employment by mutual agreement or compensation for redundancy).

In this case, they must register as a jobseeker within two months of the first day of the period covered by this allowance, which cannot be combined with unemployment benefit.

If the claimant does not comply with this obligation to register early, they risk being excluded from entitlement to unemployment benefit for four weeks at the time of their claim.

How do I register?

You must register with the relevant regional employment service in your place of domicile:

preferably via their website.

At the same time, you need to make an appointment with the payment body of your choice:

to submit a claim for unemployment benefit

What documents do I need to provide?

Jobseekers must submit the following documents:

The formalities for the employment authorities to receive form U1 must have been completed in advance (see Introduction).

What are the conditions for receiving compensation?

Unemployed employees must:

  • complete a certain number of days of paid work during a reference period that varies according to their age:
    Age  Number of days worked and reference period
    Less than 36 years
    • 312 days in the 21 months preceding the application
    • 468 days in the 33 months preceding the application
    • 624 days in the 42 months preceding the application
    From 36 to 49 years
    • 468 days in the 33 months preceding the application
    • 624 days in the 42 months preceding the application
    From 50 years
    • 624 days in the 42 months preceding the application

    Jobseekers who do not meet all the above conditions may nevertheless be eligible for unemployment benefit, subject to certain conditions. They must prove that they have sufficient work experience prior to the reference period.

  • being aged between 18 and 65 (pensionable age; 66 in 2025 and 67 in February 2030);
  • loss of work for a reason beyond the worker’s control.

Causes “beyond the worker’s control” do not include abandoning suitable employment without a legitimate reason, dismissal due to the worker’s wrongful attitude, refusal of employment, failure to report to the regional employment service without sufficient justification if the unemployed person has been requested to do so by that service, failure to report to an employer without sufficient justification if the unemployed person has been requested to do so by the regional employment service.

  • be suitable for work (inability to work of more than 66% does not give entitlement to benefit);
  • be actively seeking employment and cooperate in the support and training offered;
  • be willing to accept suitable employment or follow any training offered.

Am I entitled to unemployment benefit if I resign?

In principle, no. To be entitled to unemployment benefit, you have to be involuntarily unemployed.

By resigning or signing a termination by mutual agreement, the employee risks exclusion from unemployment benefit for between 4 and 52 weeks. This sanction may be replaced by a warning, or be accompanied by a suspended sentence.

If the employee has valid reasons for resigning, or special circumstances that justify it, it is advisable to consult the ONEM beforehand. The ONEM may take certain reasons into account. For example, the fact that the employer does not respect his obligations for the well-being of the employees, and that he does not correct this despite several requests from the workers.
In all cases, it is advisable to take the necessary steps to apply for unemployment benefit.

How long does compensation last?

L’indemnisation démarre une fois que le demandeur d’emploi se trouve privé de rémunération.

Compensation starts once the jobseeker is deprived of pay.

This includes pay on notice period or damages to which the worker is entitled if the employer terminates the contract.

In principle, the duration of unemployment benefit is unlimited. However, benefits are gradually reduced.

There are 3 periods of benefit:

  • 1st period = 1st year of unemployment. This is divided into 3 phases (3 months, 3 months and 6 months). At each change of phase, benefits are likely to decrease.
  • 2nd period = Its length depends on your professional career. It lasts a minimum of 4 months and a maximum of 3 years. It is divided into a maximum of 6 phases. With each change of phase, benefits are likely to decrease.
  • 3rd period = begins at the end of the 2nd period.

What is the amount of compensation?

The amount of the allowance depends on:

  • your last gross monthly salary;
  • the family situation from the 2nd year of benefit;
  • the length of time you have worked before becoming unemployed;
  • the length of time since becoming unemployed.
Benefit period (in months) Percentage of last salary received Applicable salary ceiling
1 to 3 65 % 3,299.11 € in November 2023
4 to 6 60 % 3,299.11 € in November 2023
7 to 12 60 % 3,074.83 € in November 2023

Source: ONEM

From the 13th month onwards, the amount of the allowance decreases in several phases of varying length, depending on the length of time the person has been working before becoming unemployed, until it reaches a flat-rate allowance.

The degressive nature of the amount of the allowance does not apply to people who meet one of the following conditions:

  • have a long working history (at least 25 years);
  • be aged 55 or over;
  • be at least one-third permanently unable to work.