If you work in Germany as an employee from Belgium, you pay unemployment insurance in Germany. However, you do not always receive a benefit from Germany. The country from which you receive unemployment benefit depends on whether you are full-time or part-time unemployed.
When am I fully unemployed?
You are fully unemployed when you are no longer working in Germany. This means that your ties to Germany have been severed. You are then entitled to a payment from your country of residence, i.e. an unemployment benefit from Belgium.
If you are a cross-border worker and become fully unemployed, you can register with the responsible employment office in Belgium, i.e. the VDAB/ONEM/ADG/ACTIRIS, within seven calendar days and claim your unemployment benefit from the responsible payment office. The competent payment offices are the unemployment assistance funds (CAPAC/HVW/HFA) or, for labour union members, the labour unions. The unemployment office (RVA/ONEM/LfA) carries out the following calculation based on your last German income.
To meet the requirements, Belgium adds the insured periods abroad and in Belgium. To do this, you need form PDU1, which you can obtain from the employment agency responsible for the place where your German employer is located. Your German employer is obliged to give you a certificate of employment when you are dismissed. This entire procedure can take several weeks.
It regularly happens that a German employer offers you a termination agreement with severance pay so that you agree to terminate the contract. You should note that if this shortens the period of notice, you may be subject to a temporary blocking period for receiving Belgian unemployment benefits. Similarly, if you are dismissed in Germany, it is important to note that the conditions for eligibility for unemployment benefit in Belgium will also be checked.
In the case that you did not return to Belgium every day or at least once a week, i.e. you were not a direct cross-border worker, a different rule applies. In this case, please contact the unemployment office RVA/ONEM/LfA.
If you have been fully unemployed in Belgium for one month, you have the option of looking for work in another EU country and continuing to receive your Belgian unemployment benefit there for three months. This period may be extended by a maximum of three months. To do this, you need the PDU2 form from the Belgian unemployment office ONEM/RVA/LfA.
You are considered part-time unemployed if you are still partially employed in Germany. This may or may not involve the same job. In this case, you are entitled to a payment from your country of employment, i.e. An unemployment benefit from Germany.
If you continue to work part-time in Germany or your employment contract is temporarily suspended due to unforeseen circumstances such as fire, frost or short-time work, you must apply for your payment in Germany at the Employment Agency. You may need a PDU1 form from Belgium to prove your previous employment history in Belgium.
Applying for PDU1
You can apply for PDU1 at the Employment Agency in the place where your employer is located. You can download the application form here and submit it to this employment agency. If you need a PDU1 from Belgium, you can apply for it via the RVA or the LFA.
In the event of insolvency of your employer in Germany, you are primarily entitled to payment of a benefit for a maximum of 3 months if your employer has not paid it. This so-called insolvency benefit is paid out by the Employment Agency.
You will then receive the wage payments to bridge the notice period (max. three months) from the insolvency administrator.
After this notice period, you are considered fully unemployed and can apply for unemployment benefit in Belgium.