Self-employed workers vs. employees in Belgium: risks and tips

Ecrit par Mr. Emmanuel wauters, Crosslaw, - Mr. Sita Vanbinst, Crosslaw,

In Belgium, a professional collaboration between a company and individuals can be set up either through an employment contract or a contract for self-employed.

The main differences between both kinds of contracts can be resumed as follows:

  • Employees perform their duties under the employer’s authority, while self-employed workers perform their duties in the absence of any form of subordination towards their client.
  • Employers have to pay social security contributions on the employee’s salary (13,07% employee’s contributions and +- 35% employer’s contributions), while self-employed workers are solely responsible from the payment of the social security contributions to be calculated on their income. In addition, these social security contributions are often much lower than the social security contributions to be paid by employers for their employees.
  • Finally, employees benefit from the protection provided by the labour law rules (in particular with regard to minimum salaries, vacation pay, dismissals and termination indemnities). These rules do not apply to self-employed workers.

Needless to say that, based on these elements, for companies it may be more interesting to collaborate with self-employed workers rather than with employees. However, such choice is not without risks for these companies.

What are the risks?

7 practical tips to set up a self-employed consultancy contract

  1. the contract should be explicitly qualified as a contract for self-employed
  2. confirm that the self-employed worker will be free to organize his work and working time
  3. be careful with the possibility to control the self-employed worker (authority)
  4. include the following additional elements in the contract
  5. submit the contract to the social ruling commission
  6. specific measures when a former employee becomes self-employed
  7. the performance of the contract must be in line with its content

You want more information on this topic? Mr. Emmanuel WAUTERS and Sita VANBINST published a white paper. You can download it for free.