According to a review by Inasti (the Belgian social security institute for independent entrepreneurs) that analysed SNI data, in 2014, 16.6% of all independent contractors (self-employed as their main source of income), that is 114,878 people, earned less than 10,000 euros, corresponding to 833 euros a month. This means tht the revenue of one independent contractor in six is below the European poverty threshold of 1,074 euros per month for a person living alone. According to the SNI, the idea that the self-employed are making a mint is a myth. “The difference in revenue between the highest and the lowest earners is by the largest by far within the self-employed”. 80% of earnings by the self-employed are shared out among only 40% of them.
Given this situation, the SNI is calling for “substantial adjustments” to be made to the welfare status of the self-employed, and in particular, with regards to the 12 months of benefits paid out if an independent contractor declares bankruptcy.
The SNI believes “These benefits should be paid out automatically if an independent contractor meets the required criteria.” It is also calling for “a welfare reform to change the current benefit into a transitional allowance that would automatically be paid out not only in bankruptcy cases but also in cases of involuntary cessation of activity or financial hardship, with the focus on keeping the business running.”
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)