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    Self-employed – 2nd quarter “very encouraging”

    According to a statement issued by UCM (Union of middle classes) on Wednesday, the average social security contribution by the self-employed in Q2 neither increased nor decreased between 2014 and 2015. All other indicators showed a positive trend. The number of requests for extended payment terms was down by 7.4% over the period. If inflation is taken into account, the levelling-off of the average contribution made by independent contractors is indicative of a drop in their purchasing power.

    The levelling-off of the average contribution made by independent contractors is indicative of a drop in their purchasing power, points out UCM. However, the number of contribution waivers in Q2 was down 12% this year compared to 2014 (1070 in Q2 2015, 1200 in Q2 2014). UCM sees this as encouraging, despite 2014 seeing a tightening of conditions enabling deadlines to be extended which “could artificially improve the figures.”

    In addition, new registrations of independent contractors have increased by 2.8% since the beginning of the year, compared to the first half of 2014. Bankruptcies among the self-employed dropped sharply (-13.2%) in Q2 2015, compared to the same period in 2014 (449 in Q2 2015, 517 in Q2 2014). UCM points out that the 2015 figure remains rather high when compared to 2012.

    The contributions independent workers make is based on their income from three years ago, and since 2015 they can put in a request with the CAS (Caisse d’Assurances Sociales – social insurance fund) for their contributions be increased or decreased. 1,450 independent contractors have increased their contributions for Q2 2015 while 1,180 wanted to contribute less, “a good indicator the economy is picking up.”

    This analysis is based on the number of independent contractors registered with the UCM Social Insurance Fund which collects contributions from 80,000 self-employed workers.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)