Government doubles down on financial measures for the self-employed
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
The House Social Affairs Committee approved on Wednesday in second reading a first series of new measures to support sectors forced to close as a result of health measures.
The approved bill extends the measure of deferring social security contributions from the 3rd and 4th quarters without incurring a fine. The majority has tabled amendments that reflect additional support measures decided by the government.
The amendments include doubling of the so-called bridging right (“droit passerelle”) for self-employed persons who had to interrupt their activities. The measure is an allowance granted by the government. During the first lockdown, over 300,000 self-employed people received such an allowance in March and April.
It also provides for a €167 million grant to the National Social Security Office (NSSO) to enable companies in the hospitality sector to pay end-of-year bonuses to their staff and granting an NSSO bonus.
The majority had expected the measures to be approved in a single committee meeting last week so that they could quickly come into force, but right-wing party N-VA had asked for a second reading, angering Social Affairs Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.
The delay deprived the NSSO of a legal basis for deferring the payment of social contributions, the deadline being 15 November.
With the new measures, affected businesses will receive an NSSO premium equal to the employer’s contribution for the third quarter, which boils down to an exemption, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
The bill will be discussed in a plenary session on Thursday.