Part-time work and self-employment as a supplementary profession

We have already discussed many aspects of the status of self-employed person as a supplementary profession. We have seen that it is not so difficult to become self-employed as a supplementary profession, provided that you follow certain rules and complete the required formalities. However, there are some restrictions. One may therefore wonder whether it is possible to be self-employed as a supplementary profession when working part-time.

The main condition

The main condition for becoming self-employed as a supplementary profession - with the emphasis on "supplementaryprofession" - is to have a mainactivity.  A main activity refers to a professional activity for an employer, or the receipt of replacement income from a former professional activity as an employee or civil servant. This main activity must be at least equal to part-time work. Or, more precisely, this activity must be at least equal to half the number of working hours worked by a full-time employee in the same company or in the same sector of activity. Since most people in Belgium work 38 hours a week, it is usually sufficient to have an employment contract of 19 hours or more to be able to carry out a supplementary activity. Note that in the case of certain professions with different schedules, there are other criteria: for example, an appointed teacher must have 60% of a full schedule in order to be authorised to carry out a complementary activity, while a contractual teacher must have only 50% of a full schedule.

Part-time work: part-time or more

The above paragraph makes it clear that there are no restrictions for those who work part-time or more. They may therefore continue to work as people who are self-employed as a supplementary profession, or even start as self-employed people with this status. There are no restrictions for those who have half of a full schedule or more.

Part-time work: lesst han a part-time contract  

A distinction must be made here. Becomingself-employed as a supplementary profession is not the same as remaining/being self-employed as a supplementary profession. The rules for a self-employed person who has less than a part-time contract are similar to those for unemployed people who are self-employed as a supplementary profession.  This therefore implies the following: a person who is self-employed as a supplementary profession before his or her part-time contract can continue to exercise his or her supplementary activity and receive unemployment benefits, under certain strict conditions, which we have already mentioned above.
For those who work less than half time and wish to become self-employed on a supplementary basis, the situation is a little more difficult. Unless there is an exception, he/she will not be able to start this supplementary activity while receiving unemployment benefits. In principle, you cannot start a self-employed activity on a supplementary basis if you receive unemployment benefits, unless you are 61 years old or more (with 42 years of career) and benefit from an exemption as an older unemployed person. There is also an exception if you start an artistic activity with the prior authorisation of ONEm. If this is not the case, you could be considered as self-employed as a main profession, with your part-time schedule as a supplementary activity. A contract with  less than half of a full-time schedule will not be considered as a main activity. In this case, the situation is completely reversed.

Apart from unemployment benefits, it is also important to take into account income ceilings for supplementary activities. Anyone who earns too much will be considered as being self-employed as a main profession.

In any case, there are two main principles to be respected in order to avoid problems. First of all, everything must be declared. Then, it is strongly recommended to receive the assistance and advice of a person who is familiar with the regulations (ONEm, social secretariat, social security fund, trade union, etc.).

Self-employed as a main or supplementary profession? NN has the right solution for you for a supplementary pension.

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