As a self-employed person, can I work as an employee?

The question may seem a little odd. These are two apparently contradictory statuses. Either you are self-employed or you are an employee. How is it possible to reconcile the two?

A question of status

It is not impossible, but it of course depends on which status you work under. In other words: what is your main status? Your main status is the one which you pay contributions towards and the one which your social rights depend on.

Working as an employee when you are self-employed as a main activity...

If you are self-employed and pay your social security contributions, there is nothing to stop you from having another job to earn a little more. Just as an employee may be self-employed on a secondary basis, a self-employed person may also carry out a secondary activity. A simple example: Pierre is self-employed and owns a computer shop. But when it is closed, he gives computer classes to supplement his income. 

However, this activity cannot be predominant. On the one hand, it can be detrimental to his activity as a self-employed person – no one can be in two places at the same time – and on the other hand, it could easily become more worthwhile to stop being self-employed as a main activity and become an employee as a main activity, and self-employed as a secondary activity. Being an employee entails a large number of social benefits (pension, health insurance, unemployment benefits, etc.) which self-employed people are not entitled to.

...or as an employee when you are self-employed on a secondary basis

For this reason, you should ask yourself whether it would be more worthwhile to become an employee as a main activity and self-employed on a secondary basis. Being self-employed on a secondary basis means that you work at least part-time for an employer. Since most employees work on the basis of a 38-hour week, it is sufficient to have an employment contract of at least 19 hours in order to be able to carry out a secondary activity. Much will depend on the proposed contract. Is it a full-time or a part-time job? Is it a temporary or a permanent contract? The situation can also lead to problems, if the activity as an employee is more or less the same as the one you carry out as a self-employed person (risk of conflict of interest). If the activities are totally different, this risk does not exist. It is necessary to weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully. An employee receives benefits that a self-employed person does not receive, and a person who is self-employed on a secondary basis pays much lower contributions. On the other hand, your job as an employee can be detrimental to your activity as a self-employed person, and you lose a large part of your independence. Evaluate which of your activities offers you the highest level of job security.

Put your cards on the table

One thing is certain: everyone must be aware of everything. Your employer must know that you work as a self-employed person, and all of your income must be declared. If you change your status and become self-employed on a secondary basis, you must declare it in time.

It is therefore entirely possible to work as an employee if you are self-employed. However, you must ask yourself which formula is the most worthwhile in your situation.

Self-employed? Thanks to NN, you can ensure solid social protection for yourself and your loved ones.


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