freelance status


reading time: 5min | #freelancers #Overige | October 9, 2019 | Daan De Bock
We are almost repeating ourselves when we state that freelancing is on the rise enormously. In three years, the freelance labor market has increased by 22.7 % in Flanders. We know that in 2018 there were about 127,277 freelancers diligently working in the Flemish labor market. Regardless of expertise, sector or job content, all these freelancers have one thing in common: they do not have a separate freelancer status. Therefore, we ask ourselves: a statute for freelancers, necessary or not?


No statute for freelancers?

In Belgium, you can freelance under different hats. A large part of Belgian freelancers are entrepreneurs. Sole proprietorships or very small companies with a own VAT number offer services to other companies or individuals. In addition, many freelancers go on the payroll of companies that outsource freelancers. In Belgium, there are only two statuses; you are either employee or self-employed. This, of course, puts a lot of pressure on the concept of freelancing. A freelancer can therefore be either an employee or independent are. The only thing that unites this melting pot is the element of flexible work, but legally we cannot speak of THE freelancer because there is no such thing. We ourselves apply - by analogy with the Dutch ZZP- the definition: "self-employed person without staff who operates as a business service provider on a temporary or project basis."


Who wants the statute for freelancers?

In 2017, we read the following headline in the press: "Flemish employer organization Voka calls for a new statute for freelancers." According to Voka top executive Hans Maertens in our country there is no proper regulation for flexible and atypical work while there is in other countries. And you can't blame Voka for that. There are many different types of freelancers, who perform their work under a different statute. This creates a lot of confusion for companies and makes the employment of freelancers difficult.

A freelancer can be either a delivery driver at Deliveroo or Uber, a teacher or even a CEO. That makes developing such a statute quite complex. You simply cannot impose the same protections and provisions on a delivery driver as on a management profile. On top of that, the fragmentation creates an impasse at the geometric level, mapping the number of freelancers is no easy task. 127,277 did you say?


Who doesn't want a statute for freelancers?

Federal minister of work Kris Peeters, spoke out against the statute as recently as 2018: "We must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater" - Afterwards, Minister Peeters clarified, "Indeed, the creation of an intermediary statute does not offer a solution to the gray zone. Instead of one grey zone, there is a risk of creating two grey zones: one between independent status and intermediary status, and one between intermediary status and salaried status. Moreover, with an intermediary status, there is the danger of a displacement of certain salaried labor into that status." Also Caroline Deiteren of Unizo distances himself from that idea "Freelancers are for us real self-employed people. Our surveys show that they want to be independent and they do not want to go to a separate status similar to that of an employee in which they would have less flexibility."


What can freelance status entail?

Such a statute, what exactly does it entail? We can only guess at this point. Although there are some avenues that we think are worth pursuing.First, additional protection for the freelancer seems to be a must. Social protections are rightly being extended more and more for the self-employed. Since July 1, the self-employed may count on benefits from the first day of illness while in the past they had a carensperiode had to go through. Even self-employed workers who have just become fathers are now subject to different provisions: since May 1, fathers have been granted 10 days of paternity leave. A clear signal from the government that there is room for labor force protection in any statute. The freelance statute should certainly take this into account.

Second, the separate statute for freelancers will mainly revolve around creating a clear framework. Ideally, this will make it easier to hire a freelancer. Today we still too often see companies hesitate to hire a freelancer because of the gray areas and unclear legislation.


Should there be this statute?

While the statute can potentially bring many positives, we are compelled to mention its negative side effects as well. Like the famous Belgian wage handicap, a new statute could potentially put pressure on the remuneration of freelancers. High employer contributions or even minimum wages and scales could leave their mark on the freelancer's freedom of remuneration. It is also precisely this freedom that freelancers choose when they decide to take the plunge into freelancing. Also short-term ailments of new legal provisions often bring with them an administrative burden that usually takes a very long time to work into.



At GiGHOUSE we believe that freelance status is not a real priority. As long as the government continues the trend of granting more legal protections for the independent status, we do not currently see the need for a third status. Like Minister Maggie De Block we support a convergent system where the different statutes/contract forms flow nicely into each other (civil servants, self-employed, employees, flexijobbers,...). We know from experience that freelancers are currently getting by with initiatives on the market. We think about the help that Voka gives to freelancers, "Freelancers united" the very first trade union for freelancers or the numerous organizations that provide insurance for freelancers. It's a good time for freelancers with or without status.  




Freelancers? No thank you! They are too expensive for our business!

February 6, 2024 #Money #utor #P Price

An analysis shows that freelancers' costs are comparable to those of permanent and temporary workers, making choosing expertise over contract form essential; GIGHOUSE advocates valuing flexible forms of employment and the use of independent experts.

4 min.
Read Blog
Freelancer summit

3 reasons why you should attend the Freelancer Summit

October 10, 2023 #events #freelancers

The Freelancer Summit offers freelancers valuable opportunities for networking, continuing education and personal meetings with matchmakers.

5 min.
Read Blog

Why choosing a niche as a freelancer is important

July 18, 2023 #freelancers

Find out how to ensure you can charge higher rates and get more meaningful projects by researching market demand and improving your skills.

5 min.
Read Blog
hr policy

Labor regulations vs. company policies: can we still see the forest for the trees?

July 12, 2023 #freelancers #HR

Employment regulations or company policies? For many HR freelancers, it is often unclear. Law firm A.lex clarifies.

5 min.
Read Blog

My freelance activity: as a natural person or under a corporation?

July 11, 2023 #free #freelancers #earning as a freelancer

Freelancer in Belgium: Choosing between individual or company? Discover legal, tax and financial insights for the best choice. Case study shows financial difference. Make smart decisions with professional advice!

5 min.
Read Blog

Why 100% working from home is not a good idea

July 11, 2023 #freelancers

Working from home has advantages, but also disadvantages such as blurred work-life separation, reduced social contact and inappropriate infrastructure. Variety and co-working spaces help freelancers find balance.

3 min.
Read Blog

Subscribe to the newsletter

    [honeypot id number]

    I have read and understand the privacy policy.