Alis Advocaten - News

Working with freelancers or consultants instead of employees? Keep an eye out for "hidden" independence!

The status of freelancer and consultant has started a strong rise and is replacing the traditional employment contract.

This can be read in an article by Nathanella Monsaert, editor at NextConomy, in which she refers to a book by Monique Verbraecken and Rebecca Caebergs. (See Agreement/)

Independent collaborations are indeed on the rise. However, when you work with the self-employed, you cannot simply ignore the risks of false self-employment. There are a number of rules that are best followed. The law provides a number of criteria for assessing the status (employment relationship or self-employed person). We distinguish between neutral, general and specific criteria specific to the sector. Moreover, a rebuttable presumption applies in certain sectors. A list of a further nine criteria was drawn up for these sectors.

Both the Administrative Commission for the Employment Relationship and the Labor Court have the authority to review the agreement and, if necessary, to re-qualify it.

As the employee is often also a requesting party for an independent collaboration, the questions for re-qualification are rather limited, but it will be your freelancer who requests the re-qualification. After all, if the committee or the labor court discuss this, it will have serious consequences! From the outset, the collaboration is retrospectively regarded as an employment contract, with all its consequences (wages, meal vouchers, holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, cancellation modalities, social security contributions, withholding taxes, etc.). Moreover, administrative and even criminal sanctions can be imposed on the employer.

Are you not completely sure of the status? You can submit it to the committee, but you better submit it to your lawyer.

We await your call.