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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure BE-2020-16/421 Updated – measures in Belgium

Support measures for self-employed workers facing difficulties

Ondersteuningsmaatregelen voor zelfstandigen in problemen

Country Belgium , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 18 April 2020
Context COVID-19, War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Deferral of payments or liabilities
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 09 April 2020 (updated 20 September 2022)

Background information

Measures have been put in place to support self-employed that face difficulties because of the COVID-19 virus or measures related to it. The purpose is to alleviate the economic pressure and reduce costs related to social contributions for self-employed (and their assisting partners) facing serious financial problems. More specifically these measures allow for delays in payments of social insurances and/or reductions or exemptions from social contributions if necessary to stay afloat.

Content of measure

Self-employed who face difficulties due to COVID-19, may apply for the following three types of measures with regard to the payment of social contributions:

  1. Deferred payment and waiving the increments : the self-employed and assisting partner may submit a form to their social insurance fund to request a one-year delay of the provisional social contributions payment. This measure already applies to the provisional contributions related to the first and second quarter of 2020.

  2. Reduction of the provisional social contributions: The self-employed may apply for a reduction of their provisional social contributions for the year 2020 if their professional income is lower than one of the legal thresholds.

  3. Exemption of social contributions: self-employed may ask for such an exemption if deemed necessary.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

16 September 2022

The federal government has decided to provide the option for enterprises in need to postpone their payments of social contributions and certain taxes. The measure should support companies in hardship due to increasing energy prices.

Use of measure

It is unclear how many self-employed will make use of the measure as it is upon request by the self-employed themselves. It can be expected that a large number will make use of the measures as social contributions can be a significant cost.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


The involvement of the social partners is not clear or made public.

Views and reactions

It is to be expected that the social partners were at least informed of the measures. The extent of their involvement is not known to us.


  • 09 April 2020: Acerta: Steunmaatregelen voor zelfstandigen (
  • 16 September 2022: Kernkabinet akkoord over energiepakket (+ reactie NSZ) (


Eurofound (2020), Support measures for self-employed workers facing difficulties, measure BE-2020-16/421 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.