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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case BE-2020-16/458 Updated – measures in Belgium

Replacement income for self-employed (bridging right)

Vervangingsinkomen voor zelfstandigen (overbruggingsrecht)

Country Belgium , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 18 April 2020 – 31 August 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Case created 10 April 2020 (updated 02 September 2020)

Background information

In certain situations self-employed can qualify for the temporary COVID-19 bridging right:

  • If the federal government has obliged the self-employed to interrupt the activity in whole or in part they are immediately eligible for the bridging right. There is no minimum duration of interruption required. This concerns, for example, self-employed who are obliged to close their business (such as restaurants, cafés and non-food businesses). Restaurants providing or delivering takeaway meals are also covered.

  • If the government has not obliged the self-employed to interrupt their activity partially or completely, but the self-employed is forced to interrupt their activity for a period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, for example for self-isolation, a lack of raw materials or for various reasons of economic or organisational nature (linked to COVID-19), then they are also eligible for the bridging right.

This includes self-employed exercising a care profession such as physiotherapists, dentists and medical specialists.

Content of measure

Certain conditions apply in order to be able to benefit from the bridging right:

  • The person has to be self-employed as main profession (including helpers, assisting spouses in the maxi-status and (primo-starters), or self-employed as secondary profession with provisional social security contributions that are at least equal to the minimum contributions for self-employed persons in their main profession;
  • The person has to be self-employed and pay social security contributions in Belgium;
  • The person must not receive a replacement income.

The Corona bridging right amounts to (for March, April, May and June):

  • €1,291,69 without family responsibilities;
  • €1,614.10 with family responsibilities.

If granted, the bridging right for March will be paid at the beginning of April and for April, at the beginning of May.

Updates

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

06 August 2020

The measure has been extended (for those companies that are deemed eligible) until the 31st of December 2020, mainly companies that are related in one way or another to the events sector.

25 June 2020

The federal government decided to extend the crisis bridging right for the months of July and August for self-employed workers who had to stop their activity for at least seven consecutive days because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government may extend this measure until the end of December 2020 if it is deemed necessary. In addition, a separate bridging right will be provided to support the self-employed during their restart. This 'Relance payment' (restart bridging right) will be as high as the crisis bridging right. The Relance payment is currently still in the development stage.

Use of measure

It is unclear how many people are eligible and will make use of the support.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Solo-self-employed
One person or microenterprises
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

Involvement

It is to be expected that the social partners were at least informed about the measure.

Views and reactions

It is to be expected that the social partners were at least informed about the measure.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Replacement income for self-employed (bridging right), case BE-2020-16/458 (measures in Belgium), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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