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Earn more on the side: flexi-job

Chocolate buns at a bakery Ghent

Earn more on the side: flexi-job

Have you ever wanted to earn a bit more on the side, but did not wish to set yourself up as self-employed? The Flemish government offers a tax-free flexible employment scheme for occasional help in shops and food and drink establishments.

The advantages of flexi-jobs

The main advantage of getting a side job (becoming a flexijobber) is that this form of employment is not taxed – what you earn, you keep. In practice, the employer pays only 25% of the social security contributions on top of your wage. You receive an hourly wage, which already includes the advance on holiday pay (vakantiegeld), while also building up additional social security rights (pension, holidays).

Currently, the minimum legal wage for the flexi-jobs is about 10 EUR (net pay) per hour, but of course the employer is free to offer a higher wage.

Flexi-job at a butcher's in Belgium
Butcher’s shops allow flexi-jobs

The rules for starting a flexi-job

Not everybody is allowed to find a job through the flexi-job system. The rule is rather complex: in order to be able to do a flexi-job in the current yearly quarter, you have to have worked at least 4/5ths (80% employment) in the 3rd quarter before the quarter in which you plan to work (counting backwards). Let’s try and make this a bit more understandable.

Basically, the Belgian employment system works in yearly quarters (quartalen): one quarter is 3 months. For example, if you want to start doing the flexi-job in February 2019, this is counted as working in the first quarter of the year 2019. In order to calculate the quarter which will be used to verify your eligibility, we deduct 9 months (3 quarters): April 2018. April is in the 2rd quarter, so you will have to be able to prove that you were employed at least 4/5th (80%) in the second quarter of 2018 (this means, in March, April and June 2018).

Eligibility always applies for the whole quarter, ie. 3 months. Let’s take another example: you want to start working in a flexi-job in October 2019. In that case, you will need to be able to prove at least 4/5 employment in the first quarter of 2019 (October minus 9 months is January => 1st quarter), i.e. January, February and March 2019. If you fulfill this requirement, you can work in the full 4th quarter of 2019: October, November, December 2019.

The rule needs to be complied with every quarter: if you want to continue working in a flexi-job in January 2020, you will need to prove the 80% employment for the 2nd quarter of 2019, etc. This rule is always automatically verified when your employer registers your work on the government website.

In case you have been employed less than 80 % in the reference quarter, you cannot work in a flexi-job. The reason is that this is a government measure that allows people to earn some money in addition to their regular job, and is not meant as a way to replace regular income.

Additionally, there is another group of people who can take up flexi-jobs freely without special limitations – pensioners. The only condition is that you must have been retired for at least two full quarters before starting your flexi-job.

a man baking croissants at a flexi-job in Belgium
Bakeries and baker’s shops employ a lot of flexi-jobbers

Which sectors can use flexi-jobs

Flexi-jobs are not allowed in every sector. The main types of employers are:

  • Food shops (including bakers, butchers, neighbourhood supermarkets, food retail chains)
  • Bars, cafes, restaurants (horeca)
  • Other shops (hairdressers, clothes shops)
  • Fitness/gyms
  • Hotel sector
  • Interim sector
  • Warehouses

The list is specified also according to the collective agreement for each sector (paritair comité or Joint Committee).

How it works

Once you agree with the employer on joining their team, the agreement can be written down or defined orally. In a case of a written agreement, the employer will make a quarterly declaration of your work, and in the case of a spoken agreement, the employer will make a daily declaration of your work on the website of the social security body of the Flemish government.

There is no limit to how much you can work and earn through a flexi-job and the income earned that way does not need to be indicated in your tax declaration.

Find a flexi-job

You can find listings for flexi-jobs in the following places:

  • MyFlexiJob
  • VDAB (national employment agency)
  • Interim agencies, like Randstad, Accenture etc. all publish flexi-jobs as well
  • The shops themselves usually post vacancies in their windows or on their websites/Facebook pages, so have a look around your neighbourhood

More details about the rules on the flexi-jobs as well as useful contacts can be found on the website of the VDAB (in Dutch).

Note: the information on this page is based on the information found on official government and local websites, and on the experience of the authors. While we have done our best to make sure it is accurate, rules and regulations change and each individual situation might be different, so it is always a good idea to check with appropriate authorities for the latest information. Consequently, the authors do not assume any responsibility or liability for any issues or damages stemming from the use of the information found on this website.

Last updated: June, 2019

Nina
Nina came to Ghent many years ago via several other countries, ditching the big city lights for the towers and rivers of Ghent. She has lived in Vienna, Cantabria (Spain), Maastricht, Luxembourg and Brussels. Now she enjoys creating beautiful design, exploring space and talking to people. She is also on a mission to make Ghent and Belgium more welcoming to expats. You can contact her at nina@thesquare.gent

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