The gateway law offers replacement income to a self-employed worker having discontinued their activities. Until recently, the law could only be invoked in case of bankruptcy, collective debt settlement or forced discontinuation due to, for example, a fire, an allergy, etc.
The law was extended on 1 January 2017. Self-employed workers can now also make use of the gateway law in case of discontinuation for economic reasons.
Additional modifications have been made to the gateway law, specifically:
- The gateway law no longer only covers the right to healthcare insurance: the coverage is now extended to allowances;
- Now caregivers and caregiving spouses can also benefit from the gateway law;
- A self-employed worker must be affiliated for four quarters as a self-employed worker for their main activity to benefit from the gateway law. From 1 January 2017, a payment condition has been added. The self-employed worker, caregiver or caregiving spouse must have paid social contributions for at least four quarters for a reference period of 16 quarters preceding the quarter which follows the quarter during which the discontinuation of activity or bankruptcy occurs.
From 1 July 2017, active managers, administrators and partners of a company that wishes to make use of the gateway law in case of discontinuation for economic reasons in a low-income situation (not in case of reintegration income or exemption from contributions) must meet additional conditions:
- A dissolution and liquidation procedure for the companies concerned must be started at the time of the discontinuation.
- The patrimonial benefits which the claimant receives following dissolution and liquidation may not exceed double the minimum income for self-employed workers as a main activity (26,592.50 Euros in 2017).
The amount of the patrimonial benefits is verified based on the balance sheet total for the company’s last completed financial year and the percentage of the shares held by the claimant.
Source: royal decree of 12 June 2017 (FR) amending the royal decree of 8 January 2017 concerning the execution of the law of 22 December 2016 establishing a gateway law in favour of self-employed workers, Belgian Official Journal of 21 June 2017