Springboard to self-employment

Want to be a jobseeker and self-employed as a secondary activity? It’s possible!


The “Springboard to self-employment” measure came into effect in 2016. This regime simplifies the exercise of a self-employed secondary activity combined with unemployment allowances. A jobseeker can begin a self-employed secondary activity. In this case, they can combine a secondary activity with their allowances for a maximum of 12 months.


The “Springboard to self-employment” benefit is a measure which allows you to retain your right to unemployment benefits for twelve months while performing a self-employed secondary activity.

What conditions do you need to meet?

To benefit from the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit, you must simultaneously meet the following conditions:

  • You must declare your secondary self-employed activity at the time of your request for allowances or, if you already receive allowances, prior to the start of your activity.
  • Your unemployment must not be due to stopping or reducing your work as an employee with a view to receiving the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit;
  • You must not have exercised the secondary activity as a main profession during the previous six years, calculated date to date;
  • The activity must not be carried out by third parties, notably in the context of an employment or subcontracting contract, except in exceptional circumstances;
  • Certain activities are incompatible: The following activities cannot be exercised in the context of the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit:
    • work carried out as an employee,
    • artistic activity.

What happens if you meet all the conditions?

If you meet all these conditions, you will be granted the benefit by the unemployment office. In principle, you may exercise your secondary profession at any time while benefiting from allowances.
If you do not meet the conditions for receiving the benefit, you will receive a refusal decision. You can file an appeal against this decision with the labour court within 3 months.

How long does the benefit last?

The “Springboard to self-employment” benefit is granted for 12 months, calculated date to date, from the start of the activity or from the time when this benefit is requested. It cannot be extended.

What are your obligations relative to your control card?

You must be in possession of a control card. You have the choice between a paper control card and an electronic control card. 

It is important to complete your control card according to the instructions stipulated therein: if the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit is granted to you, don’t mention your secondary self-employed activity on your control card.

What other obligations must be respected for the duration of the benefit?

  • Be registered as a job seeker
  • Be available on the employment market
  • Be fit for work
  • Reside in Belgium

What is the impact of the income from your secondary activity on the amount of your unemployment allowances?

You can combine the income from the activity carried out in the context of the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit with allowances but in a limited manner.

The daily amount of your unemployment allowance will be reduced by the amount of daily income from the secondary activity which exceeds 13.70 Euros (using the corresponding index on 01.07.2016).

As an example, if the net daily income from your secondary profession is 15 Euros, the daily amount of your unemployment allowance is reduced by the difference between 15 and 13.70.

The daily income is obtained by dividing the net taxable annual income (= gross - expenses) by 312.

Can you receive the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit several times?

Yes, you can benefit from the “Springboard to self-employment” benefit several times.  However, for the benefit to be granted to you, you must not have benefited from it over the last 6 years, calculated date to date.

Want more information?

More detailed information and the forms required are available on the ONEM’s website.

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