Although the status of self-employed helper is very popular, there are many misunderstandings when it comes to the people authorised to register in this category. What exactly does this status involve and what are the key points?
Who can be considered as helper ?
A self-employed helper is a person who, although not the holder of a personal activity, is subject to the social status of self-employed worker. More specifically, the self-employed helper is a person:
- who helps a self employed person in the exercise of his profession or fills in for a self-employed worker
- without being bound by an employment contract
Note that the profession of self-employed helper is not a status in itself. This activity can be exercised as a main activity, as a complementary activity or on the basis of article 37.
Self-employed helpers are sometimes affiliated to satisfy the establishment's legislation.
Any person wanting to work as a self-employed worker must provide proof of basic management knowledge. If the self-employed worker has no personal experience or required diplomas, proof of this knowledge can be provided by means of an appointed "agent". In many cases, this person is a self-employed helper.
Is a family link essential?
The helper does not necessarily need to be a member of the self-employed worker’s family, although this is often the case in practice.
Self-employed helpers, just like assisting spouses, can only work as a self-employed worker as the head of a sole-trader enterprise (individual) and not through a company. Therefore, it is impossible to work as a helper for a company.
Helpers are subject to the social status of self-employed workers. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:
Helpers who are active before 1 January of the year during which they reach the age of 20 are not regulated. However, hepers marrying before this date are regulated from the quarter during which the marriage was concluded.
Student helpers receiving family allowances are automatically considered as occasional helpers even if they work for over 90 days per years and the help is provided regularly.
Special status: assisting spouse
The status of assisting spouse was created in 2003. As with the self-employed helper, the assisting spouse helps another person in the exercise of their activity. The difference lies in the fact that they are married to or legally cohabiting with the person in question. The decision was then made to create a rebuttable legal presumption according to which the spouse or legal cohabitee of a self-employed worker who does not have their own social status is presumed to have the status of assisting spouse. However, if they have their own status through, for example, a salaried activity carried out at least part-time, the self-employed worker's spouse or cohabitee is not regulated as an assisting spouse.
Some categories of spouses/legal cohabitants are no longer regulated as assisting spouses and can now change the presumption:
The spouse of a self-employed company director is not regulated. Company director is understood to mean any individual acting on behalf of a company or association within which it exercises an activity without there being a subordination link relative to this company or association. Examples: managers, administrators, or private shareholders.
The spouse who opens their own rights to services (through a professional activity or an allowance) at least equal to those guaranteed by the status of self-employed worker. The status of assisting spouse is a sort of safety net for people who still don't have another social status. The social insurance fund will be based on the sworn statement.
The person not providing effective help to their spouse can change the legal presumption through a sworn statement. Note: this declaration must be submitted within 90 days of the affiliation date. If submitted late, the affiliation cannot be implemented with retroactive effect.
When the help provided by the spouse is not regular and amounts to less than 90 days per year and the latter can, as a result, be considered as an "occasional helper" (see above), the legal presumption can also be changed through a sworn statement.
Be aware that false statements are subject to an administrative fine of 500 EUR!
Whether you are a self-employed helper or a self-employed worker with recourse to helpers, you should always make sure that there is no doubt about the employment relationship (false independence). The requalification of a salaried false self-employed worker has significant financial consequences!
This article is brought to you by Zenito and was originally published on their blog (FR). As a one-stop business shop and a social insurance fund, Zenito advises entrepreneurs and professionals at every stage of their company's life. On their site, you will find many useful tools and publications such as the Starter Guide (FR).