Artists Status, step by step (P)

The ‘Artists Status’ is a generalistic container expression for 5 rules in the unemployment benefit system (UBS). Five rules out of 180 existing rules in the UBS that make a world of difference for artists. The Artists Status, a 'simple' step-by-step plan here below.

STEP 1 - Admissibility
salary per task
Longer reference period
Amount of the unemployment benefit fee
Abroad
Vzw (ASBL) / non-profit organisation
STEP 2 - Neutralization rule
Return to the first period
STEP 3 - Extension of the Neutralizaton Rule
STEP 4 – NAJO
STEP 5 - income NOT wages & author’s rights

 


First step is to prove your entrance to the system, which is the unemployment benefit system. For this you need to prove 312 working days (or more depending on age) in een referral period of 21 months. 
There is an alternative which will look into the 10 years before and check how many working days (as an employee) you did.
You can also use the cachet calculation. This alternative will not look at the real working days but the amount of bruto salary IF the contracts were ‘per task’
After proving this 'toelaatbaarheid'/admissibility, you are in the highest period. To avoid descending after 12 months, you can prove the so called Neutralisation rule.
-> For this at the end of the first period of the UBF (Unemployment Benefit Fee), you have to prove 156 days of which 104 artistic days at least.
The referral period for this is 18 months, counting back from the end of the 1st period of the UBF (unemployment Benefit)
So 6 months of the referral period count to prove this.  So possibly a part of the days you have to prove, you will already be able to prove.
-> As a member of Artists United we can help you with this! :-)
 

STEP 1 - Admissibility

  • Everyone, artist or not, who wants to prove his admissibility must prove a number of working days (as an employee) depending on his age. KVR or independent activities do NOT count.
  • If you are younger than 36, you must prove 312 days in a reference period of 21 months, between 36 and 50 you must proof 468 days in 33 months and older than 50 you have to proof 624 days in 42 months.
  • You must prove those working days in that reference period of 21, 33 or 42 months before the date of your demand for an unemployment benefit fee. (For more info see also www.artistsunited.be/nl/content/statuut-uitkeringsaanhulp-vereiste-aanta...).

Artists can also prove this via a so called ‘salary per task’

  • You work for a salary per task if there is no link between the number of hours worked and the salary. So the contract does not state how many hours you worked. A working day is equal to 62,53 euros in the salary per task calculation (gross wage). So 312 days are equal to 19,508.64 euros (bruto salary / per task salary) (01/03/2020)
  • You can also prove a part in normal working days. For example, if you had a non-artistic job half-time during 1 year and also earned an additional 9,754.32 (01/03/2020) euro in salary per task (= 156 days), you also prove 312 days.
  • A 1bis contract is always per task.
  • PLEASE NOTE: you can prove a maximum of 104 days on 1 month (6,503.12 euros gross salary, 2020);
    and a maximum of 156 days on 1 quarter (9,754.32 euros in task wages, amount in 2020)
    The calculation is based on the formula: N x 26 + 78 maximum ('N' stands for the number of months you worked in that quarter).

Alternative; longer reference period and more days
A. Under 36 years old, number of working days required
312 days during 21 months prior to the application
or 468 days during 33 months prior to the application
or 624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.

B. From 36 to 49 years old, number of working days required:
468 days during 33 months prior to the application
or 624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.
Additional options:
234 days during 33 months + 1,560 days during the 10 years preceding these 33 months;
or 312 days during 33 months + for any day missing to get to 468 days, 8 days during the 10 years preceding these 33 months.

C. From 50 years, number of working days required:
624 working days during 42 months prior to the application.
Additional options:
312 days during the 42 months preceding your application and 1,560 days during the 10 years preceding these 42 months;
or 416 days during 42 months + for each day missing to get to 624 days, 8 days during the 10 years preceding these 42 months.

Amount of the unemployment benefit fee, 2 options

  • if you worked with salary per task, they will look at the quarter prior to the quarter of the unemployment benefit fee application. You would need in that quarter prio to the quarter wheere you do your demand 8,264.28 euro per task salary to have the maximum benefit fee.
  • If you worked for at least 4 consecutive weeks with a regular contract (not salary per task), they will look at the gross salary of that contract (of at least 4 consecutive weeks of employment). The wage taken into consideration for the calculation of the unemployment benefit fee is limited. Currently this is 2,754,76 euros (2020)
  • You may have worked with salary per task and then have a contract of 4 weeks consecutively. Then they will also look at this contract of 4 consecutive weeks to determine the amount of your benefit fee.

Abroad
Please note: if you were working abroad, you must then work in Belgium for 13 weeks/3 months (this used to be 1 day, but this condition has been aggravated) before being able to apply for an unemployment benefit fee.
Except if you had retained your normal residence in Belgium. For example you were a ‘frontier worker’. (You come back daily or at least weekly).

No 3 months:
A. if you have worked (and were subject to) your employment in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, while maintaining your habitual residence (also known as the "center of your interests") in Belgium:
- or you are a frontier worker, meaning: you return daily, at least weekly;
- or you are temporarily staying in the other country; you return after your employment has ended; upon return you can still have your foreign periods taken into account immediately. If you choose to apply for benefits first and look for work there, you must first exhaust your entitlement to export benefits.
B. if you were employed abroad as a seconded wage earner (since this is Belgian work in the field of social security).

Vzw (ASBL) / non-profit organisation
Beware of being a board member of a non-profit organization: you are allowed to be a board member of a non-profit organization for your own limited artistic activity. However, there is a very restrictive interpretation. We therefore advise against being a board member of a non-profit organization and only a member of the General Assembly.
Artists United has pleaded for some time to abandon this restrictive interpretation and to make it possible for artists to sit on the board of directors a an artistic non-profit organization.

STEP 2 - Neutralization rule

  • Prove the Neutralization Rule (often referred to as the Artists Status).
  • The unemployment benefit fee is organized in periods. The first period lasts 12 months. (This first period is subdivided into 3 subphases with a slight decrease in the amount).
  • The unemployment benefit fee then descends to the second period, during which the decrease in the fee is greater. Because the legislator realized that artists work in a difficult labor market characterized by short commissions, projects and calm periods, the Benefit Rule was introduced.
  • If at the end of your first 12-month period you can prove that you worked 156 days in the past 18 months (of which at least 104 were artistic - yes, you can also use 52 non-artistic days), your first period will be extended with 12 months. In other words, you do not descend into the second period and your benefit fee does not descend.
  • 156 days or 9,754.32 euros via the salary per task calculation.

Have you descended to the second period? Return to the first period
you can return to the first period. The parameter is the same as for the Benefit Rule: Proving 156 days (of which at least 104 are artistic). Then you return to the first period. At the end of that first period you can try again to prove the Benefit Rule.

STEP 3 - Extension of the Neutralizaton Rule

Extension of the Benefit Rule / Neutralization Rule: you can extend the Benefit Rule with 3 artistic performances / days. If at the end of the previously extended period (see step 2) you can prove that you have done at least 3 artistic days / performances, your period will be extended again by 12 months.
This can be extended year after year.

STEP 4 – NAJO

  •  Protection against NAJO, non-artistic job offer: The entire Unemployment Benefit fee system is aimed at redirecting people back to work. The only protection against a NAJO is to prove that at the moment that VDAB or Actiris offers you a non-artistic job, you have worked 156 days in the past 18 months (of which at least 104 are artistic).
  • If, on average, you worked 8.6 days every month or earned 541.90 euro salary per task on average per month, you can never be obliged to accept a NAJO.

What if I also do non-artistic work?

  • Suppose that you would only do artistic assignments, you should earn an average of 527 euros in salary per task/gross wage per month in order to never have to accept an NAJO.
  • This corresponds to an average of 8.6 working days per month and x 18 is 156 days.
  • You also do non-artistic jobs and can use a maximum of 52 days. That means that if you prove 52 non-artistic days, you still have to prove 104 artistic days. That is an average of 5.8 days a month or in a wage of € 362.67 gross wage + an average of 3 non-artistic days per month, which together gives 156 days (of which at least 104 artistic).

STEP 5 - income NOT wages & author’s rights

Beware with income not equal to wage such as income as an independent worker. That can cause your benefit fee to descend or even to have to pay back your benefit fee.

Questions? No problem, we are happy to help you further, contact us


 

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