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Seven out of 10 self-employed people don't take sick leave

10:07 11/05/2017

More than seven out of 10 self-employed people in Belgium ignore their doctor's advice when they are sick, writes De Morgen. Unizo, the organisation that represents the self-employed, is demanding measures to better protect them.

Most self-employed people in Belgium get back to work as quickly as possible when they fall ill, despite any rest the doctor may have prescribed, according to a survey by Unizo commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Inami). Nearly three out of 10 completely disregard the doctor's note, while another four in 10 say they only rest for a part of the prescribed period.

The business owners are primarily concerned with a loss of income, loss of customers or the fact that they have no replacement. Freelancers continue to work through illness because they risk losing work to competitors who are ready and willing to take over their assignments on a moment's notice.

The study also shows that very few self-employed people in Belgium are aware of their rights: 42%, for example, are not aware that they are entitled to a sickness benefit of €1,168 a month after one month of absence, and 72% are not aware that they can be exempted from making social security payments during the period of illness.

Written by Robyn Boyle