Self-employment Act published

The law of February 14, 2022 in favor of self-employed professional activity has been promulgated, introducing a single status for sole proprietorships. This new status should give entrepreneurs greater security, as their personal assets will be exempt from seizure by default. Here's a closer look at the self-employed plan and the definitively adopted bill.

Creation of a single status for sole traders

The bill provides for the creation of a single status for sole proprietors, which will entail the abolition of the EIRL status, hitherto little used.

Previously, sole traders were fully liable for the company's debts. In the event of bankruptcy, their personal assets could be seized to repay business debts, with only their principal residence protected.

Henceforth, all the entrepreneur's personal assets are exempt from seizure by professional creditors, unless the entrepreneur decides otherwise. The entrepreneur's personal assets are therefore protected in their entirety.

More flexible conditions of access to unemployment benefit

Unemployment benefit for self-employed workers (ATI) has not been much in demand since its creation, due to its numerous and restrictive conditions of access. The bill extends this assistance to self-employed workers who have permanently ceased their activity when it was not economically viable (30% drop in taxable income from one year to the next).

What's more, whereas previously self-employed workers had to provide proof of at least 10,000 euros in average income over the last two years of operation to be eligible for ATI, the required amount has now been reduced to a minimum of 10,000 euros for one of the last two years.

Under the new framework, the ATI will continue to be 800 euros per month. According to the government, it cannot be less than 600 euros per month.

Thanks to this measure, 30,000 self-employed people could receive ATI each year, compared with around a thousand today. An assessment will be carried out by parliamentarians before the end of 2024 to measure the real effects.

Other measures in the independent plan

The February 14 law in favor of self-employed professional activity does not only provide for the creation of a single status for individual entrepreneurs and the easing of conditions for access to the ATI. Other measures have also been adopted. These include making it easier for entrepreneurs to change their business from a sole proprietorship to a company. Entrepreneurs will now be able to sell, donate or transfer all or part of their business assets to a company without going into liquidation.

Another key measure is the simplification of the treatment of social security contribution debts owed by the majority owners of SARLs in the event of insolvency. In concrete terms, it will be possible to write off these debts as part of an overindebtedness procedure for private individuals.

Broken down into 20 measures, the proposals put forward as part of the Self-Employed Plan aim to improve and simplify the social status of these workers, whether they are merchants, craftsmen, farmers or self-employed professionals.