Record number of people in Flanders have second jobs
Just over 7 per cent of the working population in Flanders held a second job in the first three months of this year, a higher proportion than ever before.
Around 177,000 people had a second job in the first quarter of 2023, 7,000 more than last year and a quarter more than in 2021. Flemish MP Axel Ronse (N-VA) requested the figures from Flemish Employment minister Jo Brouns (CD&V), Het Belang van Limburg, Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard report.
Highly educated people comprise the largest share of employees with a second job, and men are slightly more likely to moonlight than women. People between 36 and 50 are most likely to have a second job.
Most second jobs are self-employed, and the most popular sectors are health, social services, education and wholesale and retail trade, according to data from the Belgian statistical office Statbel.
Labour economist Stijn Baert of Ghent University sees several reasons why the number of people with second jobs in Flanders continues to rise. "Many people are switching partly or fully to self-employment - in fact, fake self-employment - for tax reasons," he says. "After all, our country is the world champion in skimming off the wages of single people and two-earner households without children."
Some labour market reforms, such as the introduction of a flexi-job status, have also made it easier and more lucrative to hold a second job. This allows people employed elsewhere at least four days a week to moonlight in specific sectors without having to pay tax on their extra income or additional social security contributions.
Flexi-job status has been widely used for moonlighting in restaurants, bakeries, butchers, hairdressers or shops. This year, the status was extended to work in the health, sports, events and culture sectors.
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