Freelancers have been debating fixed-rate Social Security contributions not reflecting real income as long as the system has been in place. Becoming a freelancer has its benefits, especially in the first year when monthly payments start at around €70, rise to €150 by the second year, and finally arrive at a minimum of €250 per month. However, 2020 has further highlighted how these payments can be crippling to freelancers when workflow is reduced or becomes uncertain.
The Social Security Ministry and Tax Agency have been exchanging data in an effort to produce a new system based on income brackets, much like the system used for income tax (IRPF).
Lorenzo Amor, President of the Self-Employed Workers Association (ATA) said “We will not support any change in the contribution system for the self-employed that means a raise in their contributions. This is not the right time, and the self-employed are really struggling.” His statement clearly echoed in the recent protests by the Hostelry sector, who are battling reduced opening hours, customer numbers, and cancellations of festivities.
In contrast, María José Landaburu, Secretary General of UATAE has stated “we celebrate the fact that a government is doing something about one of the sector’s longstanding demands, which is a protection system based on solidarity. It is important to come out of our state of precariousness and firmly join the welfare state, and this is a fundamental step toward that.”
We spoke with freelancers in Aragón to gauge public opinion.
“It would be good to get some relief in these difficult times. When the work disappears, but the costs remain high, it can be very challenging.” - José Luís, Freelance Web Designer of 8 years.
“They’ve been talking about this for as long as I’ve been freelancing. I’ll believe it when I see it.” - Anonymous, Freelancer of 6 years.
“Well, it would make things easier today I suppose, but that is my pension contribution, the less I put in now, the less I receive when I really need it.” - Cee Taylor, Freelance English Teacher of 15 years.
In contrast to talks of potential aid, there is criticism of the support provided during previous months circulating on social media.