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Who can work as an Article 17 employee?

An occasional sociocultural worker can be anyone, with any status: employed, unemployed, retired, self-employed, students, civil servants, teachers, individuals not professionally active, etc.


Which organisations can employ someone under Article 17?

  • non-profit organisations (vzw’s), companies with a social purpose (and public authorities), organisers of sports events and sociocultural events.
  • Recognized organizations in the sports sector, amateur arts sector, and sociocultural education.

Individual persons, informal associations, self-employed individuals, or commercial organizations (e.g Ltd or bvba, PLC or nv) are not eligible.

A full list of all the types of organisations and permitted activities can be found on this government website.

What tasks are allowed?

If you are employed under Article 17, you may only perform specifically defined tasks in specific sectors!

  • These tasks include animators, leaders, monitors, field caretakers/material masters, coordinators, trainers, instructors, coaches, and process facilitators in organizations that provide sociocultural education and/or sports initiation and/or sports activities.
  • Additionally, artistic or (art) technical instructors, coaches, and process facilitators in amateur arts organizations, excluding artistic performances that can be compensated with KVR (Small Fees Scheme for Artists).
  • Furthermore, individuals working for the organizers of sports events on the day of these events.
  • And individuals working for the organizers of sociocultural events, from 3 days before to 3 days after the event, with a maximum of 32 hours in total. Artistic performances eligible for KVR compensation are not included in this category.

Organizers of dance schools/groups/associations can use Article 17, to pay dance teachers, for example.

You can find a full list of all permitted activities on this government website.


Maximums and limits

There are maximums for the number of hours worked and the amounts earned!

You must stick to both and make sure you don’t exceed them, so that you meet the conditions of Article 17.


Maximum hours in 2023

Important to know:

  • When combining Article 17 work in the sports and sociocultural sectors, the maximum combined limit is 450 hours per year.
  • During the summer months, in the 3rd quarter (July to September), there is a higher maximum limit. However, this does not change the overall annual maximum number of hours. So, if you work 285 hours in the 3rd quarter, you will have only 165 hours left for quarters 1, 2, and 4 combined.
  • Students can accumulate their maximum 190 hours in Article 17 with the maximum hours allowed for student work (thus 600 hours of student work + 190 hours of Article 17). If more than 190 hours are worked under Article 17, those excess hours will be deducted from the student maximum (600 hours).

Maximum earnings in 2023

Besides the maximum number of hours, there is also an income limit, i.e. maximum earnings. The gross total income may not exceed 6,540 euros per year (for 2023, or 6,390 euros for the year 2022). Please note: This amount includes any travel costs and other expenses and benefits.
There is no longer a maximum per month, as there used to be in association work, only a maximum per year.

If any of the above limits (max. number of hours or annual amount) is exceeded, all your working hours will be considered as ordinary work. In other words, social security contributions and taxes will have to be paid on all your pay (and not only on the number of hours that exceed the limit!) So be sure to keep a close eye on the number of hours you have left! You can do this in the application artikel17@work. Both the Article 17 worker and the employer can check the number of hours that the employee has already worked (and thus how many hours are left for that year).

You will find more information about exceeding the maximum in the Sociare FAQ.


Taxes and social security contributions

You don’t have to pay any social security contributions on your pay for work under Article 17, but you do have to pay 10% income tax, which you will pay through your annual tax return.


Combining with other compensations and statuses?

As is the case with most forms of compensations: you cannot mix or alternate different statuses for the same assignment done for the same person or organisation.

Combining employment statuses within one organisation

You cannot work for an organisation under Article 17 if you have worked for that organisation in the previous year as a freelancer with a SBK, self-employed individual, or employee in the previous year. In that case, a waiting time of 1 year applies.

If you worked for that organisation using student contracts or if you have retired in the meantime, you may immediately start working for the same organisation under Article 17, with no waiting time.


If you work simultaneously for the same employer as an Article 17 employee and as a volunteer, it is only possible if you have clearly distinct roles/activities.
For example, you can work as a sports trainer under Article 17 and work at the bar as a volunteer.
Make sure that your contracts are extremely well written, clearly indicating your tasks, dates, times and place of work, so that there can be no misunderstandings during inspections!


The small fees scheme for artists (KVR) and Article 17 can be combined in the sense that you may only use the small fees scheme for artists for artistic work and Article 17 only for sociocultural education, artistic coaching and/or sports training that is not eligible for remuneration through the small fees scheme for artists.

For example: Creating or performing a choreography is artistic work and may be paid for with the small fees scheme for artists, but not under Article 17. Teaching a choreography or guiding and coaching students to give a show must be paid for under Article 17 and not with the small fees scheme for artists.
In real life, the distinction is not always clear, for example if you co-create a choreography with dancers. You will need to consider the intention and context. Do all the dancers have an equal standing, and are you creating the piece entirely as a team? In that case, it is artistic work and you can be paid through the small fees scheme for artists. If you coach students to discover their own creativity and thus create a choreography, and they pay for that lesson time / coaching, it is an educational activity and you should use Article 17.


Combining with benefits

Under certain conditions, you can work under Article 17 while receiving benefits.



If your Article 17 contract was already in effect before you became unemployed, you may continue your work under Article 17, with your full unemployment benefits, but you must report this to the RVA using the C44 form. All information can be found in the T41 information sheet of RVA.

If you want to start Article 17 work during your period of unemployment, you will have to report it in advance to your payment institution (trade union or De Hulpkas voor Werkloosheidsuitkeringen). Usually, you will get permission to start, but you will lose a day of benefits for the days you work under Article 17.

Combining with disability benefit (sickness benefit):

A person who becomes unable to work can continue to do their Article 17 work if it started before the incapacity for work began, but you do need report this in writing to the medical advisor.

The advising physician of the health insurance fund must give prior permission to start Article 17 work during incapacity for work.


Administration and rules

As an Article 17 worker, you are an employee of the organisation! That does involve some specific paperwork.

· Administration and rules for employees

· Administration and rules for employers


Need more info or advice?

· See the official website

· Read the extensive FAQ on Article 17 – work for an association at Sociare

· Contact Danspunt


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