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Self-Employment as Precarious Work

A European Perspective

Wieteke Conen and Joop Schippers

Since the 1970s the long term decline in self-employment has slowed – and even reversed in some countries – and the prospect of ‘being your own boss’ is increasingly topical in the discourse of both the general public and within academia. Traditionally, self-employment has been associated with independent entrepreneurship, but increasingly it has become a form of precarious work. This book utilises evidence-based information to address both the current and future challenges of this trend as the nature of self-employment changes, as well as to demonstrate where, when and why self-employment has emerged as precarious work in Europe.
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Chapter 3: Social protection for the self-employed: an EU legal perspective

Hanneke Bennaars


Self-employment dynamics are highly shaped by institutional conditions. The institutional context is not only likely to affect the choice to become self-employed, but also affects the extent to which self-employed are able to gain sufficient income from a job in self-employment and have to deal with various types of social risk, including the risk of poverty in old age, the risk of disability and the risk of unemployment. This short intermezzo chapter aims to function as a contextual background and sketches the contours of the EU legal perspective to the social protection of self-employed. The chapter addresses the EU concept of a worker, self-employed, dependent self-employment and false self-employment, EU legislation providing social protection for the self-employed and current developments at the EU level.

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