The self-employed dependent worker (TRADE)

Dependent self-employed workers (known as TRADE by their initials) were born to move away from the idea of the false self-employed, as the latter is considered illegal. In this way, an attempt was made to regulate a figure that until then had been outside the law. The TRADE self-employed person is thus halfway between the self-employed worker and the salaried employees that companies have. This figure was necessary for all those self-employed professionals who receive most of their income from the same source, i.e., almost all the work they do is for the same company.

What is a TRADE self-employed worker?

The Statute of the Self-Employed Worker now includes the figure of the TRADE and defines it as:

“Those who carry out an economic or professional activity for profit and on a regular, personal, direct and predominant basis for a natural or legal person, called a client, on whom they are economically dependent because they receive at least 75 percent of their income from work and from economic or professional activities from him or her.”

The main difference lies in the need for a written contract registered in a public office, detailing the characteristics of the service. This modality is still a great advantage for employers who hire a dependent self-employed worker, as they still do not have to pay the corresponding contributions.

On the other hand, the self-employed professional can organise himself as he wishes and no timetables or maximum or minimum hours are established. They also adhere to some labour rights related to holidays, indemnities and they can also do work for other clients, as long as 75% of their income continues to come from the main client.

Characteristics of TRADE

In order to be a TRADE self-employed person, a series of conditions must be met, which are more beneficial than those of the traditional self-employed. Among the requirements that must be met for a freelancer to be considered a TRADE, we find:

  • 75% of the self-employed person’s income must be invoiced to the same main client. It must always be the same one. It is not possible to have several main clients.
  • Agreements must be signed in writing by means of commercial contracts detailing the working conditions.
  • The TRADE shall be entitled to at least 18 days holiday per year. However, these may be increased by negotiation between the parties.
  • TRADE freelancers are entitled to compensation whenever the client terminates the contract unjustifiably. For example, the TRADE should not be compensated in case of death or retirement of the main client.
  • The main client is also entitled to claim compensation from the TRADE if the TRADE terminates the relationship without good reason.

Which self-employed cannot be TRADE?

Depending on their characteristics, we can distinguish different types of self-employed workers. However, not all of them can be TRADE. TRADE are self-employed workers who receive most of their income from the same payer.

Corporate self-employed persons, those who are owners of commercial establishments, offices or offices facing the public, cannot be TRADE. Neither can the self-employed who are associated with another self-employed person or who are administrators of companies be economically dependent self-employed.

It should be emphasised that a TRADE self-employed person is not the same as a false self-employed person, as the false self-employed person is an illegal figure prosecuted by the Labour Inspectorate.

TRADE contract

One of the necessary conditions for the self-employed is that the contract between the two parties must be signed in writing. This contract must set out the conditions agreed between the self-employed person and the main client.

The procedures for registering as a TRADE freelancer are the same as for any other freelancer. The only difference is that the TRADE freelancer must present the contract signed with the main client to the State Public Employment Service.

Differences between a dependent self-employed person and a bogus self-employed person

Many people confuse the concepts of false self-employed and economically dependent workers, due to the characteristics of each of them.

Dependent self-employed workers are regulated by the General Regime for Self-Employed Workers and are workers who invoice 75% of their income to the same client.

False self-employed workers are those who are registered in the RETA as self-employed workers but whose characteristics are those of an employee, i.e. a salaried worker. This is done by companies in order to be able to save on the costs of the workers’ social security contributions. Hiring false self-employed workers can lead to penalties and fines as it is an illegal practice.

The bogus self-employed may invoice other clients and 75% of their income may come from the same client. However, this worker may not be considered as a bogus self-employed person for some of his or her clients, but may be considered as an employee for the client where he or she performs his or her services.

One of the main characteristics of a dependent self-employed person is that he/she owns the entire production infrastructure and the materials necessary to perform the services requested by the employer. In addition, they also have the organisational freedom to determine their own working hours. This is where we find the key difference between these two figures. The independence and freedom that the worker has to carry out his work, with his own tools and with the organisation that he decides is what differentiates him from the false self-employed.

In the case of the false self-employed, we find that they are workers who obey the company’s guidelines, who comply with defined timetables and who use the company’s tools to carry out their work, as if they were an employee of the company.

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