The difference between an employee and a freelancer

Employee or freelancer: how to choose?

Perhaps you have already asked yourself the question: what would my life be like if I were my own boss? The freedom of freelance status is tempting, but it can also be intimidating compared to the security that comes with a salaried job.

Choosing between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur is not an easy decision, as you will have to make concessions in both cases. Both statuses have their advantages and disadvantages. In the case of entrepreneurship, you will also have to choose between different legal statuses of companies.

The main differences between salaried employees and freelancers concern salary, time management, sick leave arrangements and, above all, the pace and lifestyle. Learn more about these differences to choose the status that best suits your expectations and personality.

Money, income, salary, turnover

The first major difference between a salaried employee and a freelancer is how you make money. While salaried employees usually receive a fixed salary for the work they've done over the last month, freelancers earn a more or less fixed turnover based on their work.

While employees are paid on a certain day of each month, freelancers bill their clients according to their contracts. Clients' invoices can be paid over a certain period of time.

Salaried employees are guaranteed a fixed income at the end of the month, while freelancers depend solely on the contracts they fulfill. Salaried employees are paid on an hourly basis according to the time worked, while freelancers are paid according to what they bill their clients.

However, freelancers have a number of solutions to help them gain financial stability. They can find regular clients that provide the with a monthly income. Moreover, freelancers can choose their own rates, so their remuneration is not capped like salaried employees who are paid a fixed amount.

Time management

The organization of working hours also differs

Salaried workers tend to have a fixed working day. Freelancers, on the other hand, decide for themselves how long they work. They can start work at a time that suits them and finish at a time that suits them. The same goes for weekends, which are fixed for the employee but can be arbitrary for the freelancer.

The choice of working hours seems like a great advantage, but many freelancers will say that this is not the case because they tend to never stop working and therefore can end the working day very late or work on weekends.

The difference between the two statuses is actually time management. A salaried employee has fixed hours: once they are done, they can do something else. Freelancers, on the other hand, can set themselves the same schedule as a salaried employee, or simply set a different rhythm. They also need to be able to stop working when necessary to leave time for rest and personal life.

Sick leave

As you undoubtedly know, being an employee gives you more security. For example, an employee has paid vacation time, as well as health insurance.

Freelancers are also entitled to social security and sick pay, but this inevitably delays their projects. When freelancers don't work, they don't make money.

A freelancer can, however, opt for supplemental health insurance, but they will have to pay the premiums themselves, while a salaried employee directly benefits from supplemental health insurance paid for by their employer.


The real difference between an employee and an freelancer is lifestyle. Choosing to be an employee gives you a framework and above all, security. Since salaried status is the most traditional, most people will follow the same rhythm as you, which means you can organize yourself better. Moreover, you won't have to self-organize because your workday and your rhythm of life are pre-determined for you. You also won't have to worry about money or the risks of taking a sick day or a few vacations.

Freelancing is a completely different lifestyle with more emphasis on freedom. You can choose your own time and place of work, set your own prices, take vacations whenever you want, and so on. On the other hand, a self-employed person will have to know how to organize themselves, find each new client, work independently and be able to free up time for themselves. They will not enjoy the same security as employees who are not in the same scheme.

Bottom line: security vs. freedom

The main differences between salaried and self-employed workers are as follows:

  • Different way of making money - salary for an employee and turnover for a self-employed freelancer.
  • Different way of managing working hours - fixed working hours or free time.
  • More guarantees for the employee - additional health insurance, paid vacation, fixed salary, etc.
  • Different lifestyle - traditional, imposed lifestyle for the employee and individual, free lifestyle for the self-employed.

It is important to be aware of these differences before deciding whether to be an employee or become a freelancer.



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