The Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra has provided the musical accompaniment to “Night of the Proms” at the Sportpaleis for nearly three decades. The musicians are often freelancers who also receive maximum support behind the scenes, including from payroll agency Tentoo, which has been serving as the legal employer for freelance musicians without self-employed status for five years.
Half of musicians freelance with self-employed status. They bill themselves. But the other half works with Tentoo, which acts as an employment agency by entering into two types of agreements: a labor agreement between Tentoo and the freelancer, and a commercial agreement between Tentoo and the user (here: the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra vzw). No contract is drawn up between the freelancer and the user, but both parties must make agreements among themselves around the concrete performance of the tasks.
That triangular relationship allows a freelancer to work flexibly, possibly for multiple clients, without therefore taking on self-employed status. Nothing but benefits for the user either, because practical matters, such as payment of fees, are the responsibility of Tentoo. “Five years ago, we did not have much experience with orchestra management. Tentoo immediately proved a great added value,” echoes producer Lode Vereecke and tour manager Mira Van de Vyver. “There are so many things to watch out for and the legislation is surprisingly complex. Too complex to handle all the administration and contracts yourself. For example, the expense allowance for musicians varies from country to country. If we then play in France or Germany, you have to take that into account. Wage administration also requires a lot of attention, since the musicians are paid a certain amount per performance.”
Total peace of mind
“We made inquiries with other payroll agencies at the time, but we always ended up with Tentoo. Especially the smooth approachability gives peace of mind. All communication is fast and smooth, and once we have passed on certain information, we never have to send a reminder. We in turn try to respond just as quickly so that everyone does their part of the work and the musicians benefit,” Lode explains. “By the way, Tentoo is also the best choice for the artists themselves. They are often already paid on a weekly basis. Other payroll agencies prefer to be paid themselves first before they pay the fees to the freelancers. The mutual bond of trust between Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra and Tentoo is therefore very strong.”