Friday 29 April 2016

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Most freelancers unaware of end of VAR certification issues


Two thirds of freelancers in the Netherlands have no idea what the end of the VAR certification system will mean for them, according to research carried out for BNR Radio. On May 1, tax office-issued VAR certificates will no longer be considered proof that someone is self employed. Instead they are being replaced by individual contracts between freelancer and client. Of the 200 freelancers questioned by BNR, 48% knew something was changing in their status but not exactly what and 19% had no idea any changes were coming into effect. And almost 25% of those polled said information about what the changes mean is hard to find or impossible to understand. In effect, freelancers will have to sign a contract with all their clients which shows they are self employed. This means they must use their own tools, must be free to carry out the work as they thing fit and must be replaceable - ie not a key member of a team. Liability Contracts are not compulsory but if the tax office decides that a freelancer is effectively an employee, the employer will be liable for social insurance premiums and other payments. In the current set-up, premiums are the responsibility of the freelancer. The government has brought in a change-over period of one year to try and says tax officials will take a lenient approach until 2017. The government says the aim of the changes is to prevent companies treating freelancers as ordinary members of staff without picking up the tab for sick pay, holiday pay and social insurance. More information Tax office (Dutch only) FAQs (Dutch only)  More >

Minimum pay for teens set to go up

Jobs The minimum wage for youngsters is to be increased slightly and the age at which adult rates kicks in will be reduced in stages from 23 to 21, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher is set to announce later today. The plan is one of several contained in a new package of measures aimed at getting more people into work. The package has been put together with employers and unions, and unions in particular have been keen to see changes to youth pay. Currently one in six of the under-23s earns the minimum wage, compared with one in 20 people on adult incomes. An 18-year-old on minimum pay earns €32 a day before tax and premiums. The over-22s earn €70. The minister is also expected to announce changes to the way seasonal workers are employed and help for small firms faced with paying ill workers sick pay for two years.   More >

Thousands queue up to quit the tax office

Jobs A special bonus for tax office staff who agree to resign is proving extremely popular and so far 4,200 people have signed up for it, according to the AD. The ruling was introduced at the beginning of February in an effort to help the tax office cut its workforce by 5,000. The payout, a maximum €75,000, is based on length of service and current salary. Unions say the success of the offer has raised concerns that too many well-qualified staff want to leave and that the jobs are being cut too quickly. The aim had been to phase in the redundancies between now and 2023. A spokesman for the finance ministry has confirmed the 'great enthusiasm' but says the talks with individual workers are currently exploratory. 'Not everyone [who has expressed an interest] will actually use the ruling,' a spokesman said.   More >

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