The government pays too little attention to the growing number of individuals who are self-employed, despite their increasing importance to the economy, says a report by the FNV trade union federation.
The report makes 22 recommendations on how the government could improve the situation of the so-called ZZP-ers, or one-man companies.
These include changing regulations to allow the self-employed to claim tax deductions for work space, offering affordable insurance against long-term illness and invalidity, reducing paperwork and allowing agreements on minimum tariffs in certain sectors.
The union also wants the 1,225 hour minimum which people must devote to their own companies to be eligible for tax breaks to be made more flexible.
Estimates on how many self-employed people there are in the Netherlands vary from 410,000 to 800,000. The FNV puts the number at 500,000 but says this will grow to 750,000 within a decade. Most work in construction, business services, the media and the arts.
Junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk told the Volkskrant that he wants to improve the position of the self-employed, who represent a growing economic interest for the country.
‘In the past regulations have not taken enough account of the small-scale self-employed. You can’t confront this group with the same amount of regulation as a multinational,’ he said.
Heemskerk told the paper that he is supporting an experiment in Rotterdam, Lelystad and Leeuwarden which will offer microcredit to people who are unemployed and want to start their own business. The government will guarantee loans offered to this group by commercial banks.
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