Employers: social security system should include freelancers (update)

The Dutch social security system should be overhauled to cover freelancers and the self-employed, employers’ organisation AWVN said on Monday.

The AWVN, which represents over 750 companies, says everyone should be insured against the financial impact of unemployment, invalidity and long-term illness and should have to build up a supplementary pension as well.

They should also build up funds to spend on education and training, the AWVN says. The plan does not, as yet, go into detail about how all this should be funded.

Consumer spending

‘The social security system needs to be completely overhauled so that everyone in work can make a claim on it, whatever their contract,’ the AWVN says.

The current system is creating a gulf between people on permanent contracts and freelancers and uncertainty about freelancer finances is hurting consumer spending, the AWVN says. ‘This is hampering economic growth and job creation,’ spokesman Harry van de Kraats said.

At present, only around one-third of the one million self-employed in the Netherlands have some form of invalidity insurance and around half have a private pension scheme.


Organisations representing the self employed were critical of the AWVN plan, describing it as ‘total nonsense’ and ‘total rubbish’.

‘It is very strange for employers to come up with suggestions for freelancers,’ said Johan Marrink, chairman of ZZP Nederland. In particular, the suggestion that freelancers be insured against unemployment is unworkable, he said.

Jerry Helmers of ZZP Network Nederland said a distinction needs to be made between people who opt to be self employed and people who lose their jobs and are then re-employed on freelance contracts.

The number of ‘fake’ self-employed will only be reduced when redundancy law is overhauled to stop employers taking advantage of unwilling freelancers, he said.

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