Employers drop support for new rules on freelancers

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The two big Dutch employers organisations have dropped their support for the new rules on employing freelancers, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday.

In particular, the changes have made companies afraid of bringing in freelancers and have made 500,000 self employed people question their future, the employers say.

Since the beginning of May, tax office-issued VAR certificates are no longer considered proof that someone is self employed. Instead they have been replaced by individual contracts between freelancer and client.

While contracts are not compulsory, if the tax office decides that a freelancer is effectively an employee, the employer will be liable for social insurance premiums and other payments.

Sham self-employment

The aim of the changes is to stamp out sham self-employment, but in practice, companies are dropping their freelancers, critics say. Almost a quarter of employers questioned for an FD poll said they are using fewer freelancers, while 8% of freelancers told the paper they had lost contracts.

‘It has to be done completely differently,’ Hans de Boer, chairman of the VNO-NCW told the paper in an interview. He wants junior finance minister Erik Wiebes, who is responsible for the DBA legislation, to suspend it for two years while a new approach is worked out.

Meanwhile, new figures from the national statistics office CBS show around one million people earn all or most of their income from freelance work. The figure is unchanged from the start of the year and there has been a slight rise in people closing down their businesses.

Some 40% of freelancers, or zzp’ers in Dutch, have a college or university degree.

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