New self-employed law is scaring off employers

Junior finance minister Eric Wiebes.

Business group at the officeA new and controversial law governing the relationship between the self-employed  and their clients has led to a drop in work, with some freelancers even throwing in the towel completely, writes Trouw.

The paper bases its claims on figures provided by ABN Amro, the federation of private employment agencies ABU and associations for the self-employed.

In the second quarter there were 5,000 fewer self-employed compared with last year, according to research by ABN Amro. A survey carried out by ABU showed 4% of freelancers had lost contracts while ZZP Nederland’s said as many as one in 10 were losing work.

The new law (DBA), which came in six months ago, abolished the VAR, a declaration of independent contractor status, and replaced it with a model contract in which both parties are responsible for the status of the person contracted to do a job.

Sham employment

One aim of the new legislation is to weed out people who are said to be ‘sham self-employed’, usually people with one client who is often a previous employer. In 2014 ZPP Nederland put the number of ‘fake self-employed’ workers at one in every 13, or some 7.7%.

But the implementation of the new law is hurting legitimate self-employed people as well. According to  ZPP Nederland chairman Maarten Post, the main problem is an inept tax office over which the junior minister ‘has little control’.

‘The information given out by the tax office is scarce and confusing. Questions remain unanswered and this is scaring off employers. Moreover, the model contracts submitted to the tax office are taking far too long to be processed. Meanwhile the legitimate self-employed are losing their livelihoods,’ Post told the paper.

Post has started a petition to change the law, which will be reviewed in three years’ time. Some 3,000 people have signed already.

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