Wednesday 21 April 2021

Transport ministry seeks freelancer to work two weeks for free


The transport ministry’s roads department is advertising for an advisor who is prepared to work the first two weeks of a two-month contract for free, the AD reported on Wednesday.

Rabobank too is asking freelancers to work for a period for no pay for a short ‘working in’ period, the paper said. The move is part of a growing trend, particularly in the IT sector.

Labour MP Gijs van Dijk has described the ministry request, included in the official job description, as a ‘scandal’. ‘It is like the wild west on the jobs market and the government should distance itself from this,’ he said. ‘The government should set an example.’

Freelancer lobby group ZZP Nederland is also furious. ‘I’d like to tell the plumber that I won’t pay him today but might tomorrow,’ chairman Maarten Post said. ‘I don’t think a single plumber would agree.’

A transport ministry spokesman said the ‘zero tariff’ clause is only used in specific cases, and blamed the jobs agency HeadFirst for its introduction. The agency said it is required to absorb the costs of training someone up if a temporary worker quits before the end of the contract.

‘The ministry knows our business model,’ HeadFirst spokesman Bart van der Geest told the AD, adding that the small margins on contracts made this clause essential.

Rabobank spokeswoman Nanne van Nunen told paper that the clause is standard within the market. ‘Freelancers in IT usually get long contracts, and commitment is expected,’ she said.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.