The Dutch government is considering bringing in a minimum freelance rate of €16 a hour to protect people at the bottom of the self-employment pile, broadcaster NOS said on Friday, quoting cabinet sources.
The minimum rate, which was mooted in the 2017 coalition agreement, would be introduced in 2021. Economic research bureau SEO estimates some 85,000 freelancers earn less than €16 per hour, mainly working in farming, the care services and as delivery workers or taxi drivers.
Some 1.2 million people in the Netherlands are thought to earn all or part of their income through freelance work. The coalition agreement also states that employers should offer permanent contracts to staff paid below the minimum rate, but this may conflict with EU regulations, NOS said.
The NOS report comes on the same day that a government committee published its recommendations for bridging the gap between permanent and flexible contracts.
That committee, set up by social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees, recommends that everyone in work – whether self employed or on a permanent or flexible contract – should have the same right to invalidity benefit coverage and retraining.
The current system, with a growing number of freelance and low paid workers without adequate insurance ‘ is undermining social cohesion and our economic strength,’ commission chief Hans Borstlap, a former senior civil servant, said.
The committee also recommends abolishing tax breaks available for the self employed and to make it more expensive for employers to use freelance staff.
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