Wednesday 21 April 2021

Disability insurance for freelancers may take years to finalise: Koolmees

Underpayment is a common problem. Photo:

Plans to introduce compulsory disability insurance for freelancers are likely to take ‘years’ to be introduced, caretaker social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has told MPs in a briefing.

The introduction of a compulsory disability insurance package for freelancers and the self-employed stems from the 2019 agreement on reforming pensions and was urged by unions and left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks and the PvdA.

Currently few freelancers take out formal disability insurance and, say unions, this allows them to undercut salaried staff by charging lower fees. The aim is to make sure that the self employed still have an income if they become unable to work through illness.

However, the plans are so complicated – they include an exemption for people who can prove they have sufficient income, for example – that implementing them is taking longer than hoped, Koolmees said.

Although work on the package continues, there are ‘challenges’, Koolmees said, adding that it will be up to the next government to decide exactly what form the insurance should take.

The government is also reducing the size of the freelancer tax allowance in an effort to make self-employment less attractive.

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