In the coalition agreement, the government is mainly elaborating on the SER advice on the labor market that was published in June, which is largely in line with a report by the Borstlap committee in January 2020.
More is enforced in the event of ‘a suspicion of being an employer’, according to the coalition agreement. The cabinet mentions the web module, which was tested earlier this year. Clients can fill in a questionnaire in advance with the web module.
By answering questions about, for example, the type of assignment and how it is performed, who determines the remuneration and, for example, the average number of hours, it becomes clear whether there is a fictitious employment contract. In that case, the self-employed person must be employed.
In practice, this often concerns self-employed persons who do the same work for a longer period of time as the people who are employed by the company. The evaluation of the tests with the web module that was sent to the House of Representatives in September showed that self-employed people often had to be employed.
In almost 34 percent of the cases a contract for paid employment had to be offered. In almost ten percent of the cases it was a fictitious employment and only in 28 percent of the cases someone could be hired as a self-employed person. Moreover, in many cases no clear answer could be given.
The cabinet wants to tackle this bogus self-employment, which has also been the subject of several lawsuits in recent years, for example against Deliveroo, but how is not mentioned.
It is also still unclear how the ministers want to prevent the self-employed from being hired as self-employed and not being hired and thus having nothing.
The various trade associations are concerned. “Looking after each other, looking ahead to the future? If by ‘each other’ they mean the employees, then that is correct because the self-employed people mainly get an increase in the burden and we do not read anything back from a future vision on the labor market,” says Roos Wouters of De Werkvereniging, which stands up for ‘Modern Werkenden’.
“The coalition agreement does not provide the self-employed with clarity about their position. The coalition agreement does not put an end to the years of discussion about a fully-fledged position of the self-employed on the labor market,” according to the Dutch Self-Employed Association.
VZN refers to the coalition agreement of the current caretaker cabinet, in which there was still talk of a possible legal separate position for the self-employed. “That aim has disappeared. In this area, the coming cabinet will not get any further than the further development of a web module, which has not yet surpassed the pilot phase.”
VZN is also not happy that the self-employed deduction is slowly disappearing. Self-employed workers are now allowed to deduct 6670 euros from their tax return. This deduction was once introduced to compensate for entrepreneurial risk. Self-employed persons are not entitled to unemployment benefits or sickness benefits.
However, the government believes that the tax differences between employees in paid employment and the self-employed are becoming too great. Something that costs the treasury money, now that there are more and more self-employed.
The deduction will be reduced in steps of 650 euros per year, to a maximum of 1200 euros per year. That is almost 5500 euros less than now and VZN thinks that is too much.
“We argue for a conversion of current tax provisions, such as the self-employed deduction, into a tax incentive to build up their own buffer from which independent entrepreneurs can cover risks such as a drop in demand, old age provision and illness,” says Christel van de Ven, chairman of VZN. .
Secretary of State
The Platform Independent Entrepreneurs has a similar vision. “If you already want to do something about the self-employed deduction, it is better to convert it from a generic facility to a more focused facility. In this way you help entrepreneurs to invest, innovate and grow by hiring people,” says Margreet Drijvers, director of PZO.
VZN would like to see a State Secretary for the Self-Employed be appointed at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ), following the Belgian example. Although the new cabinet will have more ministers, that wish is not granted. There will be a State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs with a new portfolio, but it will concern Mining (including gas extraction in Groningen).
The current caretaker cabinet, which includes the same parties as in the new cabinet, has already been criticized by sector organizations for the self-employed because there was no separate support for the self-employed in the latest support packages.
The Tozo, which self-employed workers could get at the start of the corona crisis, has not been extended despite the lockdown. Since October, self-employed workers who run into financial difficulties have had to rely on the regular assistance for the self-employed, the Bbz. Some conditions have been relaxed in this regard, so that savings are not taken into account.
According to VZN, however, not all municipalities apply the relaxed rules in practice, which means that the self-employed sometimes have no income at all. It would also be ‘mentally different’ to apply for the real assistance instead of the TOZO.
Roos Wouters of the Werkvereniging is also unhappy about the situation for the self-employed. “Opening up the TOZO is the least the cabinet can do, and that is already a scant arrangement compared to the NOW,” she said earlier.