The failure to tailor laws and regulations hinders the labor market. For example, the DBA law is still causing anti-zzp policies among various clients. This is problematic for the self-employed, but in view of the extreme scarcity in the labor market certainly also for clients. According to Han Kolff, CEO of HeadFirst Group, this requires decisiveness from politicians in The Hague and from clients.

Market maximally oversupplied
It is becoming increasingly complicated for organizations to find talent. Record after record is being broken of the
number of open vacancies, and since the CBS measured the tension in the labor market, the number of vacancies has never before exceeded the number of unemployed. The limits of the flexible labor market have also almost been reached. HeadFirst Group and Intelligence Group showed in the recently released Talent Monitor that the (active) supply of independent professionals (zp'ers) is drying up and the benches at secondment agencies are emptying.

'Anti-zzp policy' still in play
In a time of extreme scarcity, all available talent is needed to keep the economy running. Despite this, various clients still too often exclude an important target group with valuable knowledge: independent professionals. This is the result of the DBA law and the "assessment of the relationship of authority" directive, which still causes nerves.

Since it is not always clear whether there is a relationship of authority between client and contractor - and the Tax Office only assesses afterwards - there is a fear among clients of possible retrospective levies. The Cabinet's earlier decision to suspend enforcement on this as of October 1, 2021, until more is clear about replacement legislation, is a wise choice. It was expected that this would create calm among principals. Unfortunately, little has changed among most clients when it comes to looking at self-employed workers in hiring applications or tenders, as we saw recently at the Municipality of The Hague.

The self-employed are hindered by this, although this is currently disguised by the fact that there is sufficient work for clients who are open to self-employed workers. It is most problematic for clients, who in the war for talent need every target group on the labor market, and certainly the knowledge-intensive group of hundreds of thousands of self-employed in the Netherlands.

Appeal to clients and politicians in The Hague
That principals are looking critically at hiring zp'ers for roles where perhaps someone in permanent employment would make more sense is good. But let go of the widespread fear of hiring self-employed workers. Within the frameworks of the DBA Act, more is possible than is currently happening at various clients. With a clear assignment description with defined results, good guidance for hiring managers on how to avoid a relationship of authority and a critical look at extremely long assignment periods, the expertise that self-employed people have can be used.

In addition, a call to a next cabinet, in line with earlier noises from professors, industry associations and self-employed organizations: get to work quickly on serious labor market reforms. Hold existing rules up to the light and engage in discussions with a broad representation of stakeholders. The pilot of the web module has shown that in certain sectors - such as transport, construction and hospitality - the risk of abuse with zzp constructions is highest. Vulnerable self-employed workers in these sectors deserve protection and benefit from effective enforcement. The €35 guideline in the SER opinion provides guidance for this. Only that removes the tension of the term "authority relationship" at the upper end of the market. That need has only increased with the current scarce labor market.