The hot topic: employee unless...

On Thursday, June 30, the Social Affairs and Employment Committee will debate the zzp dossier. Ahead of this debate, ZiPconomy published the report 'Employee, unless ... 8 variants for the replacement of the DBA law' this morning. Packed with interesting insights and a clear overview of the different variants on the table. "We hope that based on the contents of this report a substantive and qualitative debate will be held," said Marion van Happen, CEO of HeadFirst Group.


Different schools of thought brought together
The role and position of the self-employed on the labor market has long been the subject of debate in the Netherlands. The issue: when is someone who performs work for pay an employee or a self-employed person? Previous cabinets have failed to clarify this and several plans have failed for various reasons. In addition, several reports have been published with proposals to move the discussion forward. Ranging from enforcement of existing rules to sweeping legislative changes.

"This report offers a clear overview of all the different proposals made in recent years to replace the DBA law. More importantly, the advantages, disadvantages and consequences for the self-employed and clients are detailed. By combining these insights with the correct facts and figures about the self-employed, politicians in The Hague can come to a well-considered decision."


Take labor market situation into account
Two elaborated variants, including the Borstlap Commission's proposal to make "embedding in the organization" leading in the distinction between employee and self-employment and the ABC test from California, have heavy impact on the freedom of self-employed workers and clients. Given the current tight labor market, it is important not to underestimate these impacts. Employers and clients are crying out for talent and are pulling out all the stops to retain the current population. "That there should be clear rules and frameworks when someone can be hired as a self-employed person, I completely agree. On the other hand, too rigid rules are not desirable, because practice shows that the form of contract is becoming less and less decisive. It is therefore important to deal carefully with laws and regulations concerning work and not to restrict workers too much in their choices," says Van Happen.


Belgian model good alternative
The report also highlights the Belgian model with the Labor Relations Act. This model - also described in the report 'Independence, flexibility and social security. A look across the border.' - has many advantages. Van Happen says: "In Belgium, the issue of false self-employment is effectively combated by (1) having a clear set of criteria as to whether a person may perform an assignment as a self-employed person, (2) looking more at the aspects of entrepreneurship and (3) having stricter rules in sectors where the risk of underpayment or vulnerable workers is high. That combination of factors works well in Belgium, so it is interesting to investigate whether we can adopt the positive aspects and improve the less good aspects in the Netherlands."

The legislation in Belgium has now also been noticed in Dutch politics. During the debate on labor market policy on April 13, Minister Karien van Gennip explicitly referred to the situation in the South's neighbors, and MPs Smals (VVD) and Palland (CDA) earlier also called attention to it.

And now?
For now, it is not clear what the next step will be from Minister Van Gennip. Last Thursday, Parliamentary questions about enforcement of the DBA law were answered by the minister. Before the summer there will be an outline letter to the Lower House about the elaboration of the labor market package. Finally, there will be a response to the report of the Court of Audit before the ZZP debate on June 30. HeadFirst Group follows the developments closely and stays in close contact with MPs and policy staff.

The full report is available for free download here.