On November 16, 2020, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and the State Secretary of Finance - Taxation and Fiscal Service -, also on behalf of the State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Climate, informed the House of Representatives about the current state of affairs and the follow-up steps regarding the measures envisaged in the coalition agreement in the field of "self-employment.

The web module

This sixth progress letter provided an update on the status of the web module and the previously announced pilot. The government is developing this tool to give clients clarity and - where possible - certainty about the qualification of the employment relationship for payroll taxes. The pilot is expected to start on Jan. 11, 2021, and will last at least six months. Subsequently, the pilot will be evaluated in the summer of 2021 and a decision on a possible introduction will be made.

The objective of this pilot is to test in practice whether the web module is actually helpful for clients in clarifying the earth of the employment relationship and - if necessary - in shaping the employment relationship. The following outcomes are possible:

  • Principal's declaration: the assignment may be performed outside employment (for example, by a self-employed person).
  • Employment indication: there are strong indications of (fictitious) employment.
  • No judgment possible: based on the answers given, it is not clear whether there is work outside employment or work in employment.

During the pilot phase, the above outcomes have no legal status. The pilot serves mainly as an information tool, so clients cannot derive any certainty from the outcome. In addition, a help desk will be set up for clients to ask additional questions. The help desk does not provide advice, but is intended to support the interpretation of questions and answers.

Supervision and enforcement

In the 2017 coalition agreement, "Confidence in the Future," the phasing out of the enforcement moratorium is linked to the introduction of new legislation that provides more clarity on the nature of the employment relationship. After the aforementioned pilot has ended, the Cabinet will decide at what point enforcement will be phased in. The earliest date will be October 21, 2021. This does not mean that the Tax and Customs Administration and the Inspectorate SZW will not conduct supervision (company visits, providing information and book audits). However, the Tax and Customs Administration can only enforce if there is malicious intent or if instructions are not followed within a reasonable period of time. Between October 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020, a total of 155 companies were investigated. Those visits revealed a great need for information on the applicable laws and regulations. In the "Progress Report on Supervision of Working Relationships," State Secretary Vijlbrief reported that no "malicious" client has yet been found.

Platform Work

In the previous progress letter, the Cabinet indicated that it was concerned about the position of platform workers and wanted to examine how their position could be strengthened. In the Cabinet's response to the report of the Commission for the Regulation of Work, it was indicated that the route initially investigated to realize this through the Law on the Allocation of Workers by Intermediaries (Waadi) was not an obvious one. In the coming months, the government will make a start with the elaboration of a legal presumption around platform work and will investigate whether such a legal presumption can indeed strengthen the legal position of platform workers in practice. The elaboration will be discussed with the European Commission in order to see whether a legal presumption that is tenable under European law can be achieved.

Disability insurance for the self-employed

In the pension agreement it was agreed that there will be a statutory insurance obligation against the risk of disability for the self-employed. The Cabinet intends to adopt the earlier advice of the social partners. Work is currently being done in cooperation with various parties on a feasible, explainable and affordable regulation. The Cabinet aims to share more information on the progress of this scheme with the outside world before the end of this year.