DBA act

The Deregulation Assessment of Labour Relations Act (DBA in Dutch) has been in place since May 2016. However, there have been amendments in the act recently. The legislative piece will be abolished in the future and will be replaced by another arrangement. For the time being, the no amendments will take place. However, there is a lot of ambiguity with regard to this law and its replacement. On this page we keep track of how the act and its replacement will affect you as a self-employed or client.

The DBA act was introduced to tackle the fake self-employment right at the bottom of the market. These false self-employed persons would be a danger to the market and national treasury. The underlying reason is the tax advantages and benefits that are associated with the self-employment. Because of this fact, the tax authorities have asked to look more critically at these self-employed. In addition, the 2014 cabinet found that too many flexible employees were used by companies. The government, for example, thought that companies avoided ‘ordinary employees’ because they could use a self-employed person in the same position with more advantages. For example, because they did not have to pay wage tax and national insurance contributions to the latter.

The DBA Act, or at least the model agreements, were tested by the Boot Committee on request. These model agreements were the general versions prepared by the tax authorities. However, after analysis (on the basis of labour laws), it appeared that there is no good criterion for testing these agreements. In addition, it also looks that the equality of justice is not guaranteed. All in all, the DBA Act, therefore, does not meet the objectives set out for it. All this, of course, causes a lot of uncertainty for freelancers and clients, because they have to check extra well whether the model agreements are good enough and compliant with the law. This ambiguity signals that the law will be replaced again, which was also confirmed by Minister Koolmees. He informed the prime in a letter, that the replacement of the DBA Act must take place in 2020.

The law, as it is now, ensures that model agreements must be made between freelancer and client. These are contract models and have been approved in advance by the tax authorities. In such a model, contractual conditions between the client and employee are described in such a way that no employment relationship arises.

signing an agreement
Drawing of a model agreement based on the DBA Act

Even if the DBA Act is being replaced, that does not mean that you no longer have to take this into consideration. The law is not enforced until there are criteria that make it clear what an apparent self-employed person is exactly. That means, no fines until July 2018, but law enforcement is applied to those with ”malicious” intentions – someone who deliberately deviates from the law.

As mentioned earlier, the general agreements of the tax authorities are not sufficient. These agreements contain parts that must be included, but as a self-employed person or client, there must certainly be more subjects than the agreements of the tax authorities make available.

The DBA Act will no longer exist in the near future. The replacement of the act is a client statement on the basis of a web module and opt-out scheme, which should counteract fake employment. These modules and schemes are developed in collaboration with social partners and field parties. This construct stems from the coalition agreement and shall later be developed into a clearer concept statement. The development process will take place starting in 2018. The end product must be active from January 2020.

Due to the changes that the DBA Act entails, we have entered into a dialogue with our branch organization for intermediaries and brokers (BOVIB) and the tax authorities. This has resulted in the approval of a model agreement that fits our services. In concrete terms, this means that we have switched to the use of model agreements for both the freelancer and the client. We will continue to apply these approved agreements until the replacement of the law takes place.

As an intermediary, we want to keep all our clients, partners and candidates well informed ont he possible changes ont he DBA topic. Please, follow us on social media – LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up to date.