The coalition agreement for self-employed professionals and clients

On October 2018, the coalition agreement of the Rutte III cabinet has become known. Many independent professionals, intermediaries and their clients have been eagerly awaiting the coalition proposals. What do they contain?

The existing legislation is replaced by a new arrangement. There are now three indicators to determine the nature of the working relationship between independent contractor and client. Those three indicators are:

  1. The duration of the assignment
  2. The hourly rate that has been agreed upon.
  3. The nature of the assignment (regular or non-regular business activities).

These indicators are very similar to the recommendations made by the Boot Commission:

  1. The independent contractor always has a contract agreement
  2. The independent contractor is free to choose to remain outside of the income tax and social security atmosphere (‘opt-out’)
  3. After answering a few questions via an online module, the client can obtain a customer statement.

An independent contractor always has a labor contract if:

  1. The hourly rate is below 15 to 18 euros an hour (the exact amount has yet to be determined, but it less relevant in the IT sector).
  2. The assignment involves regular business activities
  3. The assignment involves non-regular business activities and lasts at least three months.

Freelancers can choose the opt-out if:

  1. The agreed hourly rate is € 75 or more (which it usually is in the IT sector)
  2. The assignment involves non-regular business activities
  3. The assignment does involve regular business activities and lasts less than twelve months.

The indicators ‘rate’ and ‘duration of the assignment’ seem clear, but in practice can create problems. There isn’t an hourly rate, but a lump sum, or the fee depends on the milestones in a project, for instance developer getting paid per module. The duration of the assignment could be influenced by giving a freelancer assignments from connected companies.

As far as the duration is concerned, there should be a stipulation that the duration of the assignment is assessed on a full-time basis, in which case a two day a week assignment lasting 24 months would also qualify. The question is, however, what happens when the assignment is extended and lasts longer than 12 months. The most logical step would be for the opt-out to be cancelled. And if that is undesirable, the assignment could be halted and finished at a later date, but the question then becomes how much time there should be between halting and resuming the assignment and whether it will still be seen as one assignment.

Like we have been monitoring legal developments, we will do the same with the new government agreement. For the time being, we will keep working with the model agreements that have been drawn up by the Bovib and approved by the IRS, until the government provides more clarity. As soon as there are relevant developments and/or urgent changes that affect the collaboration with our partners, we will communicate them well in advance. If you have any questions about the government agreement or the model contracts of the Bovib, please contact us via 010 840 9999.