WIBA IT has been following developments regarding the DBA Act for some time now. For example, we attended several Bovib knowledge sessions and we also visited the Binnenhof to discuss this special law. Last Friday the news came that the enforcement of this law will be suspended until at least January 1, 2020. What does this suspension mean for all freelancers of WIBA IT and in the Netherlands?
The postponement of the monitoring of the DBA Act has been extended to January 1, 2020, according to Minister Koolmees (Social Affairs and Employment) and Secretary Snel (Finance) in a letter to the Dutch Parliament. The initial postponement was until July 1, 2018. So the government will have another 18 months to make sure everything runs smoothly.
In the IT sector, that is relatively easy to demonstrate. Some jobs require a pretty unique knowledge, like Delphi and Hadoop, which often involved complex environments being built or adapted. And although there are other specialists who also have the required knowledge, they don’t to the same extent as an independent professional.
Things are different for independent postmen working for a package delivery service, whose activities overlap with those of people who are on the organization’s payroll. The work is the same which means there is a situation that is in violation of the new legislation, in that freelancers are only brought in to fill the gaps.
In the case of bad intentions, the IRS will enforce the new law. And more strictly than before. “As per July 1, enforcement is no longer limited to the most serious cases, but will also include the other companies with bad intent, in response to growing unrest regarding false self-employment, especially in the lower segment of the labor market.” The government also refers to a motion from the Dutch Parliament to counter constructions like the one used by Deliveroo.
Deliveroo is deliberately exploring the boundaries of the law, incidentally, to have a clearer idea of what is and isn’t allowed. Is has been suggested, for instance, that the company doesn’t want to ensure its freelancers, because that might be interpreted as employment.
The Minister has indicated that consultation with the field will go on. And before the Summer of 2018, the government will submit a framework proposal to the Dutch Parliament, in which it will be made clear, among other things, how the concept of ‘authority’ is to be interpreted, which is a major obstacle in the current version of the law.
“The government wants the new legislation and regulation to match when goes on in practice. That is why parties from the field, like freelance organizations, and employee and employer organizations are included in the implementation.”