More advanced methods are needed to test levels of (‘false’) self-employment

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment aims to put a halt to improper employment relations with a new trial web module. By using this module, employers are enabled to find out whether they can deploy freelancers or have to hire employees. The module consists of several detailed questions about employment relations. Ruben Houweling, professor of Labour Law at Erasmus School of Law, wonders whether this module will serve as a solution to this complex legal problem.

To determine whether the law considers someone a freelancer or an employee, depends on the degree of independence and subordination in the employment relation. “A freelancer is in charge of his own work and uses his own methods. An employer who gets involved with the activities to an extensive degree is a strong indication that the freelancer functions as an employee.”

Houweling approves of the government’s efforts to support the employers in this matter. However, the complexity of the problem makes the module very complicated and often leads to unclear results. The level of involvement of an employer varies between different sectors and types of activities. “I understand why the cabinet wants to develop a test, but the current web module fails to address the diversity of methods used in organisations. To successfully test levels of ‘false’ self-employment more advanced methods should be developed.” Houweling expects that the outcome of the current module will often result in an ‘employment relationship that is difficult to establish’.

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Read the full article here (Dutch)