The intention of the Employment Relationships (Deregulation) Bill is to replace the current system of the Declaration of Independent Contractor Status (Verklaring arbeidsrelatie; VAR) with a more robust system that works with model contracts that have been assessed in advance by the Dutch tax authorities. On October 19, 2015 the Deputy Minister of Finance asked the Upper House to postpone the intended effective date from January 1, 2016 to April 1, 2016.
By postponing the government hopes to satisfy the wishes of both the organizations representing self-employed persons without employees and the unions as well as the employer organizations. It will give the organizations involved more time to prepare for a smooth transition.
In addition, the Deputy Minister proposed an implementation period until January 1, 2017, to give all contracting and contracted parties ample time to adjust their working practices. The Dutch tax authorities will monitor events during the implementation period, but will not take any repressive enforcement measures. That will be the case as of 2017 and enforcement can take place with retroactive effect to the date the bill took effect.
The Deputy Minister also indicated that:
- contracts presented to the Dutch tax authorities before February 1, 2016 will be assessed before April 1, 2016 and may be published;
- the bill does not have retroactive effect, so that until it becomes effective contracting parties can rely on the indemnification provided by the VAR;
- the Dutch tax authorities will continue to always act on cases that are manifestly fraudulent.
The Dutch tax authorities have now published various general and sector-specific model contracts on their website.
A new date for the vote on the bill in the Upper House has not yet been set.