Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 08:11
Freelancers to have own pension fund
Freelance workers in The Netherlands will, from next year onwards, be able to choose to put money into a collective pension fund. With this fund, they will also, just like steady employees, be able to save money tax free for their pensions, De Volkskrant reports. Most of the almost 1 million freelancers in The Netherlands today do not have a pension plan. Steadily paid employees build up a pension of 70 percent of their average salaries. Not even a quarter of freelancers puts money aside for this, and do not even come out at half of their earnings if they do. This 'ZZP Pension Scheme' is voluntary and flexible. Freelance and part-time workers can decide for themselves how much to deposit. The fund is an initiative of four freelancer organizations: Foundation ZZP Netherlands, FNV Independents, PZO-ZZP and Independents Construction. These organizations work together with the biggest pension administrator in the country, APG. That pension administrator manages 30 percent of all collective pensions and works for pension funds of the government, education and construction. The most important advantages of this collective pension scheme for freelance workers is the minimization of risk. "By investing collectively, the fund spreads the risks and hopes to achieve higher efficiency", according to Maarten Post, pension expert of CNV Specialist and ZZP Netherlands. The deposits are also tax free. Freelance pension saving is different to the normal fund in that the freelance fund is independent. Every freelancer has an individual pension account, and only makes a claim on his own deposit and efficiency. The funds will go to surviving relatives in case of death, and not in the collective pot. Freelancers who are ill for a long period can use their funds for incapacity benefits. The freelance pension scheme can also be put on hold at any time, such as when the freelancer goes into paid employment again. The scheme is tailored to individual wishes. "The arrangement is simple, and freelancers keep all the freedom", says Louise Beduwé of PZO-ZZP. Charles Verhoef of Independents Construction says that freedom is important as well. "The current possibilities are far too expensive and complicated."