Fifteen pct. of self-employed below poverty line

A study done by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) shows that one in six self employed people are living below the poverty line.

In total 15 percent of self employed people without employees are poor. According to the SCP this is in part due to changing sources of income, but also expensive costs like pension and insurance. Only 3 percent of employed people (people working for a salary) are below the poverty line. Poverty is also more common under freelancers than employees during good economic years.

39 percent of self employed people have received at least one benefit due to unemployment or disability. Among employed people, that share was 30 percent. According to the SCP this means that the policy hypothesis that especially people with a strong work position become freelancers, is wrong.

Despite the greater percentage of poor freelancers, they are more satisfied with their jobs than employees. Only a small portion (6%) of self employed would prefer permanent employment as an employee.

According to the SCP a study of possibilities to tackle poverty among the self employed is desirable. A policy that applies to all freelancers may not be practical, since the freelancers individual incomes differ drastically from each other.

About a million people work as independent contractors in the Netherlands. According to Statistics Netherlands, this is 11 percent of all workers. Freelancers work mainly in construction, healthcare and the culture sector.


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