Schools afraid to use freelancers even with teacher shortage
Despite the massive staff shortages in education, many schools refuse to hire freelancers because they worry about additional assessments and fines if it turns out later that the freelancer is seen as an employee, BNR reports. Various freelancers' and self-employeds' associations call this a shame because using freelancers could prevent classes from being sent home because no teacher could be found.
Uncertainty about the DBA act is causing this hesitance, according to chairman Cristel van de Ven of the Dutch self-employed association VZN. The law is intended to make clear when there is an employment relationship. "But the government has been saying for years: the law is there, but we are not going to enforce it. At the same time, we know that enforcement will start at some point." So schools are playing it safe and stopped working with freelancers.
Politicians have also been pushing for fewer self-employed people in education for years. The argument is that self-employed workers are more expensive and thus an improper use of public money, according to BNR.
Secondary schools' council VO-Raad confirmed that the majority of secondary schools don't use freelancers. Schools would rather give someone a temporary contract than hire them as self-employed. In addition to the risk of fictitious employment, schools also worry that teachers will terminate their contract and start working as freelancers, endangering the continuity of education, the VO-Raad said to the broadcaster.
Primary schools' council PO-Raad said that it uses "the principle that permanent work is done by employees with a permanent contract as much as possible." Primary education is one of the sectors with the highest percentage of permanent contracts. "We believe that schools should exercise restraint in deploying temporary workers, payroll employees, and self-employed persons. But in exceptional cases, the importance of good education for the students comes first," the PO-Raad said.