Mandatory disability insurance for freelancers will be difficult to implement, experts say
The government’s plan for mandatory disability insurance for freelancers will be challenging to implement, expects Ton Wilthagen, a Labor Market professor at Tilburg University. The number of freelancers and self-employed in the Netherlands continues to grow, but most of them cannot afford insurance. “There is little enthusiasm for this scheme. That can make it very difficult for the Minster,” Wilthagen told NU.nl.
Mandatory disability cover for freelancers and self-employed is one of the measures in Minister Karien van Gennip’s (Social Affairs and Employment) plan to give workers in the Netherlands more certainty. It should provide freelancers with a safety net for when they get ill.
But this policy won’t make the labor market a friendlier place for freelancers, Wilthagen said. He expects this growing part of the labor market to resist the plan, making it hard to implement.
Charles Verhoef, chairman of Zelfstandigen Bouw, the largest organization for self-employed persons in the construction center, expects the same. According to him, the Cabinet is only making self-employment more expensive. “We are not necessarily against compulsory insurance, but let the freelancers decide for themselves with whom they do this,” Verhoef said. “As Cabinet, ensure certain preconditions that freelancers must meet.”
Then freelancers can go to an insurer or a “bread fund,” in which self-employed people save together for if one of them is unable to work due to illness. “There are already enough affordable alternatives. The mandatory state disability cover will cost a freelancer about 200 euros per month in premiums. And the benefit in the event of illness is around the social assistance level. That won’t help us,” Verhoef said.