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Many students are tempted to register as a self-employed person with the promise of freedom, flexibility, and high gross earnings per hour. However, this is often disappointing in practice. For example, some vacancies get thousands of applications which increases uncertainty and puts pressure on the hourly wages. You are also not made aware of the additional costs such as liability, disability insurance, and administrative costs. Yet many young people choose this construction because they think they have a lot of freedom. Apparently, they don’t know there are alternatives that let them combine freedoms and certainties — yet.

White paper on self-employed workers

FNV recently wrote a white paper about the enormous shift in the labor market. Together with CNV, it has competed with agencies that claim to mediate between the self-employed and clients, but who are actually just temporary employment agencies. According to the two unions, these agencies must adhere to the same rules as temporary employment agencies. This means that they must follow the collective labor agreements, pay pension and provide a social safety net by paying social contributions and taxes. The unions will not shy away from a judicial process to get them right on this issue.

False self-employment

If you work as a self-employed person, you have to meet certain conditions. For example, you have to work for several clients and not at set times. You work independently and may not work under supervision. You must be able to demonstrate that you invest in your company and strive for continuity and profit. You are also at risk, because you are liable for damage, for example. According to the FNV’s white paper, none of the freelancers of these agencies meet any of those conditions. All these duties lie with the self-employed person.

People who perform low-paid work in an especially vulnerable position because they are tempted to become self-employed. It is precisely this group of workers for which the protection of labor law is intended. They earn too little to build up a financial buffer and the recent corona crisis has already clearly demonstrated this.


Students are lured with high hourly rates to work as a self-employed person. But is this hourly rate really as high in practice? Someone who works as a self-employed person in the hospitality industry, for example, gets paid € 15.52 but only receives € 8.16 after fees. That is much less than a temporary worker in the same position (€ 11.40) and even below the statutory minimum wage (9.54) (source: Flexnieuws)

Anna van Buuren