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Netherlands – Government wants pension scheme for self-employed

19 March 2013

The Dutch government announced plans on Monday to establish a voluntary collective pension scheme for independent contractors, known as ZZP’ers in the Netherlands. A public statement reads that the government is willing to co-operate with independent organisations to formalise plans.

ZZP’ers determine their own terms of employment, such as hourly rates, and are also responsible for paying their own social security contributions and taxes. Currently, they cannot take part in collective insurances and instead have to use private insurance schemes.

A study recently revealed that self-employed people in the Netherlands often have other priorities than investing in their own pensions and use spare money to finance their own companies. Some are unable to maintain their lifestyles after retirement with half of ZZP’ers living on pensions relating to 70% or more of their gross annual income.

A quarter have to make do with a share of their gross annual income ranging between 50% and 70% while the remaining quarter rely on less than half of what they previously earned. The study said that self-employed persons tend to procrastinate planning for their retirement with the government keen to support independent contractors in the future.

In 2010, there were almost one million ZZP’ers in the Netherlands, representing just under 10% of the total Dutch workforce, according to the national statistics office (CBS). They have rapidly grown at a rate of 5.3% every year since 2004 due to the Flexibility and Security Act that aimed to foster more entrepreneurship in the country.

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