The Employment Relationships Deregulation Act (wet DBA)

The Employment Relationships Deregulation Act (DBA Act) is a law relating to self-employed professionals and their clients. Its goal is to give clarity about the employment relationship between the client and entrepreneur. You can check whether you are self-employed or an employee. With a model agreement, you can avoid false self-employment.

Prevent false self-employment with DBA Act

False self-employment is a situation where you take on an assignment as an entrepreneur, but your situation is closer to paid employment. Together with your client, you are responsible for deciding on the working relationship you enter into.

Use the Tax Administration's flow chart (in Dutch) to check whether you are self-employed or salaried. If you are not sure, use a model agreement (in Dutch). This is a basic agreement which defines the relationship between you and your client. The Netherlands Tax Administration provides model agreements for most situations. Together with your client, you decide which model agreement suits your situation. By following the terms in the model agreement, you prevent false self-employment. Using a model agreement is not a legal requirement, however, it can provide more certainty.

Does the Tax Administration see you as a false self-employed person? Then there are risks for both you and your client. For example, an additional tax assessment, a fine, or even the loss of possible tax benefits.

‘Free substitution' terminated

The Tax Administration withdrew the ‘free substitution' (vrije vervanging) model agreements on 1 January 2024. These are the general model agreements, branch agreements and individual agreements, which are based on free substitution.

The reason for this withdrawal is a Supreme Court ruling. This states that in case of free replacement employment can still be possible.

Upcoming changes to the law

The government does not fully enforce the DBA Act. But the Tax Administration will take action if the client deliberately breaks the rules or does not follow the given instructions.

A new law is being drawn up, the Labour relations clarification and legal presumption act (Wet verduidelijking beoordeling arbeidsrelaties en rechtsvermoeden). The new law aims to create a more level playing field between self-employed and salaried employees. It will also be clearer when work is done as an employee, and when work is done as a self-employed person. Furthermore, the enforcement of false self-employment will be improved.

Furthermore, enforcement on false self-employment will be improved. The Handhavingsplan arbeidsrelaties 2023 is an enforcement plan that sets out how the government intends to strengthen and improve enforcement around labour relations.

Model agreements are valid for 5 years

A model agreement is valid for 5 years after it is approved by the Tax Administration (in Dutch). The Tax Administration states until when the model agreement is valid. Reusing an expired model agreement no longer offers certainty. You cannot find expired model agreements on the Tax Administration’s website.

Do you want to continue using a model agreement? The original applicant can apply for an extension from the Tax Administration (in Dutch). It is advised to do this at least 2 months before the expiry date. If the original applicant does not arrange an extension, use another model agreement. You can adjust parts of the model agreement to better suit your situation.

Web Module Assessing Employment Relationships (WBA)

Many clients do not understand what rules apply to hiring self-employed professionals. In order to provide more clarity, they can consult the Web Module Assessing Employment Relationships (Webmodule Beoordeling Arbeidsrelatie, WBA). This is an online survey. By answering the questions, your client can see if the assignment will be regarded as paid employment or not.

The module can produce three possible results: 

  1. Indicates not employment 
  2. Indicates employment
  3. No opinion 

Using the web module is not required by law. The result is an indication and is not legally binding. The web module is only for clients based in the Netherlands outsourcing a job to a self-employed professional in the Netherlands. 

Not self-employed

Sometimes the court makes a ruling on whether someone is self-employed or an employee. For example, a Dutch Supreme Court ruled (in Dutch) that the takeaway delivery staff of Deliveroo are employees. Previously, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that delivery drivers of the British company are not self-employed and have an employment contract. A number of PostNL delivery drivers and Uber drivers were also deemed employees by the court in Amsterdam.