Coalition agreement (regeerakkoord): what entrepreneurs can expect

After a 9-month formation period, the government presented the coalition agreement (regeerakkoord) on Wednesday 15 December. The coalition agreement states what the government wants to do and achieve in the coming period. For example, the minimum wage will gradually increase by 7.5%, there will be a climate fund of 35 billion euros, and around 100,000 new houses will be built every year. In this article, we have listed the most important points from the coalition agreement 2021 - 2025 for entrepreneurs.

The new government presents its plans in the coalition agreement. They are then discussed in the House of Representatives. During the term of office, the plans return as proposals for laws and regulations.

1. Environment

Government wants to help SMEs more sustainable business

The government wants to allow companies to become more sustainable and to make this easier for entrepreneurs. SMEs will have access to the National Heat Fund (in Dutch) and regulations for increasing sustainability must become simpler.

Road pricing as of 2030

The new government wants to introduce road pricing in 2030. The amount of motor vehicle tax will then depend on the number of kilometres driven per year. This system will soon apply to both electric cars and fossil fuel cars.

35 billion for climate and energy transition

In the coming 10 years, the government will reserve 35 billion euros for the so-called climate and transition fund. This money will be used to make buildings, industry, mobility, and the energy supply more sustainable. The new government is also tightening the CO2 reduction targets, to 55% in 2030, 70% in 2035, and 80% in 2040. There will be a dedicated minister for Climate and Energy.

Energy mix to change, nuclear energy to be investigated

The government will continue to stimulate the supply of renewable energy sources, such as geothermal heat and hydrogen. The government wants to abolish financial incentives for the use of fossil fuels. The new government is also looking into the possibilities of building 2 new nuclear power stations, so that in time they can reduce our dependence on gas.

2. Nitrogen

There will be a transition fund of cumulative 25 billion until 2035 to tackle changes in agriculture and nature. Dealing with the nitrogen crisis is part of this.

All sectors must make a proportionate contribution to reducing nitrogen and improving conditions for nature. The targets for this must now be achieved by 2030, instead of 2035.

3. Housing

The government is speeding up housing development to around 100,000 homes a year. At least two-thirds of the homes must be affordable rental homes or homes for sale up to the limit of the National Mortgage Guarantee.  In addition, the government aims to have 15,000 temporary homes built annually and an extra 15,000 units through the transformation of offices into homes. 

4. Taxes

The government wants to simplify the tax system by ending several allowances. It wants to spend around 3 billion euros on lowering the tax expenses for minimum and average incomes.

The private business ownership allowance will be phased out at a quicker rate of €650 per year. By 2030, the amount will be reduced to €1200. As a compensation, private business owners will be eligible for a higher general tax credit.

Taking over a family business will become easier and fairer. The new rules will also prevent the abuse of tax schemes.

5. Innovation

Startups or scale-ups that focus on transition will receive support. This concerns businesses in the sectors climate and energy, digitalisation, key technologies such as AI and quantum computing, and the circular economy.

Social entrepreneurs can make use of the new social private limited company (bv-m).

Collaboration between the private and public sector in the fields of knowledge and innovation remains a key topic in the policies for businesses. The Top sector policy remains, and there will be a new fund for research and science, to invest in knowledge and innovation.

6. Staff

Minimum hourly wage

The government wants to implement a minimum hourly wage, based on the 36-hour working week. This minimum wage will be increased by steps of 7.5%. The raise will also apply to social benefits, excluding the general pension (AOW). There will be an allowance for the elderly to compensate for the difference in income.

The differences between employees with fixed contracts and those with flexible contracts will become smaller. The contracts for on-call employees, temporary workers, and agency workers will be improved.

Government, educational institutions, and companies will make a pact to make sure that every student in vocational studies (mbo) will receive an internship with a fitting compensation.

7. Employment market

The government wants to implement a number of major reforms in the employment market. It will invest a total of 500 million euros per year in reforming the employment market, re-integration, and dealing with poverty and debts. The government also allocates 300 million euros to helping SMEs continue their payments to employees on sick leave.

The Online employment relationship evaluation tool (WBA) will be further developed. The tool helps self-employed professionals without staff (zzp’ers) and their clients to recognise what type of work relationship they are in.

The government hopes to curb sham employment by enforcing the rules against it.

There will be an occupational disability insurance for self-employed professionals (AOV), which aims to prevent unfair competition and overly high income risks for individuals.

8. Safety and subversion

The government reserves 1 billion euros for safety: among other things, fighting subversion and reinforcing the police and intelligence organisations. The government will also be stricter on cybercrime, and invest in cyber expertise.

SMEs will have easier access to legal processes: the government will lower the court registry duties by 25%.

Companies and company directors who facilitate subversive criminality, launder money, or commit environmental crime can expect stricter treatment from the justice department.

‘Guardians of the constitutional state’, such as journalists, lawyers, and judges, will receive better protection. The fund to ensure the safety of independent journalists will be continued.

The Regulation of sex work Act (Wet Regulering Sekswerk) will give sex workers a stronger legal foothold, giving them access to insurances, business bank accounts, and financial services.

The government will be stricter with care providers who act unethically and will fight excessive profit distribution payments by care providers.

9. Debt

The government wants to prevent or solve problem debts as much as possible by focusing on financial education, prevention, and early detection. Under certain conditions, civil society organisations may share signals about vulnerable persons. For people in financial difficulties, the duration of debt relief processes will be shortened and access to the Natural Persons Debt Rescheduling Act (Wet schuldsanering natuurlijke personen, WSNP) will be improved.

10. Mobility

Structurally more towards infrastructure and transport

The new government will structurally invest 1.25 billion euros in improving and maintaining roads, bridges, tracks, viaducts, and waterways. The government is also investing money in public transport, a better European train network, and the promotion of bicycle traffic.

The tax-free travel allowance will increase. On the other hand, the government also wants to meet with companies to make agreements about personnel working from home.

In addition, the tax on airline tickets will increase. The proceeds will go towards making the aviation sector more sustainable. The government is also encouraging electric transport.

11. Combining work/care

Substantial allowance for childcare

The reimbursement for childcare for children up to the age of 12 will gradually increase for working parents to 95%. Ultimately, that will go up to 100%. This way, the government makes it easier for parents to work. The government will pay the allowance directly to childcare institutions, so that parents no longer have to deal with large repayments. Ultimately, the government wants to completely abolish the childcare benefit in the tax system.

Paid parental leave will increase from 50 to 70%. Employees are entitled to 9 weeks of leave from the UWV.

12. Industry Developments

  • The government will invest 170 million euros per year in the cultural and creative sector to enable recovery, innovation, and growth.
  • Stores get permission to apply mixing formulas, which is enabled by the regulation of so-called ‘blurring’. For example, a bookshop where in the evenings writers can come give lectures, while snacks and drinks are served.
  • The legal profession will make 'a substantial social contribution' to strengthening the social legal services (Van der Meer committee).
  • The government also gives medical-specialist companies an important responsibility when it comes to the transformation to customised care, the manageability of hospitals, and the curbing of perverse incentives. If these medical-specialist companies do not improve sufficiently within 2 years, regulations will be introduced so that all medical specialists will be working in employment.
Want to know more about laws and regulations? Check Business.gov.nl for the latest developments.
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