Occupational social security schemes (Chapter 2 of Directive 2006/54)

AuthorMarlies Vegter
6 Occupational social security schemes (Chapter 2 of Directiv e 2006/54)
6.1 General (legal) context
6.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties linked to occupational and/or
statutory social security issues
Over the last fi ve years, there have been no surveys and/or reports about gender issues
in social security. There are debates on the fact that self-employed, including false self-
employed, persons are not covered by social security, bu t th is c oncerns both m en an d
women. A gende r perspectiv e may arise in re spect of domesti c work ers who work four
days or less per week in private households. These workers are, by law, exem pted from
the social security system. Th ey are predominantly female. Thi s reduced protection has
been criticised by, inter alia, the European Commission and the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), but so far, the Dutch Government
has not taken any concrete steps to improve the situation.150
6.1.2 Other issues related to gender equality and social security
There is much debate on the position of self-emp loyed people with no employees. This is
a group that has grown substantially over the years. Employers like to engage them,
because they a re cheaper than employees and are not entitled to protection against
dismissal or against sickness etc. The workers themselves have a favourable fiscal
position, which means they receive on a net basis more than employees who do
comparable work. Some of t hem work in small jobs and/or have irregular work, so th eir
income is quite low. The increase in the numbers of these workers who do not pay social
security cont ributions is eroding th e social system and there is con cern that some of
them are insufficiently protected against disability and old age risks .
In June 2019 the social partners and the government reached an agreement in principle
on pensions and on the introduction of an obligatory disability insurance for self-employed
people with no employees. In February 2020 the social partners entered in to a more
detailed agreement.151 It is not clear yet when the insurance will enter into force. I n
addition, the fiscal benefits of self-employed persons will be gradually re duced.
These dis cussions ar e n ot cond ucted from a gender equality perspective, but of course
they will affect women as well, since approximately 40 % of self-employed persons with
no employees are women. The income of self-employed women is considerably lower than
that of men. In 2 015, 55 % of self-employed women earned less than EUR 25 000 per
year compared to 18 % of the men. The reason s for this are mainly that self-emplo yed
women work more often in sectors in which benefits are lower, especial ly health care and
other forms of care, and that women work fewer hours. The obligation to take out
insurance and the reduction of fiscal benefits will therefore affect these women
considerably. However, it is possible, and this is also the political aim, that more self-
employed persons will be employed on the basis of an employm ent agreement.
Factual information abou t the number o f self-employed persons and their income can be
found on the website of the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS). 152
150 See about this group: Cremers, E. and Bijleveld, L. W. (2010), Een baan als alle andere?! De rechtspositie
van deeltijd huishoudelijk personeel (A job like all others?! The legal position of part-time household
workers.), Leiden, and the addendum by Bijleveld, L.W., Leiden, 2015.
151 Wolzak, M. (2020), ‘Akkoord over verzekering arbeidsongeschiktheid van zzp’ers’ (Agreement on insurance
for self-employed persons), Financieel Dagblad, 26 February 2020.
152 CBS, ‘Wie zijn de zzp’ers?’ (Who are the self-employed with no employees?). Available at:
https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/faq/zzp/wie-zijn-de-zzp-ers-. More information available at

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