Coronacrisis: important issues for the flex sector

In order to control the coronavirus outbreak, the government is taking measures that affect us all. Whether it concerns employees who are called upon en masse to work from home or employers who temporarily have less or no work for their staff. The consequences are also clearly noticeable in the flex sector.

The government has implemented a new package of measures to protect jobs and incomes and to cushion the consequences for self-employed persons, SME entrepreneurs and large companies. We briefly discuss the measures and the consequences for the flex sector.

Temporary Emergency Employment Bridging Fund (NOW - Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud)

The Short-time Working Scheme (Wtv - Werktijdverkorting) was immediately discontinued as a corona measure. Instead, a new compensation scheme was introduced. You can find the main outlines of the NOW scheme here.

On 14 April 2020, we held a webinar on the NOW emergency measure. Do you want to see this webinar again? Please click here.

Differences with the WTV

Unlike the WTV scheme, the NOW scheme also applies to stand-by contracts. This means that more flex companies will be able to make use of the new scheme.

The NOW scheme is separate from the exemption from the short-time working scheme and the Unemployment Act (WW - Werkloosheidswet). The contribution to the wage costs is therefore not dependent on any unemployment benefits rights of the employees (to be determined afterwards).

The NOW scheme applies to decreases in turnover as from 1 March 2020. The NOW application therefore has retroactive effect. This was not the case in the WTV scheme.

Already submitted WTV applications

Already granted WTV remains in force. If an extension is necessary after the granted period has expired, the NOW scheme will have to be used. Applications submitted under the old WTV scheme that have not yet been processed will be processed as applications for the NOW scheme. Additional information will be requested from you, in that case. You will be notified automatically.

Deferment of payment of tax

Relaxation

Any entrepreneur who has run into financial difficulties as a result of the corona crisis is eligible for deferment of payment of their tax debt. After submitting a request for special deferment of payment, the collection of tax debts is stopped immediately. This means that the entrepreneur is in fact granted immediate deferment of payment.

WKA declaration

In connection with the WKA (Wet Keten Aansprakelijkheid - Chain Liability Act) declaration, required for the NEN certification, it is important to apply for deferment in good time. The WKA declaration is issued if you are not in arrears in the payment of taxes and all the obligations have been met. Provided that the instalments referred to in the deferment of payment are paid, a WKA declaration may also be obtained with deferment of tax. The WKA declaration often does state that a payment arrangement is in progress.

NEN check

In case of inspections for the SNA certification (Stichting Normering Arbeid - Labour Standards Foundation), the policy is, until further notice, that failure to comply on time and/or in full with the obligations regarding remittance of wage taxes and sales tax, does not have a direct effect on the NEN certification, if the company can demonstrate that special deferment of payment has been applied for. Depending on the further development of government measures in the coming period, it will be examined how this will be monitored. Of course, you will have to file your tax returns periodically and on time.

Unblock a blocked account

Companies that place, lend or second staff and use a blocked account may request the Tax and Customs Administration to have the balance on the blocked account unblocked. Normally, only the so-called surplus on the blocked account is released. As a result of the coronacrisis, amounts that have been set aside for wage tax or VAT (additional) assessments may also be released temporarily. However, special deferral of payment because of the coronacrisis must have been requested for those tax assessments. In that case, the extended unblocking option applies to amounts for which a special deferment has been granted.

Director's liability

Directors may be held liable if they have not reported in time that taxes and premiums could not be paid. For this reason, it is important that the Tax and Customs Administration is properly notified of the inability to pay, if necessary. In addition, a separate notification of inability to pay applies to the occupational pension fund premiums, which must be submitted to the relevant occupational pension fund.

Hiring in manpower in health care

Under certain conditions, supplying health care personnel for the period from 16 March to 16 June 2020 will not be subject to VAT. These conditions are as follows:

  • The recipient is a care institution or care facility that applies a VAT exemption listed in the policy decision of 14 April 2020;
  • The supplier states on the invoice that use is being made of this approval and records the data relating to the application of this approval in the administration;
  • The supplier may only charge the gross wage costs to the recipient, possibly increased by an administrative fee of up to 5%;
  • No profit may be intended or made on this supply of manpower;

This measure does not affect the deduction of input tax of the supplier.

TOGS scheme (Compensation Entrepreneurs in Affected Industries )

The government extended the list of companies that are entitled to the TOGS scheme on 7 April 2020. The TOGS scheme is aimed at specific target groups (the so-called contact professions) and stipulates that a one-off contribution of 4,000 euros net may be obtained, subject to conditions. You can download the list of 7 April 2020 here. With regard to the added activities, the list is divided into three modules. For companies falling under Module 1, the general conditions for application of the TOGS scheme apply. Companies listed in Module 2 must also meet additional requirements.

‘Temporary employment agencies’ (SBI code 78201 - Standard Business Classification - Standaard Bedrijfsindeling) and ‘Job pools - no employment projects’ (SBI code 78202) are included in Module 2 and may apply for the compensation from 15 April 2020. This is not only subject to the regular conditions for the TOGS scheme; an additional condition is that it must be declared that 70% of the turnover comes from the affected industries in Module 1 of the supplemented list and in the industries from the previous list of 27 and 28 March 2020.

Premium invoices StiPP

The StiPP pension fund has temporarily extended the term of payment of the premium invoice. StiPP extends the payment term to the statutory term for the February and March delivery months. This statutory term of payment is linked to the month to which the invoice relates. The supplier must send in the employees' wage data in good time of the end of the month; this must be done no later than one month of the end of the month in which the wage was paid. The invoice that StiPP subsequently sends must be paid within two months following the month to which the invoice relates. For instance, the invoice for March 2020 must be paid by the end of May 2020 at the latest. If you are unable to pay within this period, we recommend that you contact StiPP and discuss whether a further payment arrangement is possible. However, you are required to provide complete and timely payroll data via a PDO file periodically.

Income support for self-employed persons

The government has also eased the rules for income support for independent entrepreneurs (TOZO scheme - Temporary bridging scheme for self-employed entrepreneurs). Through an accelerated procedure, additional income support for maintenance for a period of three months may be requested from the municipality. An important relaxation measure is that there will be no means or partner test for this temporary scheme. With this support, the income is supplemented to the social minimum. This income support does not have to be refunded.

Want to know more?

Would you like more information? Then contact René Timmer via e-mail or by phone: +31 (0)88 277 21 24. He would be happy to assist you.