Since 19 May, sex workers have been permitted to resume work, as a result of the relaxation of corona measures. If you are a sex worker, and you did not have an alternative source of income during the lockdown, there may be schemes you can use. Check this article to see if you are eligible for NOW, Tozo or welfare. This depends on your situation, for instance if you are an employee or an entrepreneur.
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Lockdown relaxation planThe lockdown in the Netherlands is still in place, but the government is gradually relaxing the measures. As a result, sex workers are permitted to resume their work. Check The coronavirus and your company to see which other measures have been relaxed.
NOW or unemployment benefit for employees in the sex industryAre you under contract with an employer? Entrepreneurs who employ sex workers can apply for compensation of wage costs under the NOW scheme. This scheme aims to help businesses that have a turnover loss of 20% or more in the course of 3 months. If the application is approved, the employer receives a compensation towards the wage costs, which enables them to keep on paying your wages. If you lose your job, you can apply for unemployment benefit from the Employment Insurance Agency UWV.
Tozo for self-employed sex workersIf you are registered at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK as an entrepreneur, and pay taxes over your earnings, you are a self-employed professional (perhaps you refer to yourself as a zzp-er or freelancer, but that doesn’t make any difference). Self-employed professionals cannot apply for the NOW scheme, but they can apply for Tozo, a temporary bridging benefit. There are two options:
- Cost of living compensation: you can apply for a benefit to compensate your loss of income up to the social minimum standard. You apply in the town or city where you live.
- You can apply for a business loan of up to €10,157 at a 2% interest.
Sex work is legal in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, you are allowed to practice as a sex worker. The government offers you the same protection as it does other professionals. Make sure your residence papers are in order. Find out more on the Government.nl website.
Welfare for opt-in sex workersDo you work for a sex club or escort service? Then chances are you are neither an employee, nor a self-employed professional. If you are an opt-in sex worker, you probably have an agreement with the operator of the sex club or escort service about working hours and payment. If the operator pays your social benefits and taxes, and you receive a net sum for your work, you are not protected against dismissal. All this means that you are not eligible for Tozo, nor for unemployment benefit. You can, however, apply for welfare through werk.nl (in Dutch). In some cases, you can apply for welfare in the city where you live.
Welfare and residence statusIf you are staying in the Netherlands with a residence permit, or even if you are an EU citizen with a right to reside, applying for welfare may affect your residence status. Under the exceptional circumstances that we are in, the government will be more lenient in checking your residence status, and if you apply for a new residence permit.
Not entitled to benefitsIf you are not entitled to unemployment benefit, welfare, Tozo or NOW, for instance because you have no legal residence status, here’s what you can do:
- Check with the municipality where you live if they can help you.
- The Dutch Emergency Fund helps sex workers who need money (closed per 1 November 2020).
- Are you legally allowed to work? Then consider working from a distance, for instance via a webcam.