Working conditions for self-employed professionals

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you work as a self-employed professional (zzp'er) or as a freelancer in the Netherlands? You will have to comply with most of the rules in the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) and the Working Conditions Regulation. You have to comply with all of the rules relating to serious occupational risks and hazards for third parties. The Netherlands Labour Authority can check to see if you meet the working conditions rules.

General working conditions rules for the self-employed

According to the general rules for working conditions, as a self-employed professional (freelancer or zzp‘er) you must:

  • prevent danger to others
  • behave safely and responsibly to ensure your own and others’s safety
  • prevent fatal or serious damage to health
  • reduce and prevent serious occupational risks
  • prevent other occupational risks. This does not apply if you work alone

Working under authority

Do you have an assignment for which you cannot decide yourself how to organise your work? You have for example fixed working hours and get instructions? That is called working under authority. If you work under authority of your client, the working conditions for employees apply to you as well.

Health and safety rules for hazardous work

For hazardous work self-employed professionals are subject to the same health and safety rules as for employees. For example:

If you work as a freelancer/self-employed professional on your own, you are subject to rules concerning severe risks and hazards for third parties (Working Conditions Act, article 10) and yourself (Working Conditions Act, article 11).

In a number of situations, additional regulations apply to freelancers/self-employed professionals, including rules governing the use of crop protection products or biocides or governing work in the construction sector. If you want to know which measures you can take to avoid dangerous situations, please contact your sector organisation. They can inform you about the exact working conditions regulations in your sector.

Working hours and rest times

As a freelancer/self-employed professional the number of weekly working hours is not restricted. You also do not have fixed resting times. Exceptions are:

  • if you work under authority
  • if you work in transport
  • if you work in mining
  • if you work as a diver

You must then comply with the rules and regulations concerning working hours and rest times from the Working Hours Act (Arbeidstijdenwet).

Self-employed according to the NL Labour Authority

These rules only apply if the Netherlands Labour Authority considers you to be a self-employed professional. This is the case if you are your own boss without employing staff and if you decide how to do the work. The Netherlands Labour Authority can give you a warning if you do not comply with the occupational health and safety rules, or even fine you.

Hiring self-employed professionals

Are you an employer and do you hire freelancers/self-employed professionals? You must give these workers the same protection against industrial hazards on the work floor as you do for your permanent employees, for instance personal protective equipment. You must also inform the freelancers/self-employed professionals of the regulations and risks that concern your company.

Are you a self-employed professional and do you hire another self-employed professional to help you with an assignment? Then you are considered an employer. You must keep to all the rules for employers, and you are responsible for good working conditions.

This article is related to:

Questions relating to this article?