White collar workers union backs transition period for 30% ruling cut

White collar workers union backs transition period for 30% ruling cut

The Dutch professional workers union VCP has issued a statement calling for a transition period for international workers who will be hit by the government's plan to cut the 30% ruling from eight to five years. The measure can lead to a sudden cut in income of 15% to 20% for people who suddenly find they no longer qualify for the tax break, the union says. 'This measure will scare of expats who might come to the Netherlands in the future, which is bad for the exchange of expertise and bad for Dutch employment,' chairman Nic van Holstein said. 'It also damages trust in the Dutch government. Earlier this week, the International Community Advisory Panel published research showing that the change will have a major impact on the country's reputation and will leave thousands of people thousand of euros a month worse off. Some 56% of the expats who had taken part in the online ICAP survey by Tuesday said the proposal had damaged their trust in the government while 32% said the change made it likely they would not work in the Netherlands for more than five years, despite having originally planned to stay longer. Law suit Tax advisory group Grant Thornton has also warned that the government will face a string of lawsuits if it presses ahead with the change. We are already looking at the legal options to fight this plan,' spokesman Brian James told the Telegraaf. 'You can assume that there will be legal action.'   The 30% ruling is a tax break which international workers can benefit from if they lived at least 150 km from the Dutch border before moving to the Netherlands and if they meet certain salary and skill requirements. It is widely used by Dutch companies and universities to bring in foreign staff for positions that they have been unable to fill locally. A petition calling for a government rethink has been signed by almost 26,000 people so far. Universities The Dutch universities association VSNU told DutchNews.nl it is writing to junior finance minister Menno Snel urging him to rethink the plan, which will cut thousands of euros a year from expat academics’ income. ‘A professor here on a four-year contract will not be able to take a second four-year term if this goes through,’ he said. ‘The 30% ruling as it now stands has a very positive impact on academia, which is international anyway,’ he said. Employers Employers organisations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland have described the plan as ‘not good’ and say the measure will make the Netherlands less attractive compared with other foreign countries. DutchNews.nl has contacted all the political parties represented in parliament for their comments.  More >

Deliveroo to insure freelance couriers

Deliveroo agrees to insure freelance couriers against accidents Meal delivery service Deliveroo has agreed to insure its freelance couriers in the Netherlands against accidents - so that a cyclist who becomes unable to work will be paid 75% of their gross earnings for up to 30 days, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday. The policy also covers specific medical costs such as a dentist and will increase the personal liability payout from €1m to €5m, the paper quoted the company as saying. The concession is in response to mounting criticism of meal delivery firms who only employ freelance workers who have to carry all related costs. This February, all Deliveroo’s 2,000 or so delivery workers in the Netherlands became freelancers which, the company says, means they will be able to keep more of their earnings. The company says it is bowing to pressure from couriers themselves and that 92% back the shift.  More >

Scheme to help refugee scientists launched

Pilot scheme launched to help refugee scientists start on Dutch research projects Scientific research financing body NWO has announced a pilot scheme to support young refugee scientists for a year. In order to qualify for the scheme the refugees need to have a master’s degree or a doctorate and have official refugee status. The organisers of the scheme say that, like Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein before them, these refugees have had to flee their country of origin to find a safe haven elsewhere. However, young scientists have trouble continuing their careers in the Netherlands because of differences in working culture, language difficulties and a lack of opportunities to build up a network. The young scientists will be offered a place in a Dutch research projects. At the same time they can learn about scientific practice in the Netherlands and share their own knowledge and experience with Dutch scientists, the organisers say, and perhaps eventually continue their research in their home countries. The scheme is backed by the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF) and other scientific organisations.  More >

14,000 sign petition against 30% rule cuts

Expat anger mounts as 14,000 sign petition against 30% ruling cut Almost 14,000 people have so far signed a petition urging the Dutch government not to make its decision to limit the 30% ruling for international workers retroactive, after the surprise decision was announced last month. New Facebook groups Screwed Expats and International Professionals against Retroactive Ruling have also launched a fund-raising campaign to raise at least €10,000 to fight the government's decision, in the courts if necessary. 'We support the authority of the Dutch government to change their policy towards future expats as they see fit,' the fund raising page states. 'However, these changes should not impact current expats already residing here in the Netherlands, who came here based on a promise of eight to 10 years of the 30% ruling. No reneging.' Last month tax minister Menno Snel said the ruling, which allows some 60,000 expats and Dutch nationals who have been away for more than 10 years to reduce their tax bills, will only be claimable for five years from 2019, and that the change will be applied to people who are already receiving the tax break. The finance ministry has also confirmed to DutchNews.nl that there will be no period of transition for current claimants. The change to the regulations, which will be formally announced when the government presents its 2019 spending plans in September, was first mentioned in last year's coalition agreement. Nevertheless, the decision to cut the entitlement of existing claimants has generated a wave of concern among expats and companies which employ international workers. European court Joost van Benthum, a tax lawyer and senior manager at law firm AKD, says he has been contacted by several corporate clients concerned about the implications, particularly the lack of a transition agreement for employees currently benefiting from the 30% ruling. 'I am sure some people will start legal proceedings in order to obtain confirmation whether the changes are in line with Dutch and European law,' he told DutchNews.nl. 'Ministers may well introduce some sort of transition period before the plan is formally presented to parliament during the budget in September. However, there are currently no concrete indications that this is being considered.' More tax The change will have considerable financial implications for international staff who are able to claim the ruling, which only benefits expats who meet strict income requirements and lived at least 150 km from a Dutch border before moving here. According to tax advisor Lennart Suurmond, the change will mean someone earning €60,000 a year will have to pay around €8,000 more a year in tax. Henk Jansen, of mortgage advisory group Expat Mortgages, said he thinks the change will make the Netherlands less attractive to internationals and that he has been contacted by dozens of clients worried about how they are going to pay for their homes. 'I think it’s ridiculous to "punish" existing beneficiaries by deducting three years from the eights years they had been led to expect,' he said. Credibility One expat who has donated money to the fund-raising campaign said on the fundraising website: 'I arrived in the Netherlands last September. I just bought an apartment here this month. And now the Dutch government is stabbing me in the back by changing the law retroactively when I just took a 30-year mortgage. This is disgusting and dishonest.' José de Boer, a financial advisor who specialises in helping expats with their financial planning, said she works with people who have based their mortgages and all their financial planning on getting the 30% ruling for eight years. 'Now the government turns round and says they can only have five years after all,' she said. 'This is causing a lot of uncertainty, costing people thousands of euros and damaging the credibility of the government.' Have you been affected by this ruling or are you an employer with international staff who will be hit. Please get in touch with editor@dutchnews.nl You can also comment directly on this article in the section below.  More >

Shell no longer employer of choice

Old fossils no longer attractive to new generation of engineers Shell is no longer the employer of choice for young highly-skilled engineering students. Rather than working for a company that still concentrates on fossil fuels the students are increasingly turning to sustainable companies, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday. The paper bases its claim on interviews with students and head hunters. ‘We are seeing that companies like Shell are having problems recruiting. Many graduates from Delft University no longer want to commit to this sort of company because they wouldn’t be contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable world,’ director of head hunters Page Group Nederland Joost Fortuin told the paper. A poll among engineering students by research bureau Universum shows that Shell has fallen from third to seventh place on the list of popular employers over two years. Number one is the ‘green’ car manufacturer Tesla. ‘We have to be oil and gas free by 2050 but I wonder if Shell realises what this entails,’ engineering graduate Michiel Bots told the paper. ‘The company is slowing down the transition process instead of promoting it and that makes it a less interesting employer for me.’ Bots, who graduated with honours, is now a trainee at the Dutch Association for Sustainable Energy. Fortuin says engineering graduates are scarce as it is and Shell is struggling to recruit. Although Shell is expecting students will come back to Shell once they become familiar with ‘ambitions, innovations and work culture’ Fortuin thinks the change is structural. ‘Shell no longer interview candidates for the job, the candidates are interviewing Shell,’ he told the paper. Efforts by Shell to convince young engineers that the company is serious about transition don’t convince Bots. ‘We grew up with the climate problem. Perhaps the older generation is still getting used to it,’ he told FD.  More >