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  • Erna van der Werff

Leeuwarden Gig Event draws attention to gig economy: a labor market where self-employment is th norm

On Thursday 10 March, Friesland College and Learning Hub Friesland hosted a successful event at the Kanselarij to discuss the gig economy.

Freelancers, students, teachers and policymakers came together to reflect on the gig economy. With the continued growth in the number of self-employed people, a gig economy is unfolding, in which temporary hiring is the norm. Jobs make way for projects, independent entrepreneurs replace permanent employees. Digital platforms accelerate this process by matching supply and demand.

But where does the definition of self-employed start and where does it end? One of the speakers at the event was Frank Alfrink, chairman of ZZP Nederland, a foundation that promotes the interests of self-employed people in politics in The Hague. Frank's story started lightly with a video clip by Arjen Lubach about the definition of self-employed people. But the concept of self-employed is an important starting point when we start thinking about what policy and education for students should look like in the future.

(You can watch the full video here )

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are almost 1.5 million self-employed people in the Netherlands. Frank Alfrink explains: “This also includes people who do odd jobs in addition to their regular job or are, for example, a bicycle courier at Deliveroo. When you work for Deliveroo, you receive your rides, bike and work clothes from the company. Deliveroo also determines your rate. Are you self-employed? Or if Uber's algorithm defines your work, do you still have your own input or are you really just an employee? It is important to consider when defining self-employed (without staff) is the question 'for whom do you work?'. Are you dependent or are you able to set your own terms?”

Frank emphasizes that this definition is extremely important when policy for self-employment is made with all kinds of tax and legal consequences, such as abolishing the starter's deduction or making disability insurance mandatory.

Daniel Tuem, a real Gigger who gives future workshops to new Dutch people and who takes on all kinds of different jobs as a Migrant Community Mediator, was the second speaker during the event. Daniel came to the Netherlands from Eritrea 5 years ago and has been registered with the Chamber of Commerce for a year now. “In addition to being able to do what your heart tells you, I also had to learn a lot as a self-employed person. There are many rules in the Netherlands and everything goes differently from what I was used to in my native country. Paying taxes, sending invoices, paying prices of other freelancers you work with, it was all new to me. For me, self-employed also means freedom. I am now working on a film about fleeing Eritrea and finding your way in a new country. I can use my creativity in this.” Explained Daniel Tuem.

In addition to preparing MBO students for these changing circumstances through the project, Friesland College and Learning Hub Friesland have taken the next step. Together with the Municipality of Leeuwarden and Friese Poort, we are looking at how policies, both from municipalities and from schools, can be geared to this changing labor market with the Giggin' Policy project.

Want to know more? Please contact Erna van der Werff via / 06 43860433

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