Life is inherently unpredictable. It always is. Nothing goes up forever and nor should it be expected to. In the difficult years after the financial crisis, The Netherlands steadily picked itself up and shook itself down. In recent years Amsterdam has been particularly attractive to businesses and investment. It seemed as if things were all going in the right direction. The jobs market was very buoyant and the number of expats taking jobs here once again grew and grew. Then Covid hit.Here we look at Amsterdam businesses during Covid.
We all know the progress of Covid in The Netherlands and across the globe. We all know the health issues. But what about the economic impact? And how that impact can affect everyone – those who lose their jobs and those who keep their jobs. Covid upsets employment trends as more people are being laid off. The economic contraction will affect us all in different ways. In this piece, that is what we want to look at and Melvin from NAHV is helping us to do that.
Amsterdam businesses during Covid
At the moment, the only companies that seem to be taking on staff are the supermarkets and other companies that have a model built around home deliveries. Most other businesses are downsizing their head count in a desperate effort to reduce costs and streamline the business. Sometimes these cuts come deep and heavy. We have all seen how the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors have been decimated.
The airlines have slashed their staff and payroll numbers in a desperate bid to avoid insolvancy. As have hotels and conference centres. There is a massive knock on effect with their suppliers too. It all filters down. We asked an expert how this can all affect the finances of the people who are laid off during this crisis and what their options are for the future. Melvin took time out from his busy schedule to answer our Q+A.
Q1. It is going to be a long winter for many people and possibly a very different festive season. What are the options for people facing redundancy?
Being made redundant can have, besides the social effect of not having a job and the security that supposedly comes with that anymore in already difficult times, a big financial impact. Most people will be able to benefit, for a period of time, from the unemployment benefits and they will get a so called “transitievergoeding” (extra payment for getting laid off, by law and based on the amount of years you have worked for an employer). The extra money is welcome because you will be able to cope some time during your search for a new job, but the extra money will also have an impact on your financial and fiscal position in the year that you receive that extra payment.
Your taxable income increases, sometimes significantly, which then will have an effect on, for example, the height of a preliminary refund on income taxes that you might have gotten throughout the year due to you owning a house with a mortgage. Or, the net compensation for childcare for example. All this is best to have checked as soon as you know what you are up against, so the new year doesn’t start with a big surprise when filing Income taxes over 2020. Also, planning ahead for 2021 comes into play then. The tax office does not take any action in making sure you do not get too much or too little from them, that ball is in your court, so make sure you deal with it and do not stick your head in the sand. Tough times for Amsterdam businesses during Covid .
Q2. Should expats be careful about accepting attractive looking redundancy packages?
Yes. Those redundancy payments are based on law and should be checked accordingly, preferably a lawyer who specialises in labour law. We have started a collaboration with lawyers from Blended.law in supporting staff from Booking which are facing unemployment and who deal with such agreements on paper. The lawyers tackle the legal side of things, we deal with the fiscal and financial side of things. Of course, this topic is broader then the employees of Booking, so all who have a question are welcome to contact us. The first and biggest advice: never sign a redundancy contract unless you are certain of its contents and the impact it will have on you and your family.
Q3. What kind of government help can expats expect? What provisions are there in place for that?
The most commonly used social benefit is the unemployment benefit. This is the WW-uitkering and it is the UWV that handles it. Every employee has insurance for that and has an entitlement to this when they need it. Usually, your HR department will make you aware of this.
Q4. With the myriad of different work contracts that are often confusing for expats, what kind of legal support is available?
As stated above, we offer our help in combination with some specialist from Blended.law on the labour law part. Most employers are paying for such expenses as part of the whole redundancy package, but it will differ. So make sure that you check your package…who is paying for what?
Q5. What is your vision for the employment market over the next 6 months? And, what things should expats be thinking about if their job is at risk ?
To be honest, we have no idea on how things will develop. Things are changing rapidly and our experience is that when one job disappears, a new one pops up. For example, my job: being a tax advisor now means being able to rely on your software and human skills in being a partner and advisor for your client. It’s not just crunching numbers in some tax reporting program and producing a report. New skills are important and that takes training and focus. This I guess will happen in jobs in all layers of society… old ones disappear, new ones arise. This is the nature of Amsterdam businesses during Covid.
If you think your job is at risk ask yourself: are you ready for the next job that comes along? Who are you, what do you want to do? Do you want to be an employee or are you willing to take the risk of becoming self employed for example? We see a lot of people, expats and internationals included who take that jump into the unknown. And you know what David, a lot of them even like this and get energy and creativity from it. This is where we also jump in: guiding people in setting up and running their business and to get the best out of themselves by making administration and taxes simple.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Thanks Melvin for all this information and insights into Amsterdam businesses during Covid
If you need more information, please contact NAHV
1018 MR Amsterdam
Telephone : 020 – 622 55 09
Read more about NAHV on their listing.