Flexible workers, such as those on zero-hours contracts, who because of the corona crisis may have lost a large part of their income, but who cannot claim benefits, have until Sunday 12 July to make a claim under the government’s Temporary Bridging Scheme for Flexible Workers (TOFA) .

However, there are conditions attached. These so-called flex workers must have had an income of at least €400 a month in February, and have then lost at least half by April. Their April income must not have been higher than €550. Nor can they have received any unemployment benefit or other social security payments during this period.

In the first days of the scheme, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) received 11,500 requests from flex workers of whom a proportion received  €1,650. That is €550 for March, April and May.

However, to date almost half of the requests have been rejected for not meeting the conditions, mostly due not earning enough in February or too much in April.

For more information, see www.uwv.nl/tofa

NUJ members working this weekend covering the George Floyd solidarity protests need to plan accordingly and take appropriate health and safety precautions - there may be a range of people hostile to journalists. There have already been instances of journalists attacked.

Carry a copy of the NUJ's and Thompson solicitors emergency phone number in case you need help. Thompsons operate a 24-hour EMERGENCY number for work-related criminal matters.

Thompsons legal helpline: 08005877530

Here are some tips and advice –

  • Always carry your press card in an accessible place and use it to identify yourself       
  • Ensure you are protected by adequate insurance and conduct your own risk assessment before working
  • Always carry a map so you can check alternative routes and exit points
  • Leave yourself time to drive the route to check for places for good pictures, trouble spots, level of policing, exit routes
  • If you are parking a car, think carefully where you leave it, as you might need to get out in a hurry
  • If you park too close to the protest your car could get damaged or blocked if there is trouble
  • Wear strong boots or shoes and strong, tight-fitting clothing which allows you to move about freely
  • Face mask, shin-guards, kneepads, body armour, helmet - all or some may be worth thinking about
  • Always remember the weather and dress accordingly
  • Carry the minimum amount of equipment so you can move quickly if needs be
  • Ensure you have enough electronic memory, batteries and powerpacks to power equipment and phones
  • Remember you do not have to hand over equipment or delete any footage or images
  • Let someone know that you are covering the protest and tell them what time you are leaving and at what time to expect you back
  • At all times you should be distinct from the protesters and the police
  • Always work in such a way that if something happens you can extract yourself
  • Try and keep police units in sight and avoid putting yourself in a position where you can easily be surrounded
  • Observe government health and safety guidance relating to the coronavirus
  • Keep an eye on fellow journalists in case they need help

After the event, please inform the NUJ of any incidents that happen on the day (even if you do not wish to make a formal complaint), please email the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The publishers of three Belfast-based newspapers and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have joined together to stand up for journalists and press freedom in Northern Ireland.

This initiative has attracted local and global endorsement, involving many prominent individuals and organisations, all listed in the article on the NUJ website

The public statement appears in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter newspapers today.

This unprecedented joint initiative aims to highlight and challenge the increasing number of threats of violence inflicted on the media.

You can sign the petition to stop the rise in death threats against Northern Ireland journalists here!

TOZO financial support (TOZO levensonderhoud)

Freelance journalists and photographers who want to apply for the Government’s special financial support as a result of the Coronavirus lock-down (TOZO) should submit their application before the 1 June. This covers the months March, April and May. 

The scheme is also being extended until the end of August and, TOZO 2, as its being called, has similar conditions except for the level it pays out will now take into account partners’ incomes. The income of those freelancers married or living together with a partner will be topped up to a minimum of €1,500 and for single people to €1,050.

If you have not applied for TOZO 1, you can still apply fort TOZO 2 after I June. But receiving financial support under TOZO 1 does not automatically mean you will receive TOZO 2. You have to apply again by filling in the form at the local authority where you live giving details of your current circumstances, whether you live with someone and want is their income.

Also if your income for the period covered by TOZO 1 turns out to be higher than expected you may have to repay some of the financial support. 

When applying, you should only include your NET income, i.e. your income AFTER deducting expenses and AFTER deducting a further 18% to cover average tax bills.

For Dutch speakers, see point one on the Dutch ZZP site   

NUJ branch members have also inquired about which months are relevant. These are the months in which the work is ACTUALLY PERFORMED, not invoiced or paid. So work carried out outside of the TOZO period March to end of May should not be taken into consideration even if payment is received within the TOZO period.

For more infromation: If I am entitled to the Tozo, how much will I get? And when?

TOZO business loan (TOZO bedrijfskrediet) 

In addition to the TOZO financial support, there is a TOZO business loan that self-employed persons who have liquidity problems as a result of the corona crisis can apply for. However, the loan has a maximum, for the Tozo 1 and Tozo 2 jointly, of €10,157 euros.

British freelance journalists and photographers may have left the European Union but can still apply for the Coronavirus emergency funds - TOZO - without affecting their residence status.

Freelancers registered with the Chamber of Commerce and working approximately 24 hours a week have a right to apply for TOZO if their income has been affected by the Coronavirus. However, those who do not have permanent residence, especially those in the Netherlands for fewer than five years, and required to remain “economically active”, feared that applying for TOZO may end their right to the residence.

However, while British citizens may no longer be members of the EU, those legally resident here prior to 31/12/2020 are effectively EU citizens for these purposes.

In addition, regarding non-EU citizens in general, Justice and Security minister Ankie Broekers-Knol has replied to a Groen Links question concerning the issue saying: “I will make an exception for non-EU citizens with a residence permit for definite time [i.e. a non-permanent residence permit] with the purpose ‘work in self-employment’ who claim a benefit based on the Temporary Bridging Scheme for Self-Employed Entrepreneurs (TOZO). Considering the special circumstances and the temporary nature of the scheme, claiming a benefit based on this scheme will not have any consequences for the right of residence of the non-EU citizen in question.”

At a joint webinar for business, hosted by the UK and Dutch governments, looking at their response to the Covid 19 crisis, NUJ branch member, photographer Nick Gammon, raised, on behalf of the branch, the issue of TOZO and residency. He asked whether the inevitable drop in future income would not prejudice applications for permanent residency. Nick reports that the UK ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Wilson, said that any reduction in income would not affect EU citizens applying for UK residency, while the Dutch ambassador to the UK, Simon Smits, agreed with this general principle.

Nick has also raised this with Jeremy Bierbach, expert with Amsterdam law firm Franssen, which specialise in immigration issues. Bierbach said that under EU treaties and the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement it would be very difficult for the Netherlands to expel UK citizens legally living here, with less than 5 years residency, for being “economically inactive” under these circumstances.

And, to nail the point, Nick Gammon also argues the government should regard TOZO payments as income rather than benefits and therefore an indication of “economic activity”. 

Check out 'Can EU/EEA/Swiss/British citizens (and their family members) in the Netherlands receive coronavirus support?

See also the NL Times piece 'NON-EU RESIDENTS CAN TAKE SELF-EMPLOYED BENEFIT WITHOUT HURTING LEGAL STATUS, GOV'T CONFIRMS'  

For general information: https://business.gov.nl/the-coronavirus-and-your-company/

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