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Factsheet for measure NL-2020-40/761 Updated – measures in Netherlands

Temporary subsidy for self-employed

Tijdelijke Overbruggingsregeling Zelfstandige Ondernemers (Tozo)

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 October 2020 – 30 September 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Amber van der Graaf (Panteia)
Measure added 21 April 2020 (updated 20 June 2022)

Background information

This measure has been introduced as emergency measures specifically to combat or cushion the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, this measure is aimed at providing self-employed a minimum income to live from. The ultimate aim is to keep the economy functioning and to maintain the well-being of solo self-employed.

There have been several forms to this measure. Tozo 1.0 was implemented in March 2020 and three months later, this emergency measure was renewed, as of June 2020 as Tozo 2.0. Tozo 2.0 measure will come to an end at the end of September 2020 and the new measure will run from 1 October 2020 to 31 June 2021. The aim of the measure remains unchanged, namely to support solo self-employed individuals financially to help them maintain their liquidity and to supplement their incomes. This version of the measure is divided into periods of three months, to slowly reduce the scope of the measure in the interest of sustainability. As time progresses only the most dramatically hit or vulnerable solo self-employed will be eligible for support. The municipal governments implement this national measure.

Content of measure

The Tozo 3.0 is one of these measures to be extended in the third package of emergency measures. It will continue to work in much the same way with some adjustments, namely supplementing the lost income of solo self-employed and also offering business loan to participants at low interest rates. The measure was designed to be broad and to help as many solo self-employed as possible and for this reason it is a relatively straight forward measure.

The Tozo 3.0 includes an income assessment to judge whether a solo-self-employed person is eligible for the measure (which already existed in the previous version of the measure), an assessment of capital will also be added as of April 2021. This assessment will check for the assets and capital (including bank accounts, saving accounts, cars, shares, obligations etc.), held by the entrepreneur in question. Entrepreneurs with over €45,520 in total capital will not eligible for the measure.

The working of the measure remains the same:

  • The municipal governments supplement income up to this level, or up to the amount of €1,050 for a single person and up to €1,500 for a couple.
  • The other option is for the entrepreneur to take out a loan of up to around €10,000 as capital for the enterprise. This loan can be paid back within three years at an interest rate of 2%.

The eligibility criteria are based on being self-employed (working at least 1,225 hours a year or 23.5 hours a week), while the solo-enterprise must have been active before the COVID-19 crisis and the TOZO came into effect, before 17 March 2020.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

01 June 2021

The TOZO measure has been updated (TOZO 4.0) and previously ran from 1 April 2021 to 1 June 2021. This has now been extended to 30 September 2021.

09 December 2020

The TOZO measure has been updated (TOZO 3.0), to run from October 2020 to 31 March 2021. At the time of writing (January 2020), the government indicated that the next form of the TOZO measure, TOZO 4.0, would run from April to June 2021 and is likely to include a capital or means test to establish the income or assets which a solo self-employed individual has access to. The level of financial support and criteria for use of the measure will most likely remain the same. Starting January 2021 municipalities will provide assistance to come up with new future plans and career support for solo self-employed people. A total of €250 million has been reserved for the last quarter of 2020 for this measure.

25 September 2020

This measure will be updated and implemented from 1 October 2020. The whole case has been updated in keeping with this anticipated change.

13 July 2020

The measure has been extended and the extension is called Tozo 2.0. Tozo 2.0 is the 4 month extension of the original Tozo measure. The Tozo 2.0 income support only applies to the months of June to September. If an entrepreneur applied for income support under Tozo and wishes to apply for Tozo 2, they can extend the support. The requirements for eligibility under Tozo relation to Tozo 2 are mostly the same.

Use of measure

Establishing the use for the TOZO measure is more difficult than for nationally implemented measures as the TOZO is implemented by the 355 municipal governments in the Netherlands. Data on the use takes longer to collect as a result. The most recent, preliminary data, received from municipalities and analysed by the NSO, Statistics Netherlands, shows that until June 2020, approximately 100,010 people made use of the TOZO income support.

Self-employed persons in a service profession made the most use of the TOZO measure (38 percent), followed by the self-employed in a creative or linguistic profession (34 percent). The former mainly concerned cooks, hairdressers and bar staff, of whom about half made use of this measure. The creative professions include visual and performing artists and photographers and interior designers. In addition, the proportion of self-employed persons that TOZO applied for was also high among entrepreneurs in the transport and logistics professions. In the professional group drivers (taxi) and the like, 6 out of 10 self-employed persons made use of this measure.

Incidentally, there is a strong correlation between the decrease in the number of hours worked by self-employed persons and the number of requests to use the TOZO measure. The decline in the number of hours worked in service professions was greatest among the self-employed, 22 hours per week, and the TOZO was most often claimed in such professions. And vice versa: this entitlement was also lowest among self-employed persons who worked little or no fewer hours in April, such as agricultural professions and professions in public administration.

The process to TOZO: commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, a process evaluation was carried out into the realization of the TOZO. Three success factors have been described in the evaluation of this process. Firstly, there is much appreciation for the fact that stakeholders are involved at a very early stage. The most relevant stakeholders were involved from the start. All parties involved were aware of the social task they faced and the need to solve this problem together. The involvement of stakeholders has also provided support for the TOZO. Second, the collaboration has been predominantly constructive. Good use has been made of everyone's expertise and the predominant image is that there was room for everyone's perspective. Those involved felt that they were heard and everyone's input was included in the development of TOZO and the developed products. Third, the right people were represented in the project organisation.

However, this study shows that the collaboration has changed over time. Once TOZO 1 was developed and the first supporting products delivered, the sense of urgency waned. In addition, after a while difficult subjects came up on the agenda, in which there was less of a shared interest, but more of conflicting interests. The parties involved were less unanimous on a number of subjects, in particular when it came to lawfulness issues and implementation costs.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Solo-self-employed
One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
Local / regional government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the peak level social partners and cabinet have been meeting on weekly basis to develop policies and measures as effectively and quickly as possible. Because the crisis will it appears be with us for the foreseeable future, the government and social partners are now opting for more long term measures and solutions.

The national government initiated this measure, together with the Association for Dutch Municipalities (VNG), and other social partners, specifically, Divosa. Divosa is an association of municipal government directors or managers who work in the social policy domains. Divosa, the VNG, and national government developed this measure. The implementation of the measure is done by the municipal governments.

Views and reactions

Sources indicate that the social partners were involved in the design of this measure, together with the national and municipal governments. However, the exact nature of the involvement is not clear. As a rule, Dutch policy making often involves consultation with relevant social partners for a given sector or field, to discuss the main challenges in a given policy area and the expected effects of a policy intervention. In this case an organisation, Divosa, comprised of municipal government directors active in social policy domains, were involved in developing the measure.

The peak level social partners, as well as organisations such as Divosa and the VNG, have been deeply involved in the process of designing the extension of this measure. Overall social partner are pleased with the new package of measures, including this one, the TOZO 3.0.

The TOZO 3.0 initially included a proposal for a means-test on liquid assets. In a letter to the Minister of Social Affairs the four main representatives of self-employed professionals argued that they opposed this proposal and would like to see it removed, which was eventually done by the government. ZZP Nederland has also specifically demanded that partner income is not taken into consideration when determining whether self-employed professionals are eligible for income support. However, this condition looks to be added in later versions of the TOZO 4.0 (which will come into force in April 2021).



Eurofound (2020), Temporary subsidy for self-employed , measure NL-2020-40/761 (measures in Netherlands), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.