Serbia first in the world in the number of freelancers per capita

Serbia is the first in the world in terms of the number of freelancers per capita, and in 11th place in terms of the total number.

“The legal treatment of freelancers, who are by nature closer to being self-employed than traditional workers, has been debated in developed countries such as Denmark, where the state has tried to make it easier for them to pay taxes, realising that it is difficult for freelancers to calculate and pay taxes themselves,” said professor of the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, Jelena Žarković, speaking at a panel discussion entitled “New forms of labour relations, a new possibility or a new precariousness?” organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Freelancers, she said, are not recognized by law, which means that they have fewer employment rights from the outset. However, with regard to their future taxation, which is currently the focus of general attention pending the adoption of a new law on flexible forms of work, Žarković warned that if freelancers accept to pay lower payroll contributions that would translate in lower pensions for them in the future.

Also, people who are the subject of non-traditional employment relationships, such as workers of service platforms like Volta, Glovo, Donesi or CarGo, are facing the same problem.

A representative of the Association of Internet Workers, which last week organised protests in front of the Serbian parliament to prevent the adoption of a law on the future taxation of freelancers which freelancers had rejected, said that freelancers represent the “new precariat”, i.e. workers in vulnerable positions who feel more like classic workers than independent entrepreneurs.

“We would like the government to start charging us income tax as of October 2020 and we do not agree on any earlier date, we do not intend not to pay taxes,”  a representative of the Association of Freelancers, Milan Pogačar has said, adding that the state has done nothing in the last 10 or 15 years to regulate that business segment.

Professor Žarković also warned of the large differences in the amount of income of freelancers, indicating that not everyone is in the same position, which Pogačar also confirmed, saying that “freelancers earn an average of 70,000, 80,000 dinars gross per month”, although some may earn between 2,000 and 3,000 euro.

(Danas, 13.04.2021)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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