National campaign on undeclared work, Portugal


Target Groups: 
employers/purchasersgovernmentothersectoral organisationsworkers/suppliers


An awareness and information campaign is under preparation in Portugal based on the need to increase the public's awareness about the risks of undeclared work, particularly as far as sanctions are concerned. The campaign targets the following groups having different types of responsibilities and interventions: citizens in general, children and young people, employers and those at decision-making level; and workers.



A national campaign to be implemented by the Authority for Working Conditions (Autoridade para as Condições de Trabalho – ACT) on undeclared work is under consideration and preparation. The reasons for identifying this issue as a priority, along with the European and global concerns in this area, especially after the recession since 2008, are related to the assumption that undeclared work has negative repercussions that affect the three pillars of the Lisbon Strategy (full employment, quality and labour productivity and social cohesion); from a macroeconomic perspective, it decreases tax revenues and undermines the financing of social security systems; from a microeconomic perspective, undeclared work tends to distort fair competition among firms, paving the way for social dumping. Moreover, undeclared work tends to be associated with poor working conditions for individuals and subsequent risks to workers' health, low prospects for career progress and insufficient social protection coverage.

There is a need to increase public awareness of the risks linked to undeclared work, particularly as far as sanctions are concerned. It is important to inform citizens about the positive effects of the declaration of all contracts concluded and of the full payment of taxes namely in the current national and international conjuncture.

This campaign is framed by the Major Planning Options 2010–2013, Main Lines Policy Action, Executive Summary, namely by the first major planning option, boosting growth, jobs and modernisation.


The main objectives of the campaign are to contribute to the improvement of working conditions at work (‘decent work’); contribute to the promotion of the quality and quantity of employment; contribute to the effective prevention of psychosocial risks in organisations and workplaces; to promote awareness and education among children on undeclared work and their negative effects for the society as a whole and for workers in particular; to promote awareness and education among employers concerning the context of undeclared work and their negative effects for society as a whole and for workers in particular; to reinforce the capacity of interventions from the Labour Administration at the preventive level; to contribute to the inversion of the phenomena of dual status of workers, resulting from illegal employment practices and fraud to promote mechanisms of fair competition; to inform and disseminate what undeclared work is and its consequences among school groups; to regularise the forms of contracting that involve non-declaration of workers and forms of concealment of an employment agreement; to integrate the undeclared work in the formal economy.

Several recipients with different types of responsibilities and interventions were identified:

  • citizens in general;
  • children and young people;
  • decision-making level: employees, work beneficiaries;
  • implementation level: workers.

Specific measures

The campaign under consideration may have three main axes:

  • awareness and information;
  • education;
  • integration and inspection.

This initiative may thus include the following measures:

  • release of advertisements published in the media to ensure appropriate transparency as is the duty of the Public Administration;
  • promotion of actions aimed at different target groups, namely public opinion (advertising campaign: TV, print and broadcast, posters, information on cash machine screens);
  • targeting specific audiences (brochure, poster, phone line informative, FAQs with answers on the internet, the campaign website).

However, since this national campaign is still under consideration and preparation there is no other specific information available.

Actors involved

ACT assumes the role of campaign’s promoter, sets out its format and structure, its management is shared with the institutional and social partners and frames the intervention of the other actors involved.

Social dialogue and social consultation are considered as main factors for a real and effective incidence of the campaign on the reduction of undeclared work.

Outcome of evaluations; lessons and conclusions

Achievement of objectives

Since this national campaign is still under consideration and preparation, there is no available information on this topic.

Obstacles and problems

Since this national campaign is still under consideration and preparation, there is no available information on this topic.

Lessons learned

Since this national campaign is still under consideration and preparation, there is no available information on this topic.

Impact indicators

A very positive result of the campaign is expected by ACT as regards an increase in the levels of national GDP and a shift of undeclared work to the formal economy.


ACT considers that this measure has great potential for transferability, in line with similar initiatives developed in several other countries, such as Denmark.



ACT (2011), Relatório Anual de Actividades 2011 [Annual Activity Report 2011]. Dornelas, António (2010), ‘O trabalho não declarado é invisível?’ [Is undeclared work invisible?], in Dornelas, A., Oliveira, L., Veloso, L., Guerreiro, M. das Dores (orgs.), Portugal Invisível [Invisible Portugal], Mundos Sociais, CIES/ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, pp. 95–107.

Gonçalves, Nuno (2010), A economia não registada em Portugal [The Non-Recorded economy in Portugal], OBEGEF, Húmus edition.

International Labour Office - ILO (2010), Labour inspection in Europe: undeclared work, migration, trafficking, Labour Administration and Inspection Programme LAB/ADMIN. Geneva, ILO.

Ministério das Finanças (2011), Plano Estratégico de Combate à Fraude e Evasão Fiscais e Aduaneiras 2012-2014 [Strategic Plan to Combat Tax and Customs Fraud and Evasion 2012–2014].

Público (2012), ‘Economia paralela subiu em Portugal e vale quase 25% do PIB’, 16 January 2012.

Heloísa Perista, Janine Nunes and Paula Carrilho


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