Workplace ID cards, Iceland
The Icelandic Confederation of Labour and the Confederation of Icelandic Employers have agreed on the obligation, in selected industries, for all employers to ensure that their employees get workplace ID cards when they begin working. They have also formed inspectorate units: under this system, inspectors go to worksites to check on workplace IDs, thus taking action against undeclared work.
On 15 August 2010, an agreement was made between the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (Alþýðusamband Íslands, ASÍ) and the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (Samtök Atvinnulífsins, SA) on workplace ID cards and workplace inspections. The agreement was modified and extended on 5 May 2011. It builds on a special law, which grants the ICL and the CIE the power to jointly decide which industries and occupations fall within the scope of this agreement at any given time. The introduction of ID cards makes it easier for the regulatory authorities to conduct the monitoring of activities as they are only issued to employees and employers that are registered in the relevant registers. Firms currently covered by the agreement (those under sectors of construction, hotels and restaurants) guarantee that they will respect the rules and regulations of the labour market. Union membership is not legally mandatory but over 80% of employees are members and take wages determined by union negotiations.
The broad objective of this project is that the agreement will reduce the number of undeclared workers and increase the number of new legal job openings. The workplace ID card project also aims to improve the conditions under which certain health and safety regulations are monitored, as well as to ensure that employees receive the wage and working conditions established in the regulations.
All employers in the respective industries are obligated to ensure that their employees get workplace ID cards when they begin working. The aforementioned institutions have formed inspectorate units: inspectors go to worksites to check on workplace IDs, thus taking action against undeclared work. On occasions the units from both sides conduct joint workplace inspections. A real time (in the field accessible) database is in place, in which inspection units document their findings in real time. This database is crucial for exchanging information on how this project progresses.
Article 6 of the agreement between ASÍ and SA, ‘Agreement on foreigners in the Icelandic labour market’, states that if there is no union representative at a workplace, an inspector from the union can request access to information.
The Act also specifies that inspectors shall send the information stated on workplace ID cards to the tax authorities, the Directorate of Labour, the social insurance administration, chiefs of police and, when relevant, the Directorate of Immigration and the National Registry, so that it is possible to check whether the employer or employee is working in accordance with the relevant Act, which each institution is to implement.
Lessons and conclusions
Achievement of objectives
Up to the summer 2012, no formal evaluation of this measure had been conducted.
The investigation units also respond to tip-offs in the workplace. The joining of forces has made investigation and control of activities against undeclared work more effective.
If the relevant registrars are available, there is a potential for transferability of this project. Workplace ID cards and the obligation to have them on the workplace are in use in many other EU countries.
Consultative Committee of ASÍ and SA.