Tackling undeclared work database

Undeclared work can be defined as work which is in itself legal but is not declared to the authorities for tax, social security and/or labour law purposes. Across the 28 Member States of the European Union, a great deal of effort is being invested into developing and testing policy measures that aim to tackle undeclared work.

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New measures to combat undeclared work in domestic services, Greece

28 October 2009
  • Greece
For certain categories of migrant workers, the new institutional framework for migrant workers in Greece has introduced specific reforms which aim to make the renewal of immigrants’ residence permits easier and, at the same time, to combat undeclared work among such workers. In the case of domestic workers, at whom most of the reforms are targeted, the provisions of their social security system have paradoxically hampered efforts to limit undeclared work in this industry.
  • Sectors

  • Type of measure:

Interadministrative unit for combating illegal work, Luxembourg

28 October 2009
  • Luxembourg
  The Interadministrative unit for combating illegal work was set up in 2000. It is capable of mobilising over 200 officials from six to eight ministries, administrations or public establishments if required. It has carried out a number of unannounced inspections at construction sites nationwide. Membership of inspection teams varies. The Labour and Mines Inspectorate is the driving force behind and coordinator of this informal unit. Cross-border cooperation occurs in some cases.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection

Social information and investigation service, Belgium

28 October 2009
  • Belgium
  The federal government of Belgium has set up the Social Information and Investigation Service (Service d’inspection et de recherche sociales/Sociale Inlichtingen- en Opsporingsdienst, SIRS/SIOD) to intensify and streamline the fight against social welfare benefit fraud. This new organisation is specifically designed to improve coordination between the various parties involved in fraud prevention. As part of this initiative, the competencies of social welfare inspectors have also been extended.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection

Sectoral campaigns of the Labour Inspectorate, Romania

28 October 2009
  • Romania
The Labour Inspectorate has developed inspection and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at identifying and controlling undeclared work in economic sectors where it is prevalent. High taxation tends to encourage the grey economy, meaning that employers and employees agree on the minimum legal pay rate and the workers are then paid more in cash, off the record. Labour and tax inspectors must work in close cooperation to combat the problem.
  • Sectors

  • Type of measure:

Combating undeclared work and promoting safety in construction, Italy

28 October 2009
  • Italy
To combat undeclared work and improve workplace safety in the building industry, Article 36bis of Law No. 248/2006 introduced ‘Urgent measures to fight undeclared labour and to promote safety measures in workplaces’. A number of sanctions can be applied to employers found to be using undeclared labour.
  • Type of measure:

Inspection programme to combat undeclared work, Portugal

28 October 2009
  • Portugal
  The Inspection Action Plan 2008–2010 of the Authority for Working Conditions includes a specific measure aiming to combat undeclared and irregular work in Portugal. The inspection programme to combat undeclared work (Programa inspectivo para o combate ao trabalho não declarado) has a national scope and covers all sectors of economic activity, with a special focus on the construction sector and hotels and restaurants.  
  • Sectors

  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection

Statutory staff registers in restaurants and hairdressers, Sweden

28 October 2009
  • Sweden
  In January 2007, the Swedish government implemented a law on obligatory staff registration for those working in restaurants and hairdressers. The law allows the National Tax Agency to conduct unannounced inspections at workplaces to determine if employers are registering their staff in the correct manner. The National Tax Agency estimates that about 4,200 previously undeclared instances of employment have become legal through the implementation of staff registers. In 2009, plans are underway to implement the successful law in other sectors also.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection

Control measures to limit illegal employment, Latvia

28 October 2009
  • Latvia
 
  • Type of measure:

    Prevention

‘On the Spot’ company set-up, Portugal

28 October 2009
  • Portugal
  In 2005, the Portuguese Secretary of State of Justice implemented an initiative in order to relieve the bureaucratic burden accompanying the setting up of new companies. By simplifying the administrative requirements, it is now possible to create a company ‘on the spot’ in a single office in a single day. Although it is not an explicit objective, this measure should contribute to combating undeclared work.  
  • Sectors

  • Type of measure:

    Legitimising undeclared work

Hidden economy monitoring group, Ireland

28 October 2009
  • Ireland
  This case example describes the role of the ‘Hidden economy monitoring group’ in tackling undeclared work. The group is part of a broader legal employment rights framework concluded by the government and the social partners under Ireland’s social partnership agreements. It has been accompanied by a number of other measures designed to tackle the informal economy, including the enactment of the Employment Law Compliance Bill.  
  • Type of measure:

    Changing attitudes: awareness raising, Deterrence: improve detection, Deterrence: increase penalties, Prevention

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