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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Customer Liability and Fraud Prevention Acts, Austria

02 June 2013
  • Austria
  A variety of measures have been implemented in recent years in order to tackle social fraud practices in Austria, which have especially (but not exclusively) occurred in the construction sector. Two laws have recently been passed that make the subcontracting of ‘bogus’ companies more difficult. The 2009 Customer Liability Act targets construction companies subcontracting work to other companies. The 2011 Fraud Prevention Act aims to remove the unfair competitive advantage of some market players over others.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection, Prevention

Joint alliance against the black economy, Norway

02 June 2013
  • Norway
  In 2008, Norway’s central social partners, the Ministry of Finance and the Tax Administration renegotiated an agreement obliging them to further develop their joint cooperation against the black economy. The alliance primarily engages in awareness-raising activities and provides companies, entrepreneurs, workers and consumers with information on the societal consequences of undeclared work and guidelines on how to follow tax rules through their websites, as well as popular educational programmes directed at young people.  
  • Type of measure:

    Changing attitudes: commitment to tax morality, Prevention

Revenue Commissioners’ strategy on tax evasion, Ireland

02 June 2013
  • Ireland
  This measure concerns the activities of Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners in ensuring tax compliance during 2011, with a particular focus on its targeted ‘shadow economy’ activities. The activities targeted particular sectors and occupations such as construction, bars and restaurants, landlords/rental sector and white-collar professionals.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection

Information and awareness-raising campaign, Lithuania

02 June 2013
  • Lithuania
  In order to tackle the issue of undeclared work more effectively, in 2009 the State Labour Inspectorate placed greater emphasis on business consulting, public information and awareness-raising. The activities were implemented through various media channels, such as radio, television, press, internet, information screens in shopping centres and public transport. According to the inspectorate, the intensified public information campaign created a zero tolerance attitude towards undeclared work in society.  
  • Type of measure:

    Changing attitudes: awareness raising, Changing attitudes: commitment to tax morality

Hotline to report illegal temporary agencies, Netherlands

02 June 2013
  • Netherlands
  In March 2012 the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Affairs opened a hotline to report illegal or rogue temporary employment agencies. The hotline responds to the complaints of both the companies working with temporary employment agencies and to victims' complaints. It is part of a broad, inclusive approach, in which several ministries and the branch itself cooperate. If necessary, Interpol can be called in and an agreement has been reached with the Flemish government.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: improve detection, Deterrence: increase penalties

Network Services project, Italy

02 June 2013
  • Italy
  This initiative was implemented in 2011–2012 with a view to preventing undeclared work in the Italian ‘convergence’ regions of Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. It involved a traineeship programme targeted at Italian and European citizens in the construction, tourism and agriculture sectors who were unemployed or inactive. The project provided some 1,700 two-month traineeships aimed at enhancing job prospects and promoting skills acquisition.  

Measures to regularise and control undeclared work, Spain

02 June 2013
  • Spain
  Spain has a long-term problem with undeclared work, which led the former government (the Socialist Party, PSOE) to announce new legislation in order to regulate this situation. The plan was divided into two stages. The first stage granted an amnesty period, free of sanctions, allowing workers to regularise their work situation. In the second stage, more severe sanctions were imposed in an attempt to encourage employers to register their workers with the social security authorities.  
  • Type of measure:

    Deterrence: increase penalties, Legitimising undeclared work

Service vouchers, Belgium

03 October 2011
  • Belgium
The system of ‘Local employment agencies’ (Agences locales pour l’emploi/Plaatselijke werkgelegenheidsagentschappen, ALE/PWA) was the first attempt to transfer certain household services into the formal labour market in Belgium. Up to then, many of these services were made available through undeclared work. Through the ALE/PWA, long-term unemployed people can carry out neighbourhood services for private persons, local authorities, non-profit associations or schools for up to 45 hours a month.
  • Type of measure:

Voluntary Work Teams, Poland

03 October 2011
  • Poland
The Voluntary Work Teams (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy, OHP) function as a state-run budgetary unit supervised by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy (Ministerstwo Pracy i Polityki Społecznej, MPiPS). They provide educational activities for teenagers and young people aged below 25 years who have not completed their formal education and need to combine school with vocational training. Ultimately, the aim of the OHP is to prevent unemployed young people from taking up undeclared work.
  • Type of measure:

Joint Fashion Industry Teams, United Kingdom

03 October 2011
  • United Kingdom
  The creation of Joint Fashion Industry Teams (JoFITs) targeting the clothing and fashion industry was intended to facilitate greater cooperation across central government departments at the operational level. These area-based teams brought together civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Jobcentre Plus government agency to combat undeclared work in the clothing and fashion industry.  
  • Type of measure:

    Prevention

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