Joint campaign to raise awareness.

TR – 04/2020

Undeclared work deprives the tax authorities and social security funds of billions of euros every year. The European Commission now wants to tackle this issue across all Member States. Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, launched the initiative on 2 March 2020 with a video message: ‘All work matters. All workers deserve their social rights.  With the launch of this campaign today, we want workers, employers and governments to come together to recognise the benefits of declared work’.

The aim is to establish a network to strengthen cooperation and help Member States learn from one other. This will drive change at national level and better combat undeclared work in all its forms.

European Platform to combat undeclared work

Exactly four years ago, Decision (EU) 2016/344 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 established a European Platform to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work. This platform is funded by the EU’s Employment and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI). The platform’s 2-year programme for 2019-2020 includes 30 specific actions and focuses on four sectors of the economy that are particularly affected by undeclared work: agriculture, aviation, tourism, and the hotel, restaurant and catering sector.

The fight against undeclared work is in line with the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Employment Strategy and will be implemented by the national authorities. In future, cooperation will be coordinated by the European Labour Authority (ELA) in Bratislava.

Sobering findings from recent survey

A recent survey on Undeclared Work in the European Union (Special Eurobarometer 498) conducted in September 2019 interviewed 27,565 people across all Member States, including 1,565 in Germany. The survey looked at supply and demand, perceptions and acceptance. The main findings are as follows:

  • 50% of respondents estimate the risk of being caught doing undeclared work as low (Germany: 58%).
  • 33% personally know someone who works without declaring all or part of their income to the tax or social security authorities (Germany: 28%).
  • 10% of respondents paid for goods or services in the previous 12 months where they had reason to believe that undeclared work was involved, for example because there was no invoice or VAT receipt (Germany: 7%). These were most often house repairs and renovation work, hairdressing and beauty treatments, and other repairs (e.g. mobile phone, car).

The full results of the survey are available here.

Action Week planned

In addition to a social media campaign (#EU4FairWork) running until June 2020, there will be a Week of Action in all EU countries with numerous activities such as inspections in high-risk sectors, information events and visits to secondary schools. The joint aim is to raise awareness and turn undeclared work into declared work