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
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
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:
of respondents estimate the risk of being caught doing undeclared work as low
personally know someone who works without declaring all or part of their income
to the tax or social security authorities (Germany: 28%).
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).
results of the survey are available here.
Action Week planned
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