Undeclared work: Commission proposes new Platform to improve prevention
The European Commission has proposed today the creation of a European
Platform to improve cooperation at EU level in order to prevent and deter
undeclared work more effectively.
The Platform would bring together various national enforcement bodies
involved in the fight against undeclared work, a phenomenon that causes serious
damage to working conditions, fair competition and public budgets.
"Undeclared work deprives workers of social protection, puts their health and
safety at risk and lowers labour standards.
It also undermines fair competition for businesses and endangers the
sustainability of public finances and social security systems.
In the end, everybody loses.
This is why the Commission is fully committed to support Member States in
tackling this scourge, so we can protect workers, level the playing field for
companies and safeguard fiscal revenue", EU Commissioner for Employment, Social
Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented.
The new Platform would bring together all enforcement bodies involved in
tackling undeclared work, such as labour and social security inspectorates and
tax and migration authorities, as well as other stakeholders, such as EU-level
representatives of employers and employees.
The proposal envisages that all Member States should be members of the
Platform, as undeclared work affects all of them, and joint participation of all
EU countries is crucial to address cross-border situations.
The Platform would fill a vacuum at the EU level, where until now undeclared
work is discussed sporadically and in an uncoordinated way in different
committees and working groups.
It would allow for more effective cooperation between those who deal with
undeclared work on the ground every day.
The new Platform would:
- provide a forum where experts could share information and best practices,
thereby expanding the limited contacts existing so far
- explore national and EU tools to face shared problems, such as the related
phenomenon of bogus self-employment and undeclared work in subcontracting chains
- tackle cross-border aspects by, for example, exploring ways to improve data
exchanges between national administrations
- strengthen operational cooperation such as joint training sessions,
exchanges of staff and joint inspections
- develop common principles and guidelines for inspections to tackle
- increase awareness of the problem through common activities such as
European campaigns and adopting regional or EU wide strategies
The proposal for a Decision establishing a European Platform will now be sent
to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption.
Undeclared work is defined as any paid activities that are lawful as regards
their nature but are not declared to public authorities, taking into account
differences in the regulatory systems in Member States.
This notion has been integrated in the European Employment Strategy and,
since 2001, is addressed in the employment guidelines to Member States.
According to a Eurobarometer survey carried out in 2013, around one in ten
Europeans (11%) admitted to have bought goods or services involving undeclared
work in the previous year, while 4% conceded that they had performed undeclared
The survey reflected the incidence of this phenomenon in a wide range of
sectors and also significant differences among Member States.
The April 2012 Employment Package underlined that transforming informal or
undeclared work into regular employment could help to reduce unemployment, as
well as highlighting the need for improved cooperation between Member States.
In mid-2013, the Commission carried out a first stage consultation with
EU-level representatives of employers and employees on possible future EU
measures to increase cooperation between national enforcement authorities
It was followed by a second stage consultation at the beginning of 2014.
In both cases, social partners indicated that action at EU level will bring
added value to the efforts at national level.
The European Parliament, in its Resolution of 14 January, called for stronger
cooperation and reinforcement of labour inspectorates to fight undeclared work.