On 27 May, a new European Platform on undeclared work has been launched to fight social dumping and to ensure fairness on the European labour market.
Last Friday, a new European Platform on undeclared work was launched in Brussels, in an attempt to fight social dumping and to ensure fairness on the European labour market.
In particular, the network aims at turning undeclared into declared work, thus ensuring social protection for millions of Europeans who lose out through various kinds of risky job arrangements, including dependent work relationships hidden as self-employment.
“This Commission vowed to put people at the heart of our policymaking and here, we have taken bold action to defend our social values and to strengthen fairness in our common market,” said Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen at the launch event: “For us it is clear: there is no place for unfair working conditions and social dumping in our European Union.“
Undeclared work, a European problem
Defined as “any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature, but not declared to public authorities, taking into account differences in the regulatory systems of the Member States,” undeclared work can take various forms.
The most common type is work carried out in a formal undertaking, partially or fully undeclared, while another type is undeclared “own account” or self-employed work, where self-employed persons provide services either to a formal enterprise or to other clients, such as households.
Construction, renovation or repair works, gardening, cleaning, provision of childcare or HORECA (Hotel / Restaurant / Catering – food services) are those sectors employing undeclared workers the most, although undeclared work may take place in every economic sectors, both within countries and across borders.
According to a Eurobarometer survey, carried out in 2013, 11% of Europeans admit that they have bought goods or services involving undeclared work in the previous year, while 4% concede that they themselves have received undeclared pay in return for work. One in 30 (3%) has been paid partly in cash by his or her employer (“envelope wages”).
What will the European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work do concretely?
Aimed to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work, the new European Platform was created by the European Commission, together with Member States and stakeholders.
Chaired by the Commission, the Platform is composed of relevant authorities of all Member States and representatives of cross-industry social partners on EU level.
It will discuss ways and means of how to improve policies and measures tackling undeclared work, foster cooperation between national authorities and other actors, also regarding the cross-border aspects of undeclared work. Additionally, it will focus on increasing public awareness of the issue.
Those sectors with a high incidence of undeclared work, such as agriculture, tourism, construction, security services, cleaning, commerce and road transport, will be represented on the Platform, which will meet twice a year and define a work programme.
The Commission has suggested to focus at first on three priorities, namely gaining better knowledge about the different forms of undeclared work, helping members to learn from each other by the exchange of good practices and encouraging joint activities, for example staff exchanges, joint inspections at cross-border level or campaigns.
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