Tackling Undeclared Work

MEUSAC article published in Voice of the Workers Weekly – 02.09.2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed undeclared workers under the spotlight, particularly in key sectors such as cleaning and care services, agriculture and tourism.

Undeclared workers in the tourism industry include many seasonal workers who work in unregistered employment, bogus self-employment or receive envelope wages (cash which is not declared). In the agricultural sector, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has reported that 61.2% of the EU agricultural labour force is engaged in informal employment.

Through the work carried out by the European Platform tackling Undeclared Work, it is clear that tackling undeclared work involves the application of a variety of different measures at the same time through direct measures, such as fines and other penalties, as well as incentives such as amnesties and other actions designed to help the transition into declared work. An example of the latter is allowing workers to register their cash transactions and providing service vouchers to reduce undeclared earnings and encourage such workers to declare their earnings.

Due to the complex nature of undeclared work and the differences that exist, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for tacking undeclared work. However, effective solutions can be found by the adoption of holistic approaches, at national and cross-border levels.

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