Transforming undeclared work
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Transforming undeclared work into regular employment Finn Ola Jølstad European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities Unit A2 – Employment Strategy ETUC seminar 14-15 April 2005, Brussels. The concept of undeclared work.

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Transforming undeclared work into regular employmentFinn Ola JølstadEuropean CommissionDG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal OpportunitiesUnit A2 – Employment Strategy ETUC seminar14-15 April 2005, Brussels


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The concept of undeclared work

  • "Any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to the public authorities, taking into account differences in the regulatory system between Member States"

  • Broad categories:

  • Undeclared work through "undeclared hours" as part of a regular job.

  • A regular worker has one or several additional jobs which are not declared.

  • The main job held by a worker which is undeclared, including work of low number of hours per week/per month.


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Undeclared work – many dimensions

  • Measurement difficult, but indications that size of undeclared work vary substantially between Member States, from 1-2 % to more than 20 % of GDP.

  • Implications for

  • Workers

  • Businesses

  • Consumers

  • Gender Equality

  • Sustainability of social protection systems


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The changing nature of undeclared work

  • Sectorial variations between Member States.

  • Agriculture, building and construction, hotel and restaurant business and domestic services are amongst those sectors most frequently cited to have a high prevalence of undeclared work.

  • Different causes and variations between Member States

  • Institutional and regulatory conditions (tax and social contributions, regulatory burdens, trust in the public authorities)

  • The ways of life (cultural and economic differences)

  • Illegal immigration (supply of undeclared workers)


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The policy framework at the European level

2003/2004 Employment Guideline:

"Member States should develop and implement broad actions and measures to eliminate undeclared work, which combine simplification of the business environment, removing disincentives and providing appropriate incentives in the tax benefit system, improved law enforcement and the application of sanctions. They should undertake the necessary efforts at national and EU level to measure the extent of the problem and progress achieved at national level".

2003 Council resolution

2005 Employment Guideline (Commission proposal)

Promote flexibility combined with employment security and reduce labour market segmentation through [ ... ] determined action to transform undeclared work into regular employment


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The policy framework at the European level

2005 -2010 Social Agenda

Green Paper on the development of labour law

Corporate Social Responsibility

Green Paper on an EU approach to managing economic migration (COM(2004)811 final of 11.01.2005

Social Dialogue

2003/2005 work programme

European Economic and Social Committee

The role of civil society in helping to prevent undeclared work (7 April 2005)

European Parliament