The Commission proposed yesterday (9 April) the creation of an EU-wide platform to fight against undeclared work in all 28 member states, to help them share their best practices.
With a shadow economy taking about 15-20% of the European GDP, the European Commission is taking initial steps to curb undeclared work across member states by bringing the competent bodies in member states together, the EU Commissioner in charge of employment and social affairs, László Andor, announced Wednesday.
“Undeclared work deprives workers of social protection, puts their health and safety at risk and lowers labour standards,” Andor said.
All relevant national enforcement bodies, such as labour inspectorates, social security and tax authorities are invited to join the platform, as well as EU level social partners, the Commissioner stressed, to “develop their knowledge of undeclared work and even engage in operational cooperation. Through this exchange, new tools both at national and EU level can be explored.”
Such cooperation is aimed at dealing with cross-border situations where undeclared work is concerned, including in cases where workers are “falsely declared as posted from one country to another”, linking the proposal to the much debated issue of the posting of workers in the European Union.
Member states will be able to exchange staff, organize joint inspections and developing common guideline for inspectors, the Commissioner explained to the press, counting also on EU states to “raise awareness of this problem or example, through EU wide campaigns and strategies.”
Boosting job creation
“Working together we can find better ways not only to fight undeclared work more effectively, but also to transform it into regular employment, thus boosting formal job creation,” Andor highlighted.
The EU executive’s proposal is expected to have a positive impact on job creation and growth in the Union, as outlined in its communication “Towards a job-rich recovery” in 2012: improved cooperation between member states is needed to counteract undeclared work, implement sanctions and help “hidden” workers integrate in the regular labour market “to help the process of fiscal consolidation, creating a better level playing field for businesses and improving quality of employment.”
Indicative estimates put forward by the Commission in its proposal are that the funding of the platform would cost approximately €2.1 million per year through the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSi) in order to carry joint tasks such as trainings or campaigns.
The legislative proposal is budget-neutral and does not require additional staff resources as the current employees of the directorate general for employment and social affairs “will act as the Platform’s Secretariat,” the text says.
The proposal will be sent to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption.