According to the EU Communication "Stepping up the fight against undeclared work” (24.10.2007 COM(2007)628 final), undeclared work is 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 system of Member States ". This definition links undeclared work with tax and/or social security fraud and covers diverse activities ranging from informal household services to clandestine work by illegal residents, but excludes criminal activities. Undeclared work is a complex phenomenon influenced by a wide range of economic, social, institutional and cultural factors, but it is generally recognised that undeclared work tends to obstruct growth-oriented economic, budgetary and social policies.
In order to fight against undeclared work national policy measures range from direct controls that seek to alter the costs of undeclared work and/or benefits of operating on a declared basis, to indirect controls that seek to encourage voluntary compliance of suppliers and purchasers of construction services.
At present most emphasis is put on altering the costs of undeclared work by increasing the perceived or actual probability of detection, such as by using ID cards, supply-chain responsibility, joint inspections and so forth. The social partners have played an active role in developing initiatives to tackle undeclared work both at national and EU level.
Less emphasis is currently put on direct incentive measures that make it beneficial and easier to operate on a declared basis, and indirect policy measures that seek to encourage voluntary compliance using awareness campaigns and addressing the structural conditions that cause undeclared work in the construction sector.
Short description of the project
In order to ensure that the work done at EU level (and in particular by the "European Platform tackling undeclared work”, hereafter the "Platform”) has concrete follow-up at national level, the European social partners of the construction industry, FIEC and EFBWW (European Federation of Building and Wood Workers), have launched a project entitled "Tackling undeclared work in the construction industry”.
In order to ensure the highest possible effectiveness, the project activities are focused on a limited number of countries (Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain), from which the national social partners of the construction industry and the national authorities have committed themselves explicitly.
The objectives of the project are:
1. Devising a European campaign on prevention/awareness of undeclared work in the construction industry, including providing appropriate promotional material to all EU national members (in their own language) on the prevention/awareness of undeclared work in the construction industry. This activity targets all the EU member states.
2. Fostering national initiatives by developing national toolkits and/or organising national tripartite undeclared work meetings for 7 countries. A selection of existing EU tools and approaches to tackling undeclared work in the construction industry, compiled by the Platform, are being put into a national toolkit in line with the choices and priorities of the national partners and the situation/reality of the specific country.
In order to stimulate concrete actions, the project also facilitates the organisation of national tripartite meetings in the targeted countries. The main actors are representatives of the national labour inspectorates, representatives of workers and businesses.
Starting in 2018 - ending in 2020
Final conference of Social Dialogue project TUWIC
24 September 2020, Virtual Conference
24/09/2020 – In a high-level virtual conference attended by more than 200 participants, FIEC and the European sectoral social partners, European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), have presented their joint recommendations to tackle undeclared work in the construction industry.
The Conference was part of the European week of action to raise awareness and promote the benefits of declared work: #EU4FairWork.
It has been also the starting point of a sectoral-specific prevention campaign to be followed on social media.
Read the full press release here
Read the joint statement here
To support the action, the EFBWW and FIEC jointly made a toolkit, with concrete examples on how to tackle Undeclared Work in construction. We invite you to use it as much as you can.
2020-09-24 TUWIC Videoconference Agenda-EN.pdf
2020-09-24 - FIEC-EFBWW Joint statement Undeclared Work.pdf
2020-09-24 Undeclared Work in the construction industry_Press Release.pdf
2020 - TUWIC Toolkit EN low res.pdf