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Undeclared work: a widespread issue

Mar 26, 2014 | News

(26 March 2014) – A Eurobarometer survey shows that undeclared work continues to be widespread in Europe, though the extent and perception of the problem vary from country to country.

The problems identified in the survey are due to be addressed in a Commission proposal in April to launch a European Platform on the prevention and deterrence of undeclared work that would aim to step up cooperation between Member States to tackle the issue more effectively.

The Eurobarometer survey, carried out in 28 EU countries, shows that:

  • 11% of respondents admit that they have bought goods or services involving undeclared work in the previous year, while 4% admit to have carried out undeclared paid activities;
  • 60% indicate lower prices as the main reason for purchasing undeclared goods or services, and 22% mention doing favours to friends;
  • 50% mention the benefits to both parties as the main reasons for working on an undeclared basis, 21% mention the difficulty to find a regular job, 16% the perception of taxes being too high, and 15% the absence of other income. Southern Europeans are particularly likely to mention difficulty finding a regular job (41%) or having no other source of income (26%).

Europeans mostly carry out undeclared work in home repairs and renovations (19%), gardening (14%), cleaning (13%) and babysitting (12%).

Latvia, The Netherlands and Estonia have the highest proportion of respondents providing undeclared work (11%). However, there are important national differences in attitudes and perceptions of what constitutes undeclared work as well as in the nature and volume of the services involved.

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