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The PHS sector and the future of the European Platform tackling Undeclared Work

On the occasion of EFSI General Assembly on 21 June 2018, an informal discussion with representatives of the European Commission, EFFAT and BusinessEurope was held.

The Personal and Household Services (PHS) sector is the third most affected by Undeclared Work in the EU1. The share of undeclared PHS services in the sector peaks to 70% in some Member States and it scores 30% even in countries where some public supporting measures are in place2. Good practices about how to tackle these issues should be exchanged among European partners. EFSI believes the European Platform tackling Undeclared Work is the right place to do so.


Mr. Lambert Kleinmann, policy officer within the European Commission’s DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion held a presentation on the achievements and perspectives of the European Platform tackling Undeclared Work, of whom he is secretary. He recognised that the Platform has not focused very much on the specific problems of the Personal and Household Services (PHS) sector. This may be due to several reasons. As there is a very big portion of Platform’s members coming from national labour inspectorates, it seems difficult to deal with PHS sector from this perspective. Indeed, households are not as easily (also for legal reasons) and efficiently inspectable as firms are. Other reasons are due to the wide membership of the Platform which sometimes reduces the space for agreements in sectors such as PHS that is affected by so many different approaches within in Europe. Nevertheless, in March 2018 a specific discussion on voucher systems was held and conclusions drawn, although they still await confirmation. The future work of the Platform will be set by the upcoming Working Programme 2019-2020 and possibly by the setup of a European Labour Authority, which the Commission proposed the Platform should merge into.


Ms Kerstin Howald, Tourism sector political secretary within the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) agreed on the need for the Platform to work more on well-designed service voucher schemes as an effective way to tackle undeclared work. It could encourage Member States to adopt a more ambitious approach toward the PHS sector.

Ms Jessie Fernandes, adviser at Business Europe’s social affairs department, stressed it may be a danger for the PHS sector if the Platform merges into the upcoming European Labour Authority as the latter will deal exclusively with cross-border issues, while PHS issues are tackled at national or regional levels. 


EFSI members called for the adoption of an approach specific to the sector of Personal and Household Services in the Platform’s next work programme.


1 : European Commission, European Platform tackling undeclared work, Member States Factsheets and Synthesis Report, 2016

2 : European Federation for Services to Individuals, PHS Industry Monitor, April 2018.