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Success in reducing undeclared work, Labor Inspectorate report shows

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Success in reducing undeclared work, Labor Inspectorate report shows

    By Andis Apostolou*

    The Labor Inspectorate was established in 2017 with the main objective of tackling undeclared and illegal work which are among the main issues of Labor exploitation.

    The Inspectorate safeguards the enforcement of provisions of 30 different Labor Laws for which the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance is the competent authority.  

    An important role of the Labor Inspectorate is also to monitor whether the general terms of employment such as remuneration, working hours, weekly offs, annual leaves, etc, are as prescribed by appropriate Law and procedures.

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    It operates under the direct control/authority of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance.  The operation of the Labor Inspectorate is financed by the European Social Fund.

    Its Central offices are located in Nicosia and there are also three (3) District offices located in Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca. The Labor Inspectorate carries out inspections both during public hours as well as outside public hours to all unoccupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The inspections are carried out either (a) on the basis of a complaint filled, or (b) based on the annual program, or (c) according to risk assessment.

    Labor Inspectorate handles complaints that are received either:

    • Through the telephone line: +357 77778577 (toll-free), that receives also among other information.
    • By e-mail: [email protected]
    • Via Fax: 22-806209         
    • Through a written letter to the headquarters of Labor Inspectorate:  77, Kallipoleos Avenue, 2100 Nicosia, PO Box 20540, 1660 Nicosia

    For the year 2023 , 748 complaints have been received for undeclared work as well as for violations of the terms of employment.

    During 2023, 604 administrative fines have been issued for undeclared work according to the Social Insurance Law (N.59(I) of 2010) amounting to €1,657,500. Moreover, 161 administrative fines have been issued according to the Labor Inspectorate Law (N. 88(I)/2020) for violation of basic Labor Laws and fines of €197,000 have been issued.

    The efforts of the Labor Inspectorate have a positive effect since according to the available statistics, there has been a reduction of undeclared work in Cyprus, from 14.22% in 2017 to 6.45% in 2023. In 2023, the percentage of undeclared work for EU citizens was at 16.89% while for Cypriots the percentage was 16.44% and for people from third countries 65.66% (the remaining 1.01% relates to Turkish-Cypriots citizens).

    < p>The Supervisor of Labor Inspectorate represents the Republic of Cyprus in the European Platform for Undeclared Work (European Labor Authority).

    Continuous training of staff is among the priorities of the Labor Inspectorate.  Therefore, 3-4 specialized seminars are conducted every year having to do with the main provisions of Labor Laws, as well as of subjects such as risk analysis, inspectors' behavior, and inspection procedures.

    The Labor Inspectorate has ongoing communication, cooperation and collaboration with other departments of the Ministry as well as other Ministries and Authorities to coordinate efforts and joint inspections are performed.

    The Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance signed in February 2023 a “Memorandum of Cooperation” with the Ministry of Justice, aiming to prevent and combat human trafficking as well as support the victims. Based on this Memorandum, the Labor Inspectorate proceeds with joint inspections with the Office of Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the Cyprus Police. It is also noted that a Memorandum of Cooperation is under finalization level between the Labor Inspectorate and the Cyprus Police as well as with the Department of Labour.

    Moreover, the Labor Inspectorate has established on a permanent basis cooperation with social partners regarding information seminars and campaigns. Also, the Labor Inspectorate cooperates well with Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations. Furthermore, the Labor Inspectorate provides information and clarifications to employers and employees regarding the provisions of the laws.  

    *Acting Director of the Department of Labor Relations, Supervisor of the Labor Inspectorate, Trade Union Registrar

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