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Fines for Undeclared Work to Stiffen

Ljubljana, 06 October (STA) - Labour, Family and Social Affairs Minister Ivan Svetlik presented on Wednesday changes to the prevention of illegal work and employment act, which focus on fighting undeclared work. The reform bill would impose higher fines for both employers who fail to declare work and people who work undeclared jobs.

The changes will also sanction employers for fictional employment of a person, who in fact does not work for them.

Within three days after irregularities are determined, the employer will have to present undeclared workers with a open-term job contract and pay retroactively three months worth of social contributions and all other liabilities to the state.

Apart from having to employ the person, businesses will also have to pay a fine of EUR 15,000. Self-employed persons will be sanctioned with EUR 12,000, while individuals will have to pay a EUR 2,000 fine.

Individuals working undeclared jobs will have to pay EUR 1,000, while students performing illegal work will have to pay EUR 500. However, individuals who will report the employers violating the law will not be fined.

Employers and workers repeating the violation will have to pay twice the amount of their fine.

Under the changes, inspectors will seize the objects used to perform undeclared work. Under the minor offences act, the proceeds arising from undeclared work can also be seized

What is more, the changes also limit what the Slovenian legislation labels "neighbourhood assistance" - work provided to people one knows.

The document prohibits neighbourhood assistance when the work is related to professional activity of a legal entity or of a self-employed person, and in cases when work is carried out on property that is used to perform professional activity.

Work defined as personal second activity will be limited to EUR 6,000 a year (the amount is to be adjusted to minimum wage growth). This sort of work will however not be performed for legal entities and self employed persons.

Short-term work will be limited to 40 hours per month per employer, compared to now, when the allowed amount is 40 hours per month per worker. Only employers who already employ a full-time worker will be able to hire people to do short-term work.

The changes also envisage that the Customs Administration becomes one of the relevant inspection services. It is to take over the field of illegal work-related offences of individuals.

The amendments will be in public discussion until 6 November. According to Svetlik, they are to step into force three months after being passed in order to provide enough time for employers and workers to get acquainted with the changes.

According to the minister, an inter-departmental task-force is to be set up to look into more possibilities to fight illegal work. Svetlik expects other ministries to respond to and take part in fight against illegal work.

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