European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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11 January 2019

Cyprus: reform and enhancement of the labour inspectorate postponed

A draft bill that will enhance the work of the Cypriot labour inspectorate has been postponed for a second time. The bill seeks to improve the tackling of undeclared work, a relatively new activity for the inspectorate.

The reform of the labour inspectorate, which was announced in a draft bill, has been postponed at the end of 2018. The bill calls for the creation of a unified labour inspection service that will help tackle undeclared employment, but also protect employee rights. Several political parties criticised this second postponement and accused the administration of delaying approval of the law and siding with the demands of the employer organisations.

The labour committee of the parliament had finalised debate in the summer of 2017 on the draft bill providing for the creation of a new inspection service at the labour ministry aimed at tackling undeclared employment and other irregularities. The idea is to task the inspection service with the ensuring that there are no violations of the almost 30 laws relating to employment matters. The inspectorate, therefore, will have extended powers and will work under the minister of labour to carry out targeted inspections on the basis of a risk analysis. Modern software will make the monitoring of businesses easier. Moreover, the inspectorate will be able to issue fines in cases of irregularities. Cyprus belongs to the group of EU Member States in which the majority of undeclared work is conducted through self-employment.

The work of the Department of Labour Inspection (DLI), which is responsible for the labour inspectorate, is traditionally dedicated to the improvement of Occupational Health and Safety standards and to the protection of the public against risks arising from activities at work. However, in recent times, the inspectorate has broadened up the scope of activities. In June 2017, legislation came into force that seeks to tackle undeclared work by imposing heavy fines on employers, starting at €500 for each undeclared worker. In November 2018, labour inspectors issued €36,500 in administrative fines for undeclared work after joint inspections with the police of several establishments in Larnaca.

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