Social fraud, in particular undeclared work, remains very frequent, whether the checks carried out by the Social Inspection services are announced or not.
During his career, every entrepreneur will sooner or later be confronted with an inspection by the Social Inspectorate. The Minister of Employment, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, who has made the fight against social fraud a priority, announced in January the recruitment of 168 inspectors in the Social Inspection services.
In 2022, the Social Information and Research Service (SIRS), which conducted 14,559 field checks (dont 1,509 flash controls” announced), in collaboration with various services – Control of social laws (CLS) and Control of well-being at work (CB) of the FPS Employment, ONSS, Onem, Inasti, Inami), noted infractions in 37% of cases.
Au 1ᵉʳ semestre 2023of the 8,269 checks which were carried out (including 1,196 flashes), 39% were positive.
“These controls carried out within the district cells, which aim to fight against social fraud and the illegal workTHE work places (construction site, kitchen and restaurant room, car wash), the Belgian or foreign workers (unannounced checks and flash checks), are carried out jointly by at least one federal social inspection service and another competent service to control social fraud and illegal work”, explains Bart Stalpaert, director of the SIRS.
“Flash” checks in sensitive areas
The list of flash checks, which are carried out in more sensitive sectors, is published on the SIRS website. “These announced controls are mainly for informative and preventive purposes. However, the serious, repeated offenseswill be subject to a minutesl”, explains Bart Stalpaert.
In June, during the operation in l’horeca, 46% of companies were in violation. In August, in the sector of cleaning22 of the 47 companies inspected were in infractionincluding six for the demonnew for the part-time and three for the unemployment. Sixteen warnings and eleven Pro Justitia were written.
In October, it will be the turn of the green sectors (agriculture/horticulture) and in December,meat industry.
4 levels of sanctions
Four levels of sanctions are provided: administrative fine (1), criminal or administrative fine (2 and 3) and imprisonment and/or criminal or administrative fine (4).
Among the most serious offenses (level 4) include the child labor, the occupation of illegal labor or the non-declaration of a worker to the authority (absence of Demonia), and these offenses are punishable by imprisonment From 6 months to 3 years and or of a criminal fine from 600 to 6,000 euros, or a administrative fine from 300 to 3,000 euros.
In the 1st semester, 56% of the offenses concerned the illegal work (57% for the whole of 2022).
Recipes difficult to evaluate correctly
The SIRS is unable to provide figures for amounts to be recovered and/or fines directly linked to the controls carried out at the level of the district cells. These are the various control services which, on the basis of the findings, impose a follow-up (warning, report, recovery, administrative sanction) or a fine. “In the event that a report is issued, the file is transferred to the competent authority for further action,” explains Bart Stalpaert.
“Estimating the results of the fight against fraud remains a difficult exercise.”
In 2022, social inspection services closed a total of 122,159 investigationsdont 7.718 were linked to dumping social. Income from the fight against fraud social rose to 334 million eurosaccording to the annual report.
“However, estimating the results remains a difficult exercise,” explains Bart Stalpaert, because there are several variables to take into account:
- fraud identification fiscal and social and corresponding amounts to be recovered ;
- THE amounts actually recovered, which sometimes can only be perceived years later;
- the fraud avoided thanks to the impact of the control system, which deters potential fraudsters.
The revenue figures are also incomplete. The results of the further processing of official reports at the criminal level (criminal fines imposed and collected) are not counted, because the necessary centralized information is lacking.
Finally, there is the time between decision and implementation of measures (which are or are not actually carried out). “For example, it is necessary to take into account the duration of certain investigations due to their complexity, the cooperation and the exchange of information that they require between different services, at the national and international levels. An audit launched during the year X may sometimes only give results during year X+1 or X+2.”
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