The Practices of Enforcement Bodies in Detecting and Preventing Bogus Self-Employment

Jason Heyes, Thomas Hastings

Research output: Other contribution


This report examines the practices of enforcement bodies in EU Member States in
relation to the prevention and detection of bogus self-employment (BSE).

The OECD has described BSE or ‘false’ self-employment as consisting of ‘people whose conditions of employment are similar to those of employees, who have no employees themselves, and who declare themselves (or are declared) as self-employed simply to reduce tax liabilities, or employers’ responsibilities’. While many legal systems involve a ‘binary divide’ between employment and self-employment, a grey area exists between the two that includes ‘disguised employment relationships’, in which ‘an employer treats an individual as other than an employee in a manner that hides his or her true legal status as an employee’; and ‘dependent self-employment’, in which ‘workers perform service for a business under a contract different from a contract of employment but depend on one or a small number of clients for the incomes and receive direct guidelines regarding how the work is done’.

The study combined the review of the available academic and policy literature on BSE with case study research in eight EU countries - Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the UK – which included targeted literature reviews and interviews with national stakeholders. The findings were supplemented by interviews with representatives of European social partner organisations and other stakeholders signalling their interest to contribute to the study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages88
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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