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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 21.05.2019, 12:13

Estonian entrepreneurs: problem of envelope wages has deepened

BC, Tallinn, 31.05.2018.Print version
The number of those entrepreneurs who believe that envelope wages are being paid more and more in Estonia has increased over the last few years, it appears from a survey carried out among the entrepreneurs of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, informs LETA/BNS.

"A sign of the growing actuality of the problem is that less and less of the respondents assess the payment of envelope wages close to zero when it comes to their sector. Rather, the share of those entrepreneurs, who assess the share of the payment of envelope wages by the companies of their sector to be higher, is showing an upward trend," director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mait Palts said in a press release.

The results of the survey indicate that the construction, accommodation and catering as well as art, entertainment and leisure time sectors are still considered to be the most problematic. "The field of transportation and storage was also highlighted, with 30% of the representatives of the field assessing the payment of envelope wages to even be 31-50% of the wages paid in their sector," Palts said.

According to Director General of the Tax and Customs Board Valdur Laid, the results of the survey also confirm the risks of the slight worsening of stances concerning the payment of envelope wages that are also visible to the Tax and Customs Board. "We are working to ensure that the attitude toward the payment of envelope wages is less favorable and that people sense that only thanks to the payment of taxes can we access such services like pension, health insurance and education. At the same time, we are definitely also thinking about new possibilities that would help fight the envelope wage problem in a focused manner in concrete fields," Laid said.

When it comes to new solutions, 68% of respondents considered it important when accepting envelope wages to extend liability more to the employees as well. The share of those entrepreneurs, who still assess the use of stronger control measures to be an effective measure for fighting against envelope wages, has increased.

"The discussion in cooperation with the representative associations of sectors also includes the solution of online cash register systems and the responsibility of the contracting authority in the contracting chain of construction," Laid said.

"The Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association has for years cooperated with the Tax and Customs Board and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the name of an honest tax environment. Regardless of this, the share of envelope wages paid in our industry is one of the highest," Verni Loodmaa, chairman of the management board of the Hotel and Restaurant Association said. "We consider important the continuation of active awareness-raising work to ensure honest and fair competition in the industry," he said.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has since 2014 been carrying out surveys among its members regarding the payment of envelope wages. Altogether 242 entrepreneurs responded to the questionnaire this time.

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