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HORECA Week of Action June 2024 - webnews picture

Restaurants and hotels inspected in Cyprus, Lithuania and Romania at the start of the summer season

Published date

ELA supported cross-border inspections of 50 companies in hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) sector in June. More than 400 workers were interviewed.

Press release

Three joint inspections took place between 10-16 June in Cyprus, Lithuania and Romania. The action was carried out by labour inspectors in cooperation with enforcement officers from social security and tax authorities, as well as Police. Observers joined from Belgium, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece and Latvia. 

  • 423 workers interviewed 
  • 50 companies checked 
  • 48 control officers involved, including observers from other participating Member States and ELA staff 
  • 7 Member States participated in total.

Suspected infringements in the three joint inspections concerned undeclared work, minimum wage laws, payment of salary in cash and occupational safety and health violations.  

A major action took place in Cyprus where 45 companies were checked. So far 10 notices have been issued with fines expected to exceed 86,000 euros.  

I found the approach of the Cypriot colleagues recognizable in many ways as well as truly inspiring in others. While adequately strong sanctions were handed out, there was also a space for the voice of both the workers and the employers to be heard in the process of the inspection.

In Lithuania, the newly established Inter-institutional Cooperation Centre assisted in the targeting of the inspections.

We have selected restaurants with potentially higher risks of violations in labour but also tax area. This is a new approach for us that already starts to bear fruit.

Background information

The HORECA sector is a priority economic sector for ELA in 20241. The sector is characterised by high level of undeclared and underdeclared work, seasonality and employment of many young as well as mobile workers.  

The HORECA sector is comprised of a younger-than-average workforce. In Cyprus and Lithuania, the share of workers 15 -24 years old in the HORECA sector is 18% and 21% respectively, however, in Romania it is smaller (9 %). The share of foreign nationals in the HORECA sector especially stands out in Cyprus, where it is 38% in comparison to the average of 9% for the whole EU economy.

There is a large proportion of small companies in the HORECA sector. This might pose specific challenges in terms of access to up-to-date information on workers' and employers' rights and responsibilities. In the three countries, most workers in the HORECA sector worked in small companies, with less than 20 employees. These companies employed 55% of all workers in the sector in Romania, 47% in Lithuania and 38% in Cyprus. 

1 The data presented in this box are the own calculations of the authors based on Eurostat data (SBS, EU LFS and 2022 EU LFS scientific use-file microdata v1, released on 18 January 2024, DOI: 10.2907/LFS1983-2022). The responsibility for all conclusions drawn from the data lies entirely with the author(s).