Moldova Fights Back: Drones Target Undeclared Work

The Moldovan Labor Inspectorate will be outfitted with video cameras, including drones, to conduct more comprehensive and intelligent investigations of construction sites.

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This announcement was made by the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, Alexei Buzu, during his appearance on the public television program "In Context." The stated aim is to combat undeclared work, a persistent issue in Moldova.

In the past two weeks alone, the Labor Inspectorate has identified roughly 80 individuals working without a formal employment contract. This figure is comparable to that of 2023. Minister Buzu attributes the lack of significant change to the "deep reform" currently underway at the Inspectorate, which he suggests is beginning to yield positive results. However, he clarified that neither the identified workers nor their employers will face sanctions at this preliminary stage. Nevertheless, Minister Buzu warned that penalties will be imposed if the violations persist.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection has outlined several planned reforms intended to discourage undeclared work. These include the introduction of vouchers for daily labourers and the aforementioned investment in video camera and drone technology for the Labor Inspectorate.

"We will equip the Inspectorate with video cameras and drones to enable far more thorough and intelligent investigations of construction sites," Minister Buzu explained. "This will encompass both occupational health and safety concerns and efforts to identify the number of workers on each site, along with their employment contract status, salary reporting practices, and other relevant details. We are committed to implementing the necessary changes and investments to establish the Inspectorate as an efficient, transparent institution that supports businesses adhering to regulations while simultaneously assisting those working off the books in transitioning to formal employment," he concluded.

Statistics indicate that roughly one in four employed individuals in Moldova participates in the informal economy, meaning they lack formal employment contracts, receive their wages in cash payments that bypass official channels, and consequently do not benefit from social security or health insurance. According to official estimates, undeclared work results in approximately 15 billion lei in annual losses for the state budget.

At the close of 2023, over half a million working-age Moldovans remained outside the formal labour force. While this figure represents the lowest recorded level in the past five years, Minister Buzu maintains that it is still "extremely concerning."

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Ecaterina Arvintii

Ecaterina Arvintii


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