The number of people working and not paying the correct Social Security contributions in Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol, is on the rise.
A recently released report from the ministry of Work in Madrid covering 2018 says that 1,369 incidents were found locally of Social Security fraud involving 2,059 people, up from 1,857 people in 2017.
The increase in cases is despite a fall in the overall number of workplace inspections carried out in the area over the two years, from 14,081 in 2017 to 13,652 in 2018.
The data covers a series of offences uncovered on the inspectors' visits to companies and includes both infractions by workers themselves and their bosses in underreporting employment. Offences include: foreigners employed but with no work permit for Spain; workers and self-employed not registered to pay monthly Social Security contributions; and employers who are underpaying into the system for the number of hours their staff work.
The total amount of money found to have been defrauded in the province in the 2018 inspections was 5.6 million euros. This makes Malaga, with it high foreign population and reliance on temporary tourist work, the Andalusian province with the largest amount of black-market labour. The next highest province is Almeria, with its heavy use of migrant workers in the fruit industry, on 4.9 million euros of evaded payments.
Despite efforts by the government to persuade people not to work under the table or warn employers against Social Security fraud, as this harms the overall economy, the local Malaga data shows a 10.8 per cent increase in identified offences in 2018.
Of the 13,652 inspections in Malaga province, 87 per cent (11,809) were checks on workers to see if their employers, or the workers themselves if self-employed, were registered to pay monthly quotas to the State to cover healthcare, pensions and other rights.
On a national level, the sector of the economy with the largest number of offences was Hotels and Hospitality, making up 23.46 per cent of the total. This was followed by Professional Services on 15.88 per cent and retail on 13.36 per cent. The Construction sector made up 10.21 per cent of the cases of workers or bosses not following the Social Security payments rules in some way.