Off-the-books employment down to 37 pct, says SGK
The share of national employment unregistered by the state has fallen from 45.6 percent to 37 percent over the past three years, Social Security Institution (SGK) head Fatih Acar said on Thursday.

Registering employees with the state allows workers to contribute to their social security pensions and claim state medical benefits. "This is quite gratifying news," Acar said during a press conference. "We've added to the books around 1.25 million workers over the last three to three-and-a-half years." Acar also claimed the SGK's 700-plus employment auditors had discovered and registered 80,000 previously unregistered companies.

The SGK head told the press the reduction is part of a three-year campaign to reduce off-the-books employment practices, which have long been the norm in a country where the informal economy for decades made up over half of gross domestic product (GDP). In the past 10 years, the state has gradually reined in that number, with a Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) report in July that concluded that the informal economy had been reduced to 37.5 percent of the economy.

Measuring the informal economy is nonetheless often guesswork, with state statistics agencies grasping at straws when it comes to small-scale enterprises in the construction, textile and services sectors. In October, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said the government would step up audits and warned firms that hiding from tax payments and mandatory contributions to employees' social security funds would face stiffer penalties than in years past.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-23 20:00:01
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