In an effort to tackle rising undeclared work and the shadow economy, the Italian government introduced in 2008 the Buoni Lavoro, a system of “job voucher” payment.
Its initial objective was to provide a form of regulation of wage payments to seasonal agricultural workers and occasional work in family businesses.
For example, employers could buy vouchers, via the post, and provide them to workers as payment. Workers could get 75% in cash while the rest was for social security.
But things changed when successive government reforms of the scheme gradually helped it expand to other sectors as well, and missed its initial goal. Instead of using it on an occasional basis, Italian employers made a regular use of it and in some cases, it led to a replacement of work contracts.