Why do some employees get paid under the table?

Last edit: Oct 19, 2022


We will review the reasons why some employees are getting paid under the table. In some cases, the motivation is related to the employee, and in other cases, it is related to the employer.

Why do employees sometimes prefer to be paid under the table?

Let's refer to the word we chose for the title - "Prefer" - before we review some leading reasons. In some cases, this may be accurate, but in others, it may not be. Here are some other words you might consider:

  • Can only
  • Must
  • Have
  • Demand

Others as well. People often have to choose non-ideal solutions when faced with complex situations.

No work permit

Sadly, there are many reasons why people migrate to other countries in search of better opportunities. Most of these people do not have a work permit and must be paid under the table. These people have no other choice, and they are probably aware that they are losing social benefits and overall income.

It is a necessity for these people to focus on bringing food to their tables immediately. The fear of arrest and expulsion by the police also reduces their negotiation power, even to demand the minimum wage.

Employers exploit their vulnerability by depriving them of their social rights, as well as by not paying the minimum wage as required by law.

Losing allowances

In some cases, people who wish to work in order to earn more money might lose allowances. Some government/national insurance payments might be reduced if the employee earns more money. Here are some examples:

  1. Disability allowance - In some countries the disability allowance that a disabled person is getting from the national insurance/government might be reduced due to the fact that the diabled person is showing earning capabilities. In such cases diabled people might decide not to work but since the disability allowance is typically small, some might choose to get paid under the table.
  2. Insurance claim - In some cases employees are claiming money in insurance claims and try to get money based on their work disability. Without trying to judge if right or wrong they sometimes HAVE to get paid under the table otherwise they can work.

Prefer the short benefit over the long term

Different reasons may lead people to prefer the short term benefit over the long term benefit. In these cases people might demand to get paid under the table and by that, earn more money in the pocket - short term.

This will is sometimes based on wish and sometimes on necessity.

Don’t understand that a domestic worker has full rights

There are some employees who do not understand or know their rights! They do not understand that domestic workers have the same rights as any other employee

Why do employers want to pay their employees under the table?

Here are some reasons why employers pay under the table. The employees that pay them do so because they want to employ them, as we have stated in the employer section.

Employers have other specific reasons for hiring:

Saving money

Often, people are motivated by a desire to save money. Employees can save some money by paying under the table. Take a look at our article: Would you pay your nanny under the table?

Losing allowances

The same as above, but from the employer's perspective. Due to his low income, the employer receives an allowance from the government. In the event that the government finds out he can employ a domestic worker, he may lose his allowance.

Don’t understand that a domestic worker has full rights

The same here. Surprisingly, some employers are unaware of the law. It is not clear to them that their domestic worker has the same rights as any other employee of a company.


We have outlined some of the reasons why people are paying under the table in this short review.

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