The European Care Strategy is at risk of excluding some of the most vulnerable frontline care workers. During a European Parliament event, employers and workers who provide personal and household care have emitted a joint call for the European Commission to correct this omission. They are supported by MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, the European Parliament Rapporteur focussed on the sector.
Whilst welcoming the European Care Strategy, the key actors in personal and household care are together sounding the alarm on some of the finer details of the strategy as it stands. In particular, the distinction between domestic long-term care workers, home care workers and other domestic workers will have major implications for already highly vulnerable groups of essential workers.
This distinction would entrench inequalities in the sector and lay the foundations for a two-tier care workforce. Despite an analysis that is consistent with the realities observed by care actors on the ground, the European Commission’s proposal for the European Care Strategy fails to address the needs of personal and household carers, including undeclared workers and undocumented migrants.
Their call gathered significant support in the European Parliament. It aligns with the European Parliament’s 2022 INI Report, which indicated the need for the Commission to recognise the Personal and Household Services (PHS) sectors. This is a necessary step towards ensuring the availability and affordability of childcare services, long-term care services, as well as decent working conditions for all workers providing direct and indirect care services in the home of private individuals.
According to MEP Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN, co-rapporteur of the 2021/2253: “PHS workers are an invaluable part of the care services without whom the functioning of our care systems would be in danger. The vast majority of PHS workers are women, which makes this a gender issue as well. To improve PHS workers’ situation, we need a clear definition of their work and decent pay for all carers in the sector.”
Together with, EFFAT, EFFE and EFSI, UNI Europa constitute the social partners in the Personal and Household Services (PHS) Sector. PHS partners sealed their commitment towards increased recognition for the PHS sectors by adopting a common work programme for 2022-2023 and recognizing each other as social partners on 10 March 2022. Read their joint recommendations on the European Care Strategy.