A Silver Deal for Europe: EU and Member States should ensure quality long-term care

An EESC report finds the situation in the live-in care sector in Europe to be unsustainable, with working conditions of carers bordering on sheer exploitation and care recipients struggling to find affordable and quality care. This state of affairs has emerged due to a lack of state support for the care industry and is a product of political neglect.

The EESC has published a report on the future of live-in care work in Europe which points to an urgent need for stronger state involvement and effective action at national and European level to regularise the precarious situation of both caregivers and care recipients in this booming sector.

With demand for long-term and live-in care work continuing to increase due to demographic change, the ageing of the European population and rising chronic health needs, the state will not only have to invest heavily in the care economy to subsidise it in the near future, but it will also have a crucial role in the regulation and professionalisation of care work, the report said.

Defining live-in carers as workers employed to provide care services to older and disabled people who live in private residences as care recipients, the report recaps the EESC country visits to the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Poland, chosen on account of being both countries of origin and of destination of live-in care workers located across the EU.

The country visits and the report are a follow-up to the EESC's 2016 opinion on The rights of live-in care workers, the first policy document at EU level to address the issue of their working conditions.

"People we talked to – whether they represented workers, employers or care recipients – shared a common critique of many of the structural problems of live-in care work. Their biggest reproach was that it functions through the exploitation of migrant and mobile women, and that this is not only unethical and shameful but also unsustainable," said EESC member Adam Rogalewski, who co-authored the report with Cambridge-based researcher Karol Florek.

The full report is available here.  (ll)