The sudden spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pushes the European Union into a public health crisis of unprecedented dimension. Even if Member States have already put in place social, health and economic measures, an effective management of this issue requires above all individual and collective awareness. In fact, the European resilience lies in the hands of its citizens, who must adopt responsible behaviours. For this reason, EFFE encourages employers and domestic workers to follow the recommendations published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in order to slow the pandemic and protect the most vulnerable.
In its recent statements, the European Commission has underlined the need for a joint and coordinated action between Member States. The extraordinary suspension of the Schengen area for a period of 30 days and the mobilisation of 37 billion euros illustrate the scale of the measures required to tackle this dramatic issue. Member States will have to identify the socio-economic areas at risk to succeed in protecting their citizens, including the most disadvantaged.
Domestic workers are obviously included among them. Providing essential services in many households, not all of them are affected by the containment measures in force in some European countries. Therefore, EFFE calls on civil society actors in the home employment sector to approach public authorities in order to:
– guarantee hygiene and safety standards for all domestic workers carrying out their duties during the crisis by providing them with the appropriate equipment (masks, hydro-alcoholic gel, etc.);
– defend the rights and wages of domestic workers who cannot carry out their activity due to the containment measures;
– ensure the rights of quarantined employees so that they do not lose their jobs and have access to social protection.
EFFE invites Member States to make sure that no one is left behind. Mutual help and solidarity between citizens are the key elements to help the most vulnerable go through those difficult times.