Home employment can be defined as a direct and legal employment relationship between two individuals taking place in a household.
The European Federation for Family Employment and Home Care (EFFE) is one of the main actors of the personal and household services (PHS) sector at EU level. According to the EU definition, PHS refer to a large range of social and health related activities which contribute to the well-being at home of families and individuals: child-care, long term care for the elderly and for persons with disabilities, housekeeping, educational support, home repairs, gardening.
EFFE specifically strives for the recognition and the development of the direct employment model (also called home or family employment) at European level. It is characterized by a contractual work relationship between two private individuals, without intermediary or any profit/commercial purpose. Based on mutual trust and cooperation between employers and workers, this declared model aims to guarantee them social rights, in accordance with the cultural approaches of each Member State.
Home employment is fully in line with the European social market economy vision, since it provides a sustainable response to many demographic and societal challenges. It offers alternative solutions in terms of care and support for the elderly. Less expensive and more adapted to the wishes of citizens and their families, home employment allows a better reconciliation of work and family life through the outsourcing of part of the responsibilities to a third party, declared and paid. If it is well structured and supported by the Member States, home employment thus offers a realistic response to overwork situations for women, who are very often in charge of family responsibilities, and avoids their partial or total disengagement from the labour market. It can foster migrants’ integration, since it gathers low skills activities that can lift workers out of precarious employment.
In addition to its social dimension, home employment plays an important role in the European economy. With more than 8 million officially registered workers in the European Union, the PHS sector represents for 4% of total employment. However, the Commission estimates that 50-70% of the jobs that it covers are not declared, which means that around 10 million workers are not included in European statistics. The lack of policy framework for the sector, both at EU level and within Member States, increase the exclusion of these vulnerable workers. Stuck in the informal economy, they have no social rights, no social protection and very limited access to the labour market. Some examples in the EU show that the better structuration of the home employment sector through support schemes for declared work (administrative simplification via declarative digital platforms, solvency of employers through tax credit schemes or tax deductions) offers effective and sustainable solutions. Furthermore, the professionalisation of workers significantly improves the quality of the services offered and strengthens the attractiveness of the sector.
To this end, the recognition of home employment is an essential step towards the completion of a social Europe that responds to the needs of its citizens. EFFE’s objectives are the following: