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A vision for Social Europe

23 July 2019

Can Europe keep on ignoring 18 million declared domestic jobs?

Mrs Marie Béatrice Levaux

4% of the total European employment volume – this is approximately the share of declared domestic employment in Europe, not to mention its dramatic growth potential. And yet the Members of the European Parliament are longing to take significant commitments in order to develop this model carried by civil society actors and up to tackle dependency, female participation to the labour market or low-skilled workers’ integration issues.

Last May 26 European citizens have cast their vote, the Parliament unveiled its new outline – now is time for action. Striving together to improve the lives of EU citizens is also working in favour of a sector beneficial to millions of households – I am talking about home employment.

Personal and Household Services (PHS) are an unavoidable mean to tackle the biggest challenges of the upcoming decade: global ageing – regarding the estimated 25% European population aged 65+ by 2035; female employment, work-life balance, supporting birth rates, social integration of migrants by granting them decent and social benefits’ providing jobs.

Notwithstanding an indisputable social utility, the sector harbours a tremendous growth potential – entailing more than 18 million declared jobs at EU level in the upcoming years, merely provided that a common social framework is given to this promising sector as well as that a virtuous, informal work discouraging model of employment is favoured.

And yet, lack of political commitment over the topic is still subject to interrogation. What is Brussels waiting for, and what does the Europe we seek look like? Let us not surrender to “uberised”, overly flexible economic rules – in other words, an underground economic scheme where domestic workers would be forced to accept indecent working conditions, in the name of labour flexibility and therefore of professional insecurity.

At the contrary, let’s foster a virtuous ecosystem based upon civil responsibility of the employer over his employee, which would mechanically favour low-skilled workers’ access to the labour market and social integration of migrant populations. Let’s put social rights, professionalization and vocational skills’ upgrading right in the centre of this model.

It now belongs to you to foster declaration encouraging tax policies and new simplification tools for job declaration with efficient digital platforms, and even more as an increase of declared employment will automatically allow an increase of social recovering and therefore to fund a bona fide social coverage for all domestic workers.

The future of domestic jobs is playing out today but beyond this point it is also a global society perspective that is at stake – and each and all of us have something to earn off of this for Europe to decently serve social utility and citizen welfare.


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