Last 7 May, the Italian member of the European Federation for Family Employment Assindatcolf (National Unions’ Association of Italian Domestic Employers) and its Vice-President Andrea Zini presented the European White Paper “Home, family employment and home care in the EU” at the National Council for Economy and Labor (CNEL) in Rome.
Reuniting representatives of public and political authorities, Italian social partners but also academics and jurists, the 10 proposals found in the White Paper were presented in particular with regard to their overall goal of higher recognition of home employment sector in Europe.
A true economic booster, but also a social pillar and privileged instrument of social integration for migrant populations with an estimated 8 million regularly employed workers and another 5 potential million job creations, home employment sector is now knocking on the doors of the European Union so as to gain both the legal and financial recognition it deserves, just a few steps away from 26 May election.
The result of more than two years of study and coordinated research between numerous contributors stemming from various backgrounds, the White Paper provides a comprehensive portrait of the current state of play of home employment sector in Europe and draws a series of proposals with the assumed goal of reinforcing it: from the creation of a European statistical observatory that would be endowed with an investigating power about the actual sector figures, to the fight against undeclared work and the challenge of professional certification – which would value up both the experience of domestic workers as much as the quality of services provided thanks to EU-wide adequate and standardized training paths.
Andrea Zini bemoaned a chronic underestimation of employment figures in the sector, “which represents more than 4% of total employment in Europe compared to 4.7% for hotel and catering sector and 6.8% for the building and public works sector“. “If supported by adequate public policies and funding” Andrea Zini said, “it’s an estimated pool of more than 5 million new jobs that shall be able to emerge by capillarity in the upcoming years – hence bringing the total volume up to 13 million jobs for an increase of more than 40% in comparison to 2019 rates”.
Alessandro Lupi, Vice-president of Assindatcolf, added that “in 70% cases, domestic employment in Europe is provided by external organizations’ representatives such as public service organizations, profit or non-profit organizations”. Only in 30% of cases does a household directly employ a person to provide care support for children, the elderly or the disabled. A model that is by nature more exposed to irregularities but also cheaper as per the absence of possible costs induced by external intermediation such as the service provider model.
In Italy, where families almost always employ directly a domestic worker and, above all, where there is no adequate system of public subsidies but only minimum thresholds for tax reduction or cost deduction, it is an estimated 2 million workers illegally carrying out a domestic occupation – that’s to say about 60% of the total employment volume in the sector.
“In order to fight effectively against this economic and social scourge” said Assindatcolf President Renzo Gardella, “it is not repressive measures against families but rather incentives to hire that must be encouraged – as well as a digitized system that could simplify management of the employment relationship“.