On the 31st of January, the European Federation for Family Employment & Home Care (EFFE) launched its European observatory of Personal and Household Services (PHS): the EFFE LAB, in presence of Marc Angel, Vice-President of the European Parliament. During this event, the EFFE LAB unveiled its first deliverable, an interactive mapping of the PHS sector in the EU, which represents 3.4% of the total employment in the Union.
EFFE and its new observatory, the EFFE LAB, aims to promote social issues at the EU level. As the COVID crisis upended the habits of European citizens, the EFFE LAB is looking at the notion of the “home” as a potential place of support for EU citizens and essential to meet the needs of long-term care in Europe. The EFFE LAB gathered and produced the data that will be needed to launch innovative ideas around the key themes of an emerging sector: combating undeclared work, upskilling, solutions to labour shortages, working conditions, attractiveness of the sector and social dialogue, amongst others.
Drawing on the expertise and knowledge of EFFE’s members and its partners, academics and civil society, the EFFE LAB will propose thinking areas and good practices to the European institutions and the Member States to help them structure the home employment sector in Europe. EFFE LAB’s role will be to create a debate on care and home employment policies in order to help Member States to cope with their ageing populations and the growing demand for care services.
As explained by EFFE’s General Delegate, Aude Boisseuil during the launch of the EFFE LAB “the ambition is for this new observatory to contribute to the structuration of the sector and help Member states in the definition of their public policies in the PHS sector. The first deliverable of the EFFE LAB is a mapping of public policies on home-based employment in the 27 EU Member States. By providing an analysis of the direct and indirect care policies in all 27 Member States, this cartography aims to be a key tool for policymakers in implementing the recently adopted Council Recommendations on Long-Term Care and Childcare”.
During the meeting, Aude Boisseuil, Marie Béatrice Levaux, Andrea Zini, Jean-François Lebrun, Marc Angel, Milan Brglez, Bruno Ribeiro Barata, Dana-Carmen Bachmann focused on the impact of home care and the importance for them to be valued, as Europe’s population ages and demand for care increases. Even if the private care sector has just been recognised as an area for generating employment and contributing to the economy, Member states do not support and recognize enough essential workers in the PHS sector. “Without solid data they remain invisible” as EFFE’s President, Marie Béatrice Levaux highlighted it. The data issued by EFFE LAB and its outcomes allowed to the speakers from EFFE to raise awareness on one of the main issues we face concerning domestic work & homecare: the conflation between informal care & domestic work and reminding that our domestic and home care workers are professionals and should not be assimilated to informal carers.
Intervenors and participants shared their views on the proposal of the European Commission regarding long-term care & early childhood education. Among the issue raised, a special emphasis was placed on gender equality to have a better comprehension of care services. “Investing in care is an investment in gender equality and social fairness” as the Vice-president of the European Parliament Marc Angel explained it. To this end, innovative solutions and good practices must be shared to ensure that the free choice of households and individuals to decide which model of care best suits their needs, and on the creation of decent jobs in their homes to meet these needs.
A good opportunity will be the Porto Social Forum, announced by the Counsellor for Social Affairs of the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU, Mr. Bruno Ribeiro Barata for the 26th & 27th of May 2023
As the von der Leyen Commission enters its final two years it is necessary to provide knowledge on the sector and stimulate a debate, so that mentalities change in Europe declared Marie Béatrice Levaux & Andrea Zini at the closure. EFFE and the EFFE LAB will seek to engage in the preparation of the work of the next European Commission to include social issues as a political priority for the next mandate.
Marie Béatrice Levaux concluded by announcing the Domestic & home care Congress organised by EFFE to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It will bring together representatives from several Member States to discuss the issues related to the domestic & home care employment sector on the 14th of November 2023, and to inform the work of the future Commission in this area and in which the EFFE LAB will be involved.