Improving the quality of care

EPSU participated in roundtable discussion organised by EFSI with members of the European Commission, EFSI, COFACE, the EESC, PLS, CEEP. The discussion is a follow-up to the European Project 4Quality! (, in which EPSU was a stakeholder, to debate the way forward on Personal- and Household Services.

Improving working conditions and of quality of personal care and household services are key. Personal and care and household services (PHS) are characterised by a high share of lower paid jobs and precarious working conditions. Those working in private households and in community-based care services often also might have a low number of working hours and working hours spread over the working day, including time in between to go from one household to another. As the female workforce makes up for the large majority of workers, the issue of gender pay gaps arises. In addition, the fact that households/families become direct employers, the extent of undeclared work as a difficulties to organise and to give access continuning professional training are major challenges.

EPSU made the point that for trade unions it is often difficult to organise workers in private households to negotiate - not least due to the lack of organised employers associations as counterparts - and conclude collective agreements.

Other main messages which would need EU support:

  • A universal rights-based approach to care for all citizens
  • Sustainable public financing and democratice control through investment in care and other social and public services
  • Ethical recruitment of carers
  • Decent work for cares (wages, employment conditions)

The need to ratify relevant ILO Conventions (including 189) was echoed by all participants. Future European initiatives to cover this debate are the discussion around European Pillar of Social Rights, the Work-Life Balance initiative (including Carers Leave), the ESSC opinion on “live-in-care” workers and the EP report on domestic workers.

You can read the EPSU Orientation Paper on PHS here