Millions of people work as carers for elderly in Europe, many of them are migrants who leave their country and their families behind. Most of them are women and move to become carers and, especially in southern Europe, they live in the same home of the person they care for. For example, in Italy it is possible to estimate the presence of around 900.000 migrant carers, the majority of whom work without a fully regular contract. Because of their irregular situation and the often high dependence of the person cared for, these workers are not able to reconcile their work and family life, as COFACE also highlighted in its European Reconciliation Package.
On 15 June, Paola Panzeri, COFACE Senior Policy Officer in charge of this dossier, presented the European Reconciliation Package conclusions and discussed about possible policy and legislative needs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome, intervening in a conference together with the Italian Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Interior.
The conference was organised by Soleterre, an Italian NGO who has been leading a research and exchange project on reconciliation possibilities for migrant care workers (report available in Italian here), financed by the European Integration Fund. During the project a set of indicators to evaluate work-life balance and a compendium of good-practices from across Europe has also been developed (available in Italian). During the conference, the issue of transnational families has also been touched, since many of these women move leaving their children or elderly parents in their country of origin.
COFACE believes this is a growing issue in Europe and will be working more closely on labour migration and families in the coming months, organising a capacity building seminar and a European conference in Bulgaria in November 2015 (more information about this event here).