The Domestic Work Sector in the European Union: Quantification, Evolution and Policies to Combat Precariousness
This article analyzes the domestic work and paid care sector in the countries of the European Union (EU), which includes jobs mostly carried out by women, generally with a serious lack of job protection, low wages, degraded working conditions, informality, precariousness and “invisibility” of tasks, etc. However, these jobs represent essential services for society, since in addition to caring for family members and dependents, personal and domestic care needs must be covered. From an operational perspective, the very characteristics of domestic work do not facilitate the collection of specific statistics necessary for the study of working conditions. This problem of statistical invisibility further slows down progress in establishing measures to improve the quality of employment for these workers. Therefore, it is necessary to address the discussion on the conceptual delimitation of domestic work and the measurement criteria adopted internationally, with special emphasis on those observed in the EU. Finally, the most advanced national regulations that try to reconcile the improvement of the working conditions of women employed in domestic work with the fact of promoting these services to cover the assistance needs of many households with economic difficulties are analyzed.
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