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Decent Work: access and quality of long-term care

With demographic changes and trends, society is facing numerous challenges. For instance, there is an increasing number of dependents (due to an ageing population) for ever less active people. A high proportion of care is still provided by relatives whereas the potential of familial support is limited. Nonetheless, these demographic patterns can be turned into opportunities through the development of a sustainable strategy for long-term care.

Such care services (which include basic activities of daily living, basic nursing services, domestic help and administrative tasks) are provided to the elderly, frail and dependent or disabled people, to help them to remain autonomous and at home. It is a way to answer their will to maintain their everyday life habits and environment, thus enabling them to live a self-determined life. Long-term care services also contain a high potential of job creation (and are identified as such by the European Commission) and may then address some unemployment challenges. They may help employed caregivers to conciliate their work and family life and ease the burden on family carers by giving them the choice of outsourcing such services.

But these activities remain unattractive for workers partly due to the low incomes contrasting with the high demanding working conditions. Therefore, measures can be taken by public authorities to support the sector and make it affordable to users and attractive for workers.

Decent work conditions are at the basis of such an approach. Developing good working conditions, on an equal footing with other workers, including a minimum wage, social security protection, maternity leave and pension, is the prerequisite to develop an attractive long-term care sector. Measures for ensuring fair terms of employment, decent working conditions, long-life learning, trainings and occupational safety and health for domestic workers are essential to the social recognition of personal and household services workers.

One may estimates that such a step can create a virtuous cycle around these activities: encouraging workers to enter the market is a way to boost the sector, creating competition and then even better wages and incomes. It is a path to more attractive job offers for care workers. Furthermore, it is a way to improve the quality of rendered services while protecting frail vulnerable persons and caregivers from potential abuses. Care is then effective, safe and centered around the needs and abilities of the care recipients.

This seventh Policies and Practices’ session will focus on:

-       Potential links between work conditions and quality of work

-       The definition of good working conditions in the long-term care sector

-       Challenges encountered to implement such conditions and to value the quality of long-term care services

-       The use of new technologies and techniques in long-term care as a way to professionalize the activities and to better serve people in needs”


Speakers addressing these issues will include:



Daniel Molinuevo is a research officer in the Living Conditions and Quality of Life unit of Eurofound since June 2010. He is currently working on a project analysing the impact of the crisis on the accessibility of healthcare services in Europe. He also managed a research project that compiled examples of good practice in the recruitment and retention of home care workers. Prior to his appointment, Daniel worked in a European network of social services, where he focused on polices for children and families as well as on mental health. He has also collaborated with the Spanish Open University (UNED) in the area of mental health policy. Daniel is Spanish and studied sociology in Salamanca (Spain) and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He has a MA in European Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges and a MSc in European Social Policy from the London School of Economics, where he also worked as a researcher.



John Halloran is the Director of the European Social Network (ESN) which represents chief executives and directors of public social care and health services in regional and local government, as well as other research and development, inspection and provider organisations in over 30 countries. The aim of the network is to promote social justice and inclusion through the delivery of quality social services in partnership with service users and other stakeholders. ESN is directly supported by the European Commission and has Contributory Status with the Council of Europe. John was previously a senior manager of public welfare services in the UK where he was responsible for residential and community services for the elderly, people with disabilities and family and child protection services. He has a degree in social work and a masters in business administration as well as experience as an international management consultant, as a professional in the voluntary sector in France and as a volunteer development worker in West Africa. He has written extensively and has an international reputation as a speaker and commentator of social service issues.


This session will also be an opportunity for Claudia Menne, Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), speaker during the 2nd session of the cycle, to give an insight about the last session and to update her contribution to Policies & Practices.



Claudia Menne obtained her Master’s degree in Social and Economic History from the University of Bochum, Germany, in 1990 and has gone on to hold numerous and reputable positions in this field.  Most recently, in May 2011, Claudia was elected Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), set up in 1973 to promote the interests of working people at European level and to represent them in the EU institutions. Prior to this Menne was President of ETUC’s Women’s Committee and, from 2006 to 2010, she was Vice President of the German Women’s Lobby.  Furthermore, from 2006, Claudia was Head of the Confederation of German Trade Union’s (DGB) Department for Gender Equality and Women’s Policy.  In her position as Confederal Secretary of the ETUC she is in charge of (gender) equality, anti-discrimination, workers‘ participation (industrial democracy) and social protection, especially pension policies and demographic change.  She is a member of several working groups and task forces at EU level with regard to the Active Ageing agenda.





Tuesday 28 November, 2023





Policies & Practices