Care

17 Agosto 2022

Care may be globally defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of someone or something. It includes childcare, long-term care of older persons or those with disabilities and healthcare.Read more

Care may be globally defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of someone or something. It includes childcare, long-term care of older persons or those with disabilities and healthcare. To understand the implications of care, it is worth distinguishing between care recipients and people with care responsibilities (carers). It is also important to distinguish between care as paid or unpaid work and informal care provided by family and friends. The provision of care services is a key component of social protection, improving quality of life and access to education and employment for EU citizens. It includes childcare, healthcare and long-term care. 

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Actualizaciones recientes

Forthcoming European Care Strategy must look towards the future

The European Pillar of Social Rights states that ‘everyone has the right to affordable long-term care services of good...

Watch the webinar: #AskTheExpert: Reassessing gender inequalities in the labour market: impact of COVID-19 pandemic

To mark International Women's Day on 8 March 2022, Eurofound and EIGE held a joint webinar to reassess gender...

International Women’s Day: Eurofound and EIGE reassess gender inequalities in the labour market following COVID-19 in LIVE webinar

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Eurofound and the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) are...

EU context

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Improved access to quality and affordable childcare and elderly care can help to facilitate the European Commission’s goals to increase employment, particularly the participation of women and older workers in the labour market.Read more

Improved access to quality and affordable childcare and elderly care can help to facilitate the European Commission’s goals to increase employment, particularly the participation of women and older workers in the labour market. The European Pillar of Social Rights puts a strong focus on care, firstly regarding the right to equal opportunities and access to the labour market. This focuses on the right of parents and those with caring responsibilities to a better work–life balance, with suitable leave and flexible working arrangements, as well as access to care services. In the area of social protection and inclusion, it highlights the right of children to affordable early childhood education and good-quality care provision. It stresses the right to timely access to affordable and quality healthcare. It also underlines the right of all to affordable long-term and good-quality care services, particularly home-care and community-based services. 

The European Child Guarantee, adopted in June 2021, aims to ensure that every child in Europe at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to the most basic of rights like healthcare and education. The Council Recommendation on high-quality early childhood education and care systems, adopted in May 2019, aims to support Member States in improving access to and quality of their services. Eurofound participates in a thematic Working Group as part of this initiative. Adopted in June 2019, the new Directive on work–life balance for parents and carers, aims to increase women’s participation in the labour market and the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements. 

On 15 September 2021, EC President von der Leyen announced that the European Commission will put forward a new European Care Strategy as part of its Work Programme 2022 in order to ‘support men and women in finding the best care and the best life balance for them’.

Eurofound’s work on care links in with the Commission’s 2019–2024 priority on an economy that works for people. Eurofound has contributed in the recent past to the EU initiative on work–life balance.

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European Industrial Relations Dictionary

Research

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Eurofound research focuses on a range of care-related topics. These include working and caring, initiatives to support informal carers involved in paid work as well as those who are not, the increased need for long-term care, childcare provisions and access to public services.

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Eurofound research focuses on a range of care-related topics. These include working and caring, initiatives to support informal carers involved in paid work as well as those who are not, the increased need for long-term care, childcare provisions and access to public services.

Survey data on care

Eurofound’s regular European Quality of Life Surveys (EQLS) and European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS) cover various aspects related to these topics.

The EWCS provides valuable information about working time and flexible working arrangements, paid and unpaid work, work organisation and work–life balance. Research has covered topics such as the working conditions of women and men, the working conditions of an ageing workforce , as well as health and well-being at work.

The EQLS offers extensive data on care, including the high amount of informal care performed by people who are not in paid employment. The EQLS 2016 provides a range of information about quality of and access to healthcare, long-term care and childcare services in particular. Based on this data, a 2019 study examines access to and quality of key public services in the EU. It reveals citizens’ perceptions of quality in healthcare, long-term care and childcare and compares them between countries, groups in society and the receivers of care and indirect service users.

Access to childcare, healthcare and long-term care

Research looking at access to early childhood education and care (ECEC), healthcare and long-term care services across various Member States outlines the barriers to the take-up of care services and differences in access issues between population groups.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, research has examined access to healthcare and the rise in unmet medical needs both during and in the aftermath of the crisis. It highlights the policy need to look at the impact this will have on the health of a workforce from which more work is expected in the coming years. Moreover, research has explored the impact of the pandemic on the quality of life of older citizens, including the effects on the use of care services and older people’s reliance on other support.

With population ageing and the need for long-term care services on the rise, research has also looked at the employment and working conditions of the long-term care workforce, examined recruitment and retention measures in home- and community-based care services, and also looked at support services for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities and chronic health problems – both physical and mental.

Combining care and work: towards sustainable work

To be available for employment, work demands must be reconciled with those of one’s private life – in particular, the needs of children or dependent adult relatives. And these needs shift over the course of a working life. Eurofound discusses these issues in its EWCS research on working time and work–life balance in a life course perspective, and on working time patterns for sustainable work .

Addressing the childcare needs of working parents and the care needs of older or disabled relatives and dependants has become central to the discussion around resolving the work–life balance conflict. Eurofound’s research on reconciling working and caring responsibilities shows the challenges involved in combining work and informal care in times of demographic change, and what measures are available to working carers to allow them to balance these demands. Research on work preferences after 50 highlights the demands on older workers as care providers.

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Publications & data

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The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic. 

  • Publications (151)
  • Datos
  • Ongoing work (2)

Datos

A selection of related data on this topic are linked below. 

Ongoing work

Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles.