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The EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) receives the proposals on long-term care and work-life balance from the Autonomous Communities, represented by the Basque Country

2020 May 14

The EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) receives the proposals on long-term care and work-life balance from the Autonomous Communities, represented by the Basque Country

  • Through Reper - permanent representation

 Brussels, 2020 05 14

Through the permanent representation at the EU, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) has received the common stance that the Autonomous Communities, represented by the Basque Government Department of Employment and Social Policy, have proposed regarding “The impact of long-term care on the balance between work and social life” that has been reached by consensus among the different autonomous communities.

 According to Marcos Muro, Deputy Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs at the Basque Government: “the Autonomous Communities have thanked the Croatian Presidency for drawing up the draft Council Conclusions regarding the “Impact of long-term care on work-life balance”.” The proposal put forward by the Autonomous Communities and Regions in the EPSCO Council debate in March: "A strong social Europe for just transitions", already proposed improvements in childcare by also promoting shared responsibility. It also suggested guaranteeing long-term care services for people who need them, and ensuring that responsibilities are shared equally between men and women.

In their proposal, the Autonomous Communities feel that “fortunately, the states, countries, regions and communities that make up Europe are all making positive steps in this direction to establish solid social pillars. The future of the Union, its development, strengthening and global position is based on these elements of social cohesion and sustainable development. The European project must take new and bold steps to continue to be a world leader in social policy. It is the fairest way, and social cohesion also represents an investment in stability and inclusive development.”

As the Autonomous Communities’ common stance mentions: “despite the progress made, all over Europe it is mostly women who deal with the task of caring for children and dependent persons, both in the professional arena and elsewhere. We choose to raise society’s awareness and generate a new culture. That is why it is necessary to change certain habits to favour equality and work-life balance. Equality between women and men is imperative. Change begins with each individual’s attitude and behaviour, and this must be catalysed with institutional support. Changing stereotypes and innovating in service organisation and care are key to making this work. The majority presence of women in the wide range of unpaid long-term care jobs is very clear, and they often have to fill in the deficiencies of care services and healthcare organisation. This unpaid work remains invisible.”

The Autonomous Communities have put forward our proposal to the EPSCO Council, to the European Commission and to the Social Protection Committee, requesting that, in the next joint SPC-EC report on long-term care (2021) and, particularly, within the Council Conclusions, long-term care be placed at the heart of the objectives, that this system of attention be strengthened, and that education and training in values of equality and shared responsibility in the work-life balance be promoted.”

Muro adds: “we also hope that practices be promoted that make it possible to ensure an equitable distribution of care responsibilities and a shared responsibility in the work-life balance between men and women, to overcome the current “feminisation” of care, both in a professional and non-professional arena, and that innovative measures be encouraged, such as: the option to achieve shared responsibility in the work-life balance without women (who are currently the ones who mostly deal with care work) needing to step back from the labour market, in an effort to help reduce the existing gap; activating new professions related to long-term care; the incorporation of new technologies for care; promoting telecare in urban and rural environments, the management of centres specialising in caring for the elderly; gerontological research and support for carers in the family environment.”

One aspect that stands out in the proposal put forward by the Autonomous Communities to the European Council is that the EU “needs to work on the design and updating of what retirement homes must be like in the immediate future, in their urban and rural formats, both as regards day care and in permanent residence situations.” The aim is to achieve professional centres that are adapted to meet the needs of their staff, the residents and their families, taking into account current requirements and trends.

“Europe must meet the sustainable development goal of becoming a cohesive and caring society in which elderly people, and those who care for them, can enjoy optimal quality of life. Long-term care and the need for work-life balance are key in this regard. Carers also need care. The Autonomous Communities and Regions know each case well and we have the opportunity to convey the need to apply suitable, coordinated and effective strategies and policies to the very highest institutional levels in the EU.” Marcos Muro highlighted.

 

 

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