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Counselling for home care workers in Germany

In 2019, a state-funded project to provide counselling for migrant 24-hour caregivers has emerged in Germany. Originally, the counselling was offered to Polish caregivers. From June 2021, Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian, Czech and Slovakian caregivers will also be supported in exercising their rights.

Caregivers face similar problems in carrying out their work as in Austria: Assignment to non-contractual domestic work and medical tasks, dubious employment models, non-transparent job descriptions and low pay, insufficient language skills, social isolation, etc. The situation of caregivers in Germany is further complicated by the majority of forms of employment that enable their exploitation in various ways: excessive working hours and unpaid on-call time, undermining of the minimum wage, various contractual penalties, bogus self-employment among the self-employed. The secondment model, for example, allows care workers to be paid the minimum wage applicable in their home country. By being employed by a sending company abroad, registration for social insurance takes place in the sending country, which has massive negative effects on the social security of the caregivers.

In the current professional discourse on the topic of 24-hour care in Germany, we therefore demand legal certainty for the employment of live-ins – i.e. regulation of employment models and avoidance of problematic constellations such as
the secondment model using the Polish service contract or the self-employed models. “The “Austrian model” is also no solution to labour exploitation and legal insecurity” Minor’s interim report said. Further demands include the creation of more control mechanisms and the regulation of placement practices, the establishment of contact points for caregivers, educational campaigns to raise social awareness for legally secure employment of caregivers in private households, state-supported qualification and further training offers for caregivers, expansion of already existing multilingual counselling offers including legal advice, etc.

Interim report by Minor (30.09.2021):