European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case EU-2020-14/1089 – measures in European Union

European social partners call for safeguard of personal and household services workers

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 01 April 2020
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Well-being of workers
Author Eurofound
Case created 10 September 2020 (updated 23 September 2020)

Background information

European social partners representing the personal and household services (PHS) decided to draw the attention of public authorities to the situation of PHS employees, who experience severe shocks in the pandemic. They stressed that given the nature of PHS which is to provide care and support to people, including to people who can be far more at risk to COVID-19 than the general population, the continuity of those services must be ensured while guaranteeing the safety of PHS workers and users. Additionally many users are forced to self-isolate, including from their PHS workers. As a result, many PHS workers are going unpaid and the sectors face an unprecedented fall in their activity.

On 1 April 2020 European Federation for Family Employment & Home Care (EFFE), European Federation for Services to Individuals (EFSI), European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) and European Services Workers Union (UNI-Europa) adopted a joint statement on this matter.

Content of measure

EFFAT, EFFE, EFSI and UNI-Europa call EU and national authorities to:

  • issue detailed health and safety instructions towards PHS workers including guidance on how to behave with clients suspected to have COVID-19 and how to limit the risks to PHS workers at this time, especially taking into consideration that some people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic;
  • ensure access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to PHS workers, such as masks, gloves, sanitising gel, etc., given the risks of contagion in care and support provided in private homes and especially to vulnerable people;
  • avoid that due to a lack of equipment, staff shortages or financial constraints, PHS providers find themselves in a situation where they are unable to continue to provide essential care services to vulnerable people;
  • ensure sick leave and access to healthcare for PHS workers in order for them not to be forced to choose between getting paid and possibly putting at risk the people they are providing support to;
  • provide exceptions for PHS workers to cross national borders as many PHS workers are migrants and are currently in some countries unable to cross borders and deliver essential work.

Use of measure

The statement concerns personal and household services' employees in the Member States.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
EU level social partners
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: EU level


The statement is an independent joint initiative of social partners representing the PHS sector. On the employers 'side: EFFE, EFIS, on the trade unions' side: EFFAT, UNI-Europa.

Views and reactions

Social partners are supportive of their own statement.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      S - Other Service Activities S95 Repair of computers and personal and household goods
      S96 Other personal service activities

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 02 April 2020: Covid-19: home care and domestic workers’ unions sign joint statement with employers (


Eurofound (2020), European social partners call for safeguard of personal and household services workers, case EU-2020-14/1089 (measures in European Union), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.