PHS policies - Implementation and monitoring guide

Working conditions


  • Objective 7: Better working conditions and health and safety provisions for PHS workers

The introduction of PHS measures contributes significantly to the reduction of undeclared labour and thus to better working conditions and health and safety provisions for PHS workers.

As indicated by the Commission (2015), several reports emphasise the need to improve working conditions and professionalisation, in line with the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, which promotes and requires decent work in the sector. Eurofound (Cancedda, 2001) points out that working conditions vary widely between sub-sectors of PHS, where some types of jobs and work settings offer decent working conditions and others do not. Among others, they pointed out the following issues:

  • Low wages in household services jobs;
  • Low levels of protection for the self-employed in the household service sector and related high exposure to the risk of physical and mental stress;
  • Part-time working is very common;
  • Workers see the low hourly wages of part-time work as a limitation rather than a choice;
  • In general, work in household services (especially personal services) is satisfying and rewarding for the more motivated workers;
  • The most valued aspect is the opportunity it gives them to develop meaningful relationships, help those in need and use their own creativity.

The future development of PHS sectors will depend strongly on the effective improvement of working conditions, as they are central to the creation of jobs in PHS. Indeed, improvements are necessary to boost the attractiveness of the sector to workers and to strengthen their retention in the sector.

The European project 4Quality! conducted an analysis of job quality in personal care and household services sectors in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). As such, it provides an overview of the situation in these countries and outlines identified good practices in the area of working conditions and skills development.