WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022

: Issue 05/2022

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 355-362

Wolfgang Schroeder, Lukas Kiepe, Saara Inkinen

Collective Action Autonomy: The Key to Making Long-term Care More Attractive?


The long-term care sector is often characterised by poor working conditions and low social recognition. Collective bargaining between trade unions and employers’ associations could ideally help to remedy the situation, yet joint regulation remains rare in the sector. Against this backdrop, the article examines the current organisation of labour relations and the limits of collective bargaining autonomy in long-term care in Germany. It argues that the weakness of collective bargaining reflects insufficient self-organisation on the part of the social partners. While trade unions lack the resources to effectively represent worker interests, the employers’ associations have the means but not the will to engage in collective bargaining. The result is a system of defective interest mediation that cannot easily be substituted by political interventions. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 363-370

Andreas Albert, Sigrid Betzelt, Ingo Bode, Sarina Parschick

The Power of Feelings. Emotional Regimes and Solidarity Patterns in the Long-term Care Crisis


Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, public discourse dealing with the long-term care system in Germany had signalled growing cost pressures, worries about quality outcomes, and notorious lack of time. While this has increased the challenges faced by care workers, stronger initiatives among them to change extant labour conditions are lacking, unlike in other social service settings. The article argues that this is also due to the role of emotions which concur with tensions or dilemmas and impact upon opportunities to take action. Drawing on a case study from the field of domiciliary care, the authors show how current regulatory frameworks, modes of management and individual coping strategies combine to produce “emotional regimes” which also influence attitudes towards users, colleagues and society as a whole. These emotional regimes are intertwined with specific “solidarity horizons”, hampering collective action by which this occupational group could enhance its social status and making any improvement improbable. Only more substantial and broad support from external social forces can create improvement. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 371-378

Heinz Rothgang, Karin Gottschall

Who Cares? Long-term Care Provision in Germany, Sweden, and Italy


Ensuring decent care for those in need of long-term care is a central challenge for politics and society in Western welfare states. The comparison of three European countries, Germany, Sweden and Italy, reveals that levels of care vary not only with respect to generosity and the financing of this new social risk, but also regarding the question of who provides the care and under what conditions it is provided. The article examines the differences and commonalities of all three countries, summarising the challenges of a growing demand for care providers and including the significance of the migrant labour force. Against the background of the varying national paths taken in long-term care the article reflects on the complex interplay of labour market, gender and migration issues. The analysis reveals that in all three countries future service provision is not guaranteed and measures must therefore be taken to create “good working conditions” as a prerequisite for “good care”. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 379-385

Simone Leiber, August Österle

Formalisation of the Informal. The Regulation of “24-Hour Home Care” in Austria and Germany


Following eastward enlargement of the EU, live-in care work (also called 24-hour care) provided by migrant workers has become an important source of long-term care provision in familialistic welfare states such as Austria and Germany. This article explores the distribution of live-in care work provided by migrant workers in both countries, focusing in particular on the role intermediaries are playing in (self)regulation. The origins of live-in care work were informal networks and arrangements. Whereas comprehensive regulation was established in Austria in 2007, there has not been political regulation of this grey area of the economy in Germany. However, in both countries care agencies are active political actors initiating processes of self-regulation. An overview of the long-term care systems and the various options for long-term care provision in the private home of those in need of care delivers the necessary contextualisation for the analysis. The article identifies political drivers of the processes of regulation and formalisation including the role of intermediaries and the factors explaining divergent developments in the two countries. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 386-393

Marlene Seiffarth

Potentials for Decent Work in Private Households? Regulation and Interest Representation for Migrant Care Workers in Italy


The growing importance of home-based care of the elderly performed by migrant workers raises questions about ensuring “decent work” in private households. The private home as a place of work is often characterised by inadequate working conditions and not associated with a high degree of regulation and formalisation, as intervention by state or collective actors in this sector is often limited. However, unlike in Germany, Italy has seen comprehensive regulatory and formalisation efforts on the part of collective bargaining partners and the state. Based on results from 22 expert interviews and content analysis, the article examines the historical roots of the migrant-in-the-family model, its current form, as well as paths and detours towards formalisation. Despite room for improvements, the Italian case shows potential for enabling “decent work” in private households, which might be also of interest for Germany. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 394-400

Giovanni Lamura, Sabrina Quattrini, Sara Santini, Mirko Di Rosa, Stecy Yghemonos, Marco Socci

Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Informal Carers across Europe. Results of a Cross-national Survey


The article presents the findings of an online survey targeted at informal (i. e. family or other unpaid) carers of older, frail or disabled people across Europe. The aim of this study, promoted by Eurocarers in collaboration with Italy’s National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing (INRCA IRCCS), was (1) to analyse how the Covid-19 outbreak impacted on informal carers’ conditions ; and (2) to collect carers’ recommendations on how to better support them in pandemic times. The survey, carried out from November 2020 to March 2021, covered a convenience sample of 2468 carers from 17 countries, most respondents replying from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Sweden. The findings provide useful policy recommendations across several areas, including: a gender-balanced access of carers to the labour market (e. g. by validating their caring skills) ; strengthening work-life balance strategies ; ensuring pension credits based on caregiving periods ; boosting integrated services and information ; involving informal carers as co-designers of support measures, also through user-friendly digital solutions. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 401-406

Kristin Noack, Greta-Marleen Storath

Migrant Workers in Formal Care for the Elderly in Germany and Sweden


Long-term care for the elderly in Germany and Sweden has been facing major challenges for a number of years. Demographic ageing has intensified the need for care and not only since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic have there been complaints about precarious working conditions. Against this backdrop, both countries report increasing numbers of skilled and unskilled migrant care workers filling labour shortages and vacant training positions. But what is the relevance of migrant workers in both countries for care provision and how is this perceived by different societal actors? In this article, the authors report on initial empirical findings from qualitative expert interviews with national and local stakeholders in Germany and Sweden. In both countries, the labour market integration of migrants is formulated as an important response to labour shortages, but there are different country-specific strategies: the integration of migrants already living in the country into low-skilled positions in Sweden and the immigration of highly skilled migrants in Germany to fill positions in the sector for care of the elderly. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 407-410

Bernhard Emunds, Eva Kocher

Live-in Care Models. Legal and Socio-ethical Proposals for the Further Development of a Personalised Provision of Care


The article shows how extremely expanded working time and periods of availability in live-in care have become the crucial legal and ethical challenge for ensuring good work and good care. The article proposes how this form of one-on-one individual care could be organised in a way that meets these challenges fairly. Five key points are formulated to indicate the reforms of care policy that would be necessary in order to achieve these goals. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 411-414

Thomas Kalwitzki, Heinz Rothgang

Personnel Allocation - on the Way to a Competence-based Division of Labour?


In order to solve the current and most pressing problem of the shortage of personnel in long-term care of the elderly, care work must be made more attractive. An important step in this direction is the implementation of the report on recommendations for the allocation of staffing in residential care homes, which was developed from 2017 to 2020 at the University of Bremen. The full application of these recommendations would result in an additional 115,000 full-time positions for (registered and auxiliary) nurses, which corresponds to an increase in the number of nursing staff by more than a third of its current value. The first legislative implementation measures, making the financing of an additional 45,000 nursing posts available by 2023, have already been taken. . For 2025, it is also planned to examine what further steps are necessary. However, a mere increase in staffing without accompanying personnel and organisational development processes is not expedient. For the exemplary implementation of such processes, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband) has therefore currently put out to tender a model programme. Finally, at the federal state level, adjustments to regulatory law and an increase in training capacities, as has already taken place in a number of federal states, are also necessary. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 5/2022, pp. 415-417

Karin Jurczyk, Barbara Thiessen

Clean Up Time! Redesigning Care after Corona


The effects of the Corona crisis in the care sector are not surprising. For decades care work has been in a major crisis: in the field of education, in the health sector, in social work and in the everyday life of families. However, the current crisis can be an opportunity to organise and to finance our health, social and welfare systems in a more socially responsible manner. That is why in 2020 a group of care researchers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland published a position paper in which they suggest nine initial work packages: the introduction of care mainstreaming, adequate pay and rewards for professional care work, the improvement of working conditions in the field of care, enabling more time for care work, implementing critical assessment and gender justice in digitalised care work, supporting caring communities, providing adequate protection against all forms of violence, taking the participation rights of care recipients seriously and strengthening European and international solidarity. more … (in German)