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Comparative study on Health and Safety in PHS

On May 13, 2022, the Fair Work and Equality Law Clinic of the University of Amsterdam published a comparative study of Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, in the Personal and Household Services’ (PHS) occupational health and safety (OSH). Also, EFSI members contributed through interviews to the data collection process.

In sum, after briefly defining the sector of PHS, the report explores the national characteristics of the industry through domestic and international legislation, policy measures and initiatives. Moreover, it studies the impact of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention No.189 (2011) ratification, or the lack thereof on the working conditions of the PHS workforce.

Italy and Belgium both ratified the ILO Convention No. 189 in 2013 and 2015 respectively and both have supplementary regulations concerning the OSH of the PHS workers. However, the Netherlands did not and has little legislation to protect domestic workers. As a general comment, gaps in legislation exist in the three studied countries, independent of there being – for some – a legal landscape ensuring decent working conditions for the PHS workforce. When it comes to the best practices observable in each country, the Service voucher system in Belgium is quite effective in terms of discrimination faced by the household and domestic workers. Coupled with tax reduction, mandatory trainings and awareness campaigns contribute to the health and safety of the PHS personnel. In Italy, training is provided under EBINCOLF and information for both the employers and the domestic workers are available to advice and instruct their decisions. In the Netherlands, there is no best practices or innovative initiatives to guarantee the workers security and working conditions. When it comes to the national responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, neither Italy nor the Netherlands provided wage guarantees for household and care workers. In Belgium, the workforce received temporary unemployment benefits.

The full report is available here