All Member States are struggling with a shortage of staff in both the care and nursing of the elderly and in the health sector. The global corona pandemic has put additional pressure on sectors that are struggling to respond to demographic changes. While healthcare workers are confronted with understaffed workplaces, excessive working hours, low wages, or insufficient rest or holiday periods, the working conditions of live-in care workers fall victim to intransparent agency structures that pave the way to exploitation or even abuse.


This Policy Brief suggests that it is high time for action at EU-level. A "Health Professions Directive”, introducing Europe-wide minimum standards in health care professions, would be a response to Europe-wide workforce shortages whilst improving working conditions for healthcare workers. In light of the rising demand of live-in care workers, a framework directive defining the basic rights and obligations of all actors involved is urgently needed to effectively ensure the rights of live-in caregivers and to put intransparent practices to the detriment of workers, care receivers and their families to a halt.

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Miriam Fahimi

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Silvia Rosoli

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Kurt Schalek

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