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On 9-10 November, Eurocarers participated in the European Meeting of People experiencing Poverty focuses, this year focusing on the topic of in-work poverty.

The event has been organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with the financial support of the European Commission and in association with the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Annual European Meetings for People Experiencing Poverty have been organised since 2001. 

The event tackled the fact that more and more jobs in Europe don’t pay for a living anymore. Over a hundred people experiencing poverty – both working and out of work met in Brussels to exchange ideas together and with EU politicians and policy makers.

The event gathered direct experiences of the working poor and unemployed people in poverty; input on changes to work in the last 10 years; how work changes are affecting those out of work, and how we can reverse the trend of more working poverty.  It is expected that the outcomes of this year’s Meeting will feed into the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth that will take place early 2018.

The meetings of people experiencing poverty are always of great interest for Eurocarers. Evidence shows that informal carers are disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion. Indeed, providing care, especially intensive care, to a relative, often entails substantial economic sacrifice: informal carers may be forced to cut down their working time or leave paid employment, which in return reduces their pensions rights, causing poverty when they reach the age of pension.

A study by the OECD shows that working-age carers are at a higher risk of poverty across all countries (with the exception of southern Europe), with women carers being at a particularly risk of poverty.  

Informal carers often meet the out of pocket expenses which are attached to health care needed by their caree. Recent policies aimed at controlling public health spending have resulted in an increase of these costs for the patients and their relatives. In addition to the unavoidable costs of medicines and treatments prescribed, informal carers very often contribute to the costs of additional treatments and materials which are not or not totally covered by health protection systems, but are key to the well-being of the person they care for (i.e. incontinence aid, physiotherapy….). Also, housing adaptation can represent an important expense for those who take care of a relative in their house.

Eurocarers will develop a fiche on “Informal care, poverty and social exclusion”, including some recommendations for policy makers on how to avoid that caring responsibilities entail poverty and social exclusion.

EAPN RESOURCES ON IN-WORK POVERTY

Please click here to access the work done by EAPN on the theme of employment – including some specifically on in-work poverty.

The main paper on in-work poverty Working & Poor was launched at the Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion where key input was made.

The 2011PEP tackled the theme of employment – see here for more info.