Informal carers may not be able to find or stay in other formal work, and so may pay little or nothing in taxes and social contributions. Informal carers, and especially women, have been found to be at higher risk of poverty, reflecting a weaker attachment to the labour force and hence the accrual of lower pension entitlements. Viitanen (2005), in a study of 13 EU countries, found that single women with care responsibilities for older people incur a greater risk of old–age poverty. Intensive carers tend to have lower income than non-intensive carers: 60% of them are in the first and second income quintiles compared to 40% of non-intensive carers. Unless there is good access to formal care support and policies enabling people to combine work and family responsibilities, as in some Northern European countries, care can entail substantial economic sacrifice; informal carers may be forced to cut down their working time or leave paid employment altogether. Obligations to look after elderly relatives can also cause poverty when informal carers reach pensionable age, unless arrangements have been made to help them to reconcile family and care responsibilities and (as in Germany and Slovakia, for example) to build up pension rights.
Position Paper: "Supporting informal carers: developing social rights and seizing the opportunity to rebalance the European Union".
In December 2016, Eurocarers published a Position Paper explaining our position on the Social Pillar and how we believe this major initiative could successfully take informal carers into account and support them. This paper presents how informal caregiving intertwines with major challenges affecting our ageing societies.We empahsize the need to address all these dimensions and improve the mainstreaming of informal caaregiving across relevant policy areas to develop a truly carer-friendly political ecosystem. Informal caring should not remain invisible to policy makers anymore but should be recognised and valued as a building block of our social protection, health and long-term care system.
Eurocarers's contribution to the Consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights
On the 28 October 2016, Eurocarers submitted its Contribution to the Consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights. Eurocarers very much welcomed the launch of a Consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights by the European Commission on the 8th March, and applauds the willingness to rebalance the European Monetary Union's integration process through a stronger focus on employment and social dimensions. Eurocarers welcomed the recognition by the consultation that "people with caregiving responsibility" as well as parents, should benefit from "adequate leave arrangement" and "access to care services". Nevertheless, we stressed that the proposal falled short as, beyond the work/life balance, evidence show that support to informal carers makes a huge positive difference in a variety of areas, ranging from health and long-term care to gender equality, equal opportunities, employmnet, education, etc. Eurocarers' contribution therefore picked up on all the domains listed in the proposals by the European Commission, in order to promote a mutidisciplinary approach, analyse practical examples and show how caregiving intertwines with major challenges affecting our ageing societies.
Briefing: "The consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights, a unique political momentum".
Last 9 September, President Juncker announced the establishment of a ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’. The European Commission (EC) wants to boost convergence towards more resilient economic structures within the euro area. Participating in this consultation will provide Eurocarers with a unique opportunities to raise the issues and challenges attached to caring.
This briefing presents the consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights in a nutshell.