Personal and household services (PHS) cover jobs and services carried out to support households:
- 63% are care activities: childcare, assistance to the elderly, dependent or disabled, excluding healthcare, and
- 37% are non-care activities: cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, gardening, small house repairs and private lessons.
The activities of care and non-care are highly intertwined:
- while non-care support allows people to spend more time caring for their parents or children,
- care support generally includes a large component of non-care.
This concept of personal and household services was developed in 2012 in the framework of the employment package.
The sector represents 8 million jobs, or 4% of total employment (EU-28 average).
There are two types of formal organisation of these activities:
- in 30% of cases, especially in southern Europe, the household directly employs the workers,
- in the remaining 70%, organisations employ the workers and provide the services to the household. These organisations are mainly private companies, but also public bodies or cooperatives, and more recently collaborative economy platforms (where it is controversial as to whether the workers should be considered employees or self-employed).
Other policy areas
This sector has important links with other policies in the area of employment and social affairs, and can thus contribute to achieving policy objectives in those areas:
- fight against undeclared work
- promoting work-life balance
- long term care, especially in national reports
- working conditions, particularly those of domestic workers
- European Social Fund and other financial support.
Main European stakeholders
- European Federation of Services for Individuals (EFSI)
- Social Services Europe (FESE)
- European Social Network
- European Federation of Family Employment
- European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT)
- UNI Europa - European services workers union
- European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)