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Joint decision on "live-in" care

Stand: 28.05.2024

Seniors' Advisory Council and Foreigners' and Integration Advisory Council for fair conditions for "live-in" care

Providing good care for relatives in need of care is a major challenge for many people: This is because places in care homes are only available to a limited extent and are sometimes associated with high costs. Many people in need of care also want to grow old in their familiar surroundings, which often presents relatives with major challenges. This is one of the reasons why live-in care, i.e. care provided by staff who usually live in the same household as the person in need of care, is so popular. Between 300,000 and 700,000 so-called live-in workers, mostly from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, work in home care in Germany. However, these care relationships, which are often incorrectly referred to as "24-hour care", entail significant disadvantages for the employees and great uncertainty for those in need of care. The Federal Labor Court has ruled that a live-in worker is entitled to a wage for the full working hours. The wage must be at least equal to the German minimum wage. The German Minimum Wage Act, the Working Hours Act and other labor law regulations apply. As these regulations are often not adhered to, the Foreigners' and Integration Advisory Council and the Senior Citizens' Advisory Council of the city of Erlangen have jointly addressed the issue and formulated demands. According to this, ultimately only the so-called employer model, in which the person in need of care or their relatives employ the care worker, offers legal certainty and the minimum standards of payment. The other models, i.e. the secondment model, in which agencies second the care workers, or the self-employed model, in which the care worker acts as an entrepreneur, still harbor legal uncertainties for both sides, despite greater awareness of the problem.

The joint motion by the Senior Citizens' Advisory Council and the Foreigners' and Integration Advisory Council is therefore aimed at two levels. Firstly, the city of Erlangen is called upon to work towards improving the legal situation via the German Association of Cities. In addition to outpatient and inpatient care, combined forms of live-in care at home should also be legally defined as an independent form of care for people in need of care. The direct employment of live-ins should be simplified and made more attractive, and the corresponding training in the healthcare and nursing profession in Germany should be promoted more strongly abroad. In addition, binding nationwide quality standards for the organization of placements by private agencies are called for. On a local level, the advisory councils advocate increased advice. For example, people in need of care and their relatives should be given more information about the incompatibility of full-time care at home with the German Occupational Health and Safety Act. Citizens and, wherever possible, foreign care workers should be made more aware of the applicable minimum wage in connection with home care and of legal forms of home care.

"In Germany, live-in workers, mostly women from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, are confronted with numerous problems. They work in exploitative structures. Payment far below the minimum wage, round-the-clock work and a lack of separation between living and working areas are often commonplace. Excessive working hours that are not paid in full are not uncommon. The industry is also characterized by non-transparent employment contracts and bogus self-employment. Breaks and non-working time, vacation or continued payment of wages in the event of illness are often not regulated and are therefore not taken into account. Even pure presence or on-call duty at night is considered paid working time. People in need of care and their relatives are often not even aware of the situation," explains Rami Boukhachem, Chairman of the Foreigners' and Integration Advisory Board.

"Many people in need of care and their relatives have high hopes for live-in care. However, care with the help of live-ins is only possible with a care mix in which other care and nursing services are brought in or relatives are involved on a temporary basis," says Dinah Radtke, Chairwoman of the Senior Citizens' Advisory Council.

Lord Mayor Florian Janik praises the work of the advisory boards. "I don't want to pre-empt the city council committees, which will deal with the application in the near future. But I welcome the way in which the advisory boards have succeeded in bringing together what at first glance appear to be completely opposing perspectives and thinking together about the needs of foreign care workers and those in need of care."

The city's senior citizens' department has already signaled that it wants to take up the issue. People in need of care and their relatives receive free support and neutral advice from the Erlangen Care Support Center. Together with the advisors, those affected can work out solutions for their individual situation in order to cover their care and support needs. The Erlangen Care Support Center also provides families with information material on current employment law in various languages.