Ad-PHS project’s workshop in Italy

On  September 13, Diesis organised the Ad-PHS National seminar held in Rome at Confcooperative premises. Several stakeholders of the PHS sector such as Trade Unions, Social Economy representatives and private organisations, explored the state of art and the potential of the PHS sector in Italy.

Firstly, Valerio Pellirossi from Federsolidarietà – Confcooperative and Diego Dutto from Legacoopsociali welcomed the participant to the seminar and presented briefly the role of cooperatives in PHS sector.

The discussion led by FILCAMS-CGIL with the participation of ACLI-COLF, UilTuCS-UIL, ASSINDATCOLF and DOMINA national observatory, covered different aspects of the PHS sector in Italy:  the National Collective Agreement for domestic sector, as well as the different payment instruments, used such as the Family booklet voucher, direct employment between employer and domestic worker or occasional employment contracts.

Domestic work could potentially be the first category of workers in Italy in terms of employees. ISTAT evaluates that the total amount of domestic workers are 2 million, however, almost 1.200.00 are irregular. The reasons for this great growth are many. The increase in life expectancy determines the spread of diseases related to ageing and very often disabling that creates a condition of non-self-sufficiency.

The emancipation of women, which involves greater participation in the world of work by women, leaving uncovered the tasks of caring for the home, children, elderly people that were traditionally carried out by women. The emigration of young people in search of job opportunities, concentrated mainly in the southern regions, has led to the depopulation of some geographical areas. The inadequacy of welfare policies that in most territories are not able to respond to the ever-increasing demand for care work.

In Italy, personal services are almost entirely guaranteed by families. In Europe, 80% of those employed directly by private individuals are in Italy, France and Spain.

Unfortunately, much is undeclared work, difficult to intercept and organize. In order to solve the problem of the spread of undeclared work, it is necessary to carry out various interventions, for instance, good management of migration flows since undeclared workers are women (88%), mainly foreigners (75%).

The second part of the discussion, moderated by Gianluca Pastorelli president of Diesis, explored in-depth the role of cooperatives in PHS sector by presenting examples of cooperatives working in this field. Moreover, the level of professionalism in the sector and other examples of corporate welfare were presented.

In Italy, cooperatives play an important role, particularly because of their specificity. So far cooperatives apply a contract to their employees that have been defined by the public function of the 3 main trade unions (Filcams-CGIL, UilTuCS-UIL and Fisascat-UIL). The contract that had the public function as a counterpart and applied to different sectors.

With the reform of the third sector, the social enterprise opens a series of scenarios that needed to be included in a specific framework during the negotiation of the collective agreement.

Michela Vogrig, the referent of Legacoopsociali underlined that alliances in the provision of services, to protect families and workers, must be established. The added value that cooperatives can bring to the PHS sector concerns: quality of work, wages, quality of services, integration. Moreover, the added value that cooperatives can bring to the PHS sector concerns: quality of work, wages, quality of services, integration.

Sabina Bellione from Gruppo Cooperativo CGM highlighted the role of public authorities as institutional interlocutor. There is the problem because of the many differences at the regional level, there are some that do not yet have a legislature on the subject. Models on the territories must experiment. The will of the Municipality of Milan has been fundamental in order to be able to experiment, putting into practice collaborations that otherwise would never have been activated.

In the last part of the seminar, Emmanuele Massagli, President of AIWA (Associazione Italiana Welfare Aziendale) explained how corporate welfare allows people to bring private funds to personal services that are not taxed by the state and that help families, with children, elderly and disabled through the provision of educational services or other kinds of support.

However, the issue of the quality of services is fundamental in order to be able to guarantee workers that the services can be safely provided, giving access to such services even to those who cannot afford them.

Stakeholders agreed that in Italy there is a lack of professionalism at the entrance and high demand from families. Newcomers are almost sure to find work in this sector. Domestic work and Italian families act as social shock absorbers for irregular (60%) and regular (40%) migrations.

Several are however the projects and training offer going in that direction. Luisa Gardella, Responsible for the training area in Assindatcolf, presented “PRODOME project” practice for the improvement of the professionalization of domestic workers in Europe by qualifying the professional profile of domestic helpers, elderly caregivers and babysitters.

The seminar has been very interesting for all the participants, and Diesis had the possibility to collect very relevant stakeholders’ contributions to improving the Italian country report on PHS sector.