As self-employed workers, migrant live-in caregivers are often fully dependent on the people they care for and agencies. Live-in caregivers often have little independence and are vulnerable to exploitation. They are also not protected by labour laws as self-employed workers and are excluded from most social services by public institutions.
Labour dispute and care
1st Prize 2021
Region: Implemented nationwide
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Work, Advocacy, Migration
Project owner: IG24: Interessengemeinschaft der 24-Stunden-Betreuer*innen (IG24: the interest group of 24-hour care givers)
Responsible person: Simona Durisova, Flavia Matei, Anna Leder
Labour dispute and care (“Arbeitskampf und Pflege”) is a democratically organised advocacy group that works to provide long-term solutions led by migrant live-in caregivers. We improve precarious working conditions faced by live-in caregivers as self-employed workers through counselling in different languages, training, assistance, and support in crises.
The caregivers set up an advocacy group to represent their rights effectively and democratically. They also lead decision-making processes and assert their right to self-determination. Through their work, they also raise awareness of the challenges and interests of migrant live-in caregivers as part of a task force by the Austrian Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Rights.
The programme has reached more than 11,000 caregivers. Members develop organizational skills and experience in public relations, community building, and lobbying. They also benefit from access to information in their first language and advice from their colleagues.
Our project can be applied and serve as an example for “flexi-workers” in other sectors who also face precarious self-employment regulations and labour protection.
Migrant live-in caregivers give a powerful grassroots response to a pressing structural problem. The caregivers are mostly from Eastern Europe and support the care system in Austria, yet lack effective labour rights and access to the social support system. This programme is a much-needed initiative organized by migrant live-in caregivers to raise awareness of their rights in society and fight against structural violence. They fight together for better work conditions, with the long-term aim to replace involuntary self-employment with employment by the state or cooperatives.