Presentation on theme: "Work-care reconciliation in the Nordic countries Marta Szebehely, Stockholm University: Family carers in the Swedish welfare state: challenges and coping."— Presentation transcript:
Work-care reconciliation in the Nordic countries Marta Szebehely, Stockholm University: Family carers in the Swedish welfare state: challenges and coping strategies Outi Jolanki, University of Jyväskylä: Family carers in the Finnish welfare state: challenges and coping strategies Some reflexions on similarities and differences between the two Nordic countries
Based mainly on contributions in Kröger & Yeandle, eds: Combining Paid Work and Family Care Jolanki, Szebehely & Kauppinen: Family rediscovered? Working carers of older people in Finland and Sweden. Miettinen, Engwall & Teittinen: Parent-carers of disabled children in Finland and Sweden: social excluded by a labour of love. Leinonen & Sand: Reconciling partner-care and paid work in Finland and Sweden: challenges and coping strategies.
The Swedish welfare state – the idea(l) of a universal ‘caring state’ Generous provision of publicly financed high quality services – no means-testing The responsibility to levy taxes and to provide care – and since 2009 to support family carers – rests with the municipalities Services directed to and used by all social groups Accessible, affordable (also for the poor) and attractive (also for middle class)
Huge variation in employment rates of middle aged women in Europe % of women 55-64 years old in paid employment, 2007 ( Eurostat)
The more resources for long-term care the more middle-aged women in paid work
The general idea of family care in the Swedish society Has to be voluntarily chosen from both parties involved No legal responsibility for family to care for adults Most people prefer formal care services to care from family members (other than spouses)
Eurobarometer survey 2007 Is family care or formal care the best option for an elderly parent living alone?
The general idea of family care in the Swedish society Has to be voluntarily chosen from both parties involved No legal responsibility for family to care for adults Most people prefer formal care services to care from family members (other than spouses) Well-developed care services are seen as the best form of support for both those who need care and for their family members
Services: different trends for older persons and for persons with disabilities Services for older people Social Services Act 1982 Policy goal: reasonable level of living Declining resources, declining coverage – especially residential care since 2000: every fourth bed has disappeared Increase of family care – re- familisation Services for disabled people Disability Act 1994 Policy goal: good living conditions Increasing resources, increasing coverage, increasing generosity – especially personal assistance: 16,000 individuals on average 115 hrs/w (no user fees) De-familising potential – increase the independence of both user and family members
Family care in Sweden Of working age population : 15% provide help at least weekly for an old or disabled family member/friend Most common in age 45-64 (20-27%) Most help a parent but those helping a spouse or a disabled child help more hours Most combine paid work and caregiving But 80,000 women and 20,000 men have reduced their working hours, stopped working or retired earlier than planned for beacuse of caring responsibilities
Payments for family care for older people (mainly): For comparison: – 160,000 65+ receive home care and 90,000 65+ are in residential care; – 760,000 individuals 20-64 yrs old care for an old or disabled family member or friend once a week or more. Care allowances - since 1940s at LA discretion. €100-500/month. Declined from 21,000 in 1980 to 5,000 today. Employment as kin caregiver- since 1950s at LA discretion. Declined from 24,000 in 1980 to 2,000. Ordinary workers rights but no right to leave from/return to other job. End-of-life leave - since 1989. National legislation, 80% of lost income, max 20 weeks, right to return to work. Used by 11,000, average 2 weeks.
Payments for family care for younger people (mainly): For comparison: – 70,000 under 65 receive home based care and 30,000 live in supported housing; – 760,000 individuals 20-64 yrs old care for an old or disabled family member or friend once a week or more. Childcare allowance for disabled child up to 18. National legislation. Average €500/month. Increased from 20,000 in 1994 to 46,000 today Personal assistance - since 1994. National legislation. Used by 16,000 severely disabled persons, average >115 hours/week. One quarter of assistants are family members. Ordinary workers rights but no right to leave from/return to other job. All schemes are used mainly by women Reduced coverage of both services and cash payments for care of older people, increased for care of younger disabled people
Employment related policies Hardly any rights – only end-of-life leave When caring for an adult: – No right to flexible or reduced hours – No right to time off for emergencies – No right to return to work after period of care (except for after ’end-of-life leave’) Very different from employment policies for parents of small children: – Paid parental leave until child is 1.5 yrs – Paid temporary leave for sick child (up to 60 days per year) until 12 yrs (21 yrs if child is disabled) – Right to keep full-time job and work part time until child is 8 ; reduced hours not paid. – Mainly used by women – risk of structural discrimination
Conclusions Family carers recently discovered in policy and research – but ’working daugthers’ and ’working spouses’ still quite invisible Working carers have few rights, but end-of-life leave and the personal assistance scheme are unique and important rights Formal care services are preferred by those in need of care but family care is increasing due to declining services (for older people) Care leaves and payments for care are controversial issues (gender traps?) Carers’ organisations campaign for better services rather than for direct support for carers