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Impact of COVID-19 policy responses on live-in care workers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland

Leiblfinger, Michael, Prieler, Veronika, Schwiter, Karin, Steiner, Jennifer, Benazha, Aranka and Lutz, Helma (2020) Impact of COVID-19 policy responses on live-in care workers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Journal of Long-Term Care, 2020. 144 - 150. ISSN 2516-9122

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Identification Number: 10.31389/jltc.51

Abstract

Context: The measures taken to counter the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the circular migration of live-in care workers between their countries of origin and the elderly persons’ households. Objective: In this comparative policy analysis, the impact of COVID-19 related policy measures for transnationally organised live-in care in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland is investigated. Method: Policy measures and media debates were analysed and inquiries with care workers, representatives of care agencies, unions, and activist groups were carried out between March and June 2020. Findings: In accordance with their institutionalisation of live-in care, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland responded differently to the challenges the pandemic posed to live-in care arrangements. However, all three countries focused on extending care workers’ rotas and re-establishing transnational mobility. These priorities subordinated the interests of care workers to those of care recipients. Furthermore, the measures remained short-term solutions that failed to acknowledge the fundamental flaws and inequalities of a care model that relies primarily on female migrant workers and wage differentials within Europe. Limitations: This policy comparison is based on an in-depth analysis of COVID-19 related policies, supplemented by inquiries among stakeholders with whom research had been done prior to the pandemic. More in-depth interviews are required to further substantiate the findings concerning their perspectives and gain insight into the longer-term effects of the pandemic. Implications: The pandemic has brought the flaws of the live-in care model to the fore. Countries need to rethink their fragile care policies, which build on social inequality and uninhibited transnational mobility.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journal.ilpnetwork.org/
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 10:42
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2021 00:14
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108515

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