Equal treatment for unpaid workers

28 January 2009

Equal treatment for unpaid workers

'Work' is often assumed to mean paid employment. Those who are active in the voluntary sector or whose work is within the household simply don’t count. These people, predominantly women, stand entirely outside legislation protecting 'workers' from discrimination. Will unpaid work continue to go unrecognised?


On 2nd February the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg will discuss the report by Slovakian Christian Democrat Anna Záborská. The subject of her report is the direct and indirect discrimination suffered by (for the most part) women who provide care for those who need it within the family. Often this informal work remains invisible and goes entirely without legal, social or economic recognition. "This has negative consequences, generally for women who provide support for those in need of care, because it can be very difficult for them to combine paid work with their family lives," says SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard, a member of the European Parliamentary Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. "This means that they have no chance of equal treatment on the labour market. They do not deserve this discrimination."

Anna Záborská's report calls, amongst other things, for the EU's member states to take steps to recognise informal work and the difficulties it causes for those who do it.

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