Invest in care now! For recovery and resilience

October 29 marks an international day of action on care for trade unions and civil society around the world.

by [ITUCCSI->]

COVID-19 means it is now widely understood, across countries and classes, that we depend on the essential services of the care economy – health, education, child care, aged care and disability support. With the exposure of our dependence on essential workers in care during the pandemic, people understand more than ever that the shape of the economic recovery must ensure decent work in care.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Caring for each other is the most important work in society. It goes to the core of our humanity. In the face of the challenge of both recovery and resilience, investment in care creates jobs and boosts the economy.

“The participation of women in the care economy means that spending in the sector has a profound effect on the participation of women in the workplace. Investment in care provides jobs for many, many women, and frees them from the burden of unpaid care and allows them to participate more broadly in the community.

“Recovery and resilience demands major investment in care.”

IMF research outlines that a spend of 1% of GDP can create 33 million jobs and research from the UK shows that investment in care can create 2.7 times more jobs than the same investment in infrastructure, including construction.

Women’s employment is one of most rapid multipliers for economic development and growth, with the effects felt far and wide. While more than half of directly-created new jobs in care would go to women, but the employment multiplier effect would increase overall employment of men by between 1.4 and 4%, depending on the country.

Sharan Burrow added: “All governments are now on notice that people expect investment in care to be a central element in recovery plans and at the heart of a new social contract with their people. However, in addition to jobs and vital equipment, care workers must be afforded the dignity of decent work.”

We demand investment in care now:

  • Investment in all public health and care: mental health, childcare, early childhood education, elderly care and other social care services that serve all our communities.
  • Access for all to quality public health, care and education services.
  • The creation of millions of decent, green jobs in health, care and early childhood education.
  • The right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining for all care workers, whether in the formal or informal economy.
  • Decent pay and working conditions, including equal pay for work of equal value, training opportunities and occupational health and safety.
  • Equity and non-discrimination in recruitment, retention, access to training and promotion opportunities.
  • Universal, gender-responsive social protection available to all workers regardless of employment status or migrant status, race, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Global Day of Action for Care: Unions and civil society mobilising to demand investments in care for building more inclusive, accessible, resilient, and caring economies.