20 February 2020

Personal Household Service Quality project

In this report, the Danish Personal Household Service (PHS) sector - with a special focus on cleaning and eldercare - is described and analyzed with regards to the regulatory set-up, the role of the social partners and the wages and conditions of the employees in the sector.

The main findings are:

Firstly, regarding the PHS sector in general, although the eligibility criteria for public funded assistance appears stricter in recent years, public and public-procured types of PHS continue to be widespread and important, reflecting the universal Danish welfare state. The private-formal type of PHS is also substantial, but it has not been possible to determine the exact size of this as well as of the private-informal type.

Secondly, Denmark has an extensive legal framework directly or indirectly relevant for PHS-workers, but the ILO convention 189 on domestic workers has so far not been ratified, which is down to the main actors’ fear of unnecessary intervention in legislation and the collective agreements. Apart from this legal framework, the collective agreements provide an equally important framework for pay and conditions for PHS workers.

Thirdly, the social partners have also developed a series of initiatives to improve pay and conditions. These initiatives are relevant for PHS-workers in both the cleaning and elder care sectors, but are not always limited to these. Several of these initiatives are linked to the collective agreements.

Fourthly, due to a substantial overlap between the two selected sectors, we found a number cross-sectoral similarities. However, the private-formal and private-informal types of PHS are likely more widespread in the cleaning than in the eldercare sector, where pay and working conditions on average appear better. There were also found more self-employed and marginal part-timers in cleaning than in eldercare. Increased work-intensification were challenges seen in both sectors.   

Read the full report 'Personal Household Service Quality project - National report Denmark' by Mikkel Mailand and Trine P. Larsen.