The end of private in-house caregiving

53 posts in this topic

This ruling will basically put an end to elderly being cared for in their homes by in-house living caregivers: https://www.kostenlose-urteile.de/BAG_5-AZR-50520_Auslaendische-Pflegekraefte-haben-Anspruch-auf-Mindestlohn.news30464.htm

 

Quote

Foreign care workers entitled to minimum wage
On-call times must also be paid in full

Foreign care workers posted to a private household in Germany are entitled to the statutory minimum wage for hours worked. This also includes on-call time. Such on-call duty may consist in the fact that the caregiver must live in the household of the person to be cared for and is generally obliged to perform work at all hours of the day and night as required. this has been ruled by the Federal Labour Court.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

 Now the cost of an in-house caregiver will be out of reach for almost anyone. And put an end to (legal) job opportunities for people from low income countries while the elderly will have to go to nursing homes.

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Pesky things, those rights. It's inconvenient and shocking to find out that what one claims for himself also applies to other people.

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Unfortunately rights created in one country can seriously negatively affect those coming to work from other places, as jeba points out. A badly paid job in one country can support a whole clan in another country.

 

Also unfortunate for family members of the individual requiring care who may now be forced to take up the slack and not be paid at all.

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In Germany,  family members who give care that is required medically can be paid through the Krankenkasse. 

 

The rest has been used to maintain class systems through the ages and does not merit discussion.

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well, as one of those "lucky" people who are directly affected by this ruling I can tell you, the big mistake that was made here by the Bulgarian employer is a linguistic twist that they may not have been aware of:

 

the difference between "Rufbereitschaft" and "Bereitschaftsdienst". 

 

And they didn't make their contracts "waterproof". Of course the in-house care-taker needs to be paid at  least minimum wage for the hours worked. Being on "Rufbereitschaft" doesn't count as "hours worked", though - only when you actually get called to work and respond within the contractual response time you'll be paid for those extra hours of work. 

 

Also most of the in-house care-takers get free housing and free food, which (in my opinion) should count as part of their income.

 

The Bulgarian worker in this case received 950,- € after taxes per month. That means she got about 1.200,- € Brutto. Add average rent for a room - let's say 300,- € per month, and another 300,- € month in food. So we're talking about 1.800,- € per month Brutto.

Mindestlohn is currently 9,60 € per hour. That means the care-giver could have worked for 187,5 hours.
If we assume the average month has 30 days that gives us an average work time of 6 hours and 15 minutes every single day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Adds up to a roughly 44 hour work week.

 

While that is doable (if you are highly organized and efficient), it's cutting it quite close - prepare meals, help with getting dressed, clean house a little, do some laundry, get the groceries, and maybe get up every night for a potty break... My observation is that the care-giver works about 7 hours per day, every day, of actual work time. 

 

So - just my opinion - the Bulgarian company needs to pay more. I'd say at least 2.500,- Brutto per month.

And they need to redesign their contracts to be better aligned with the reality of the job. Telling workers 30 hours per week is simply a lie.

Tell people they'll be working 7 days a week, for about 7 hours daily on average - but there is the complete freedom of scheduling your work hours like you see fit - as long as your customer's calls during your off-hours will be answered within a set period of time.

Also tell your workers they don't have to live with the people they care for, but if they chose that option (most care-givers from Eastern European countries prefer this arrangement) food and housing will count towards their income at a rate of 600,- € per month. Means, if you want to live in, your pay will be reduced to 1.900,- € Brutto per month.

 

This court ruling will hopefully weed out the "crooks" in the industry, and strengthen those service providers that already abide by higher standards.

Yes, it is expensive - but also totally worth it.

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1 hour ago, AlexTr said:

In Germany,  family members who give care that is required medically can be paid through the Krankenkasse. 

Yes, up to € 1300.-. Which is ridiculous. That´s about you´ve had to pay for someone employed under the table.

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1 minute ago, jeba said:

Yes, up to € 1300.-. Which is ridiculous. That´s about you´ve had to pay for someone employed under the table.

 

My parents don't even get that much, because their Pflegegrad is only a 3 - which in itself is a joke. 

 

But they are lucky, they have enough income and a big house - and we work with a reputable, legitimate company for their in-house care-taker/house-keeper. So, for now, everybody is happy. I worry about that day (which will come sooner or later) when their physical condition deteriorates to the point where a house-keeper will not be enough. The prospect of a nursing home doesn't sound very enticing.

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27 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

The prospect of a nursing home doesn't sound very enticing.

That´s why my late mom moved to Cyprus. There you can employ in-house domestic workers/caregivers at very affordable rates (around € 500/month) if you´re at least 75 years old or can prove necessity otherwise. They will get a temporary work permit, free health insurance and free housing. Not sure about food. For people from countries like Nepal or Sri Lanka etc. that is a dream job. My cleaning lady is from Sri Lanka, working for an elderly man, (and on the side for me), and having to return there is a big worry for her. There she would earn a fraction and not have health insurance and free housing.

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1 hour ago, karin_brenig said:

the Bulgarian company needs to pay more. I'd say at least 2.500,- Brutto per month

The worker who won the case I was referring to calculated her claim to € 43000.- / 7 month (https://www.rtl.de/cms/urteil-vom-bundesarbeitsgericht-mit-folgen-pflegekraefte-aus-dem-ausland-haben-anspruch-auf-mindestlohn-4784212.html). Add to that social security contributions and you´ll end paying around € 7500/ month. How many pensioners can afford that?

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1 minute ago, jeba said:

That´s why my late mom moved to Cyprus. There you can employ in-house domestic workers/caregivers at very affordable rates (around € 500/month). They will get a temporary work permit, free health insurance and free housing. Not sure about food. For people from countries like Nepal or Sri Lanka etc. that is a dream job. My cleaning lady is from Sri Lanka, working for an elderly man, (and on the side for me), and having to return there is a big worry for her. There she would earn a fraction and not have health insurance and free housing.

 

luckily enough my parents can afford to stay in their house in Germany, and pay a live-in care-giver. We would have a problem, if they became bed-ridden, or otherwise immobilized, and a "regular" domestic worker would not be enough. 

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In the Netherlands I don't know anyone who has an in-house caregiver (24/7) unless it's a family member. They check your care level (Pflegegrad) and then it can be decided that a caregiver drops by 2, 3 or 4 times a day for helping getting washed and dressed, prepare breakfast, do medication, etc. Dinner can be brought by an external provider. Once a week a cleaner and two day activities per week as well. Day activities can be a walk in the park with coffee and cake or going to the zoo, certain hobbies, etc.

 

If the person has a higher care level, then a nursing home is an option, where you pay an own contribution based on your income. A waiting list usually applies. My father was quite open for a local nursing home since he already visited friends there for some years, but at the end he moved in with my brother on Mallorca near to his sister as well. He turned 86 last week.

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4 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

 

luckily enough my parents can afford to stay in their house in Germany, and pay a live-in care-giver. We would have a problem, if they became bed-ridden, or otherwise immobilized, and a "regular" domestic worker would not be enough. 

My guess is that´s illegal anyway to employ 1 person to provide 24-h care due to the Arbeitszeitgesetz. Seems only parents can be expected to do that for their children.

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25 minutes ago, jeba said:

The worker who won the case I was referring to calculated her claim to € 43000.- / 7 month (https://www.rtl.de/cms/urteil-vom-bundesarbeitsgericht-mit-folgen-pflegekraefte-aus-dem-ausland-haben-anspruch-auf-mindestlohn-4784212.html). Add to that social security contributions and you´ll end paying around € 7500/ month. How many pensioners can afford that?

 

that's why I said the Bulgarian company needs to pay attention to the wording in their contracts. 

 

The calculation of what is to be counted as "hours worked" is crucial to the matter. You need to really study the relevant law in Germany - and the extremely important difference between "Rufbereitschaft" and "Bereitschaftsdienst". 

 

Because the Bulgarian employer in this case told their employee where she had to spend her time in "Rufbereitschaft" (in the customer's house), these hours actually were considered "Bereitschaftsdienst" - hence had to be paid in full.

Had the Bulgarian employer designed their work contracts better, by making sure the "Rufbereitschaft" times can be spent whereever the worker choses, just makeing sure they can show up to work within, say, 20 minutes, then only those times actually worked during off-time would count.

Adding to the problem was the fact that the Bulgarian employer made it mandatory for their employees to live in the customers' houses. They should let their workers chose where they want to live - most will volunteer to live in-house. 

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9 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

In the Netherlands I don't know anyone who has an in-house caregiver (24/7) unless it's a family member. They check your care level (Pflegegrad) and then it can be decided that a caregiver drops by 2, 3 or 4 times a day for helping getting washed and dressed, prepare breakfast, do medication, etc. Dinner can be brought by an external provider. Once a week a cleaner and two day activities per week as well. Day activities can be a walk in the park with coffee and cake or going to the zoo, certain hobbies, etc.

 

If the person has a higher care level, then a nursing home is an option, where you pay an own contribution based on your income. A waiting list usually applies. My father was quite open for a local nursing home since he already visited friends there for some years, but at the end he moved in with my brother on Mallorca near to his sister as well. He turned 86 last week.

That´s what in my view should be avoided at all cost. My mom wouldn´t have wanted to go to a nursing home - if only because there her little doggie wouldn´t have been allowed to sleep in her bed.

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1 minute ago, jeba said:

My guess is that´s illegal anyway to employ 1 person to provide 24-h care due to the Arbeitszeitgesetz. Seems only parents can be expected to do that for their children.

 

of course - the house-keeper in my parents' case does not provide 24h care. 

 

She has regular scheduled work-hours and clearly defined work assignments during those work hours. She sets her own schedule at will, providing an average of 40h per week. Anything outside of those set work hours are off work, but in "Rufbereitschaft". During those hours my parents can call her for help, and she will show up within minutes to help. 

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13 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

In the Netherlands I don't know anyone who has an in-house caregiver (24/7) unless it's a family member. They check your care level (Pflegegrad) and then it can be decided that a caregiver drops by 2, 3 or 4 times a day for helping getting washed and dressed, prepare breakfast, do medication, etc. Dinner can be brought by an external provider. Once a week a cleaner and two day activities per week as well. Day activities can be a walk in the park with coffee and cake or going to the zoo, certain hobbies, etc.

 

If the person has a higher care level, then a nursing home is an option, where you pay an own contribution based on your income. A waiting list usually applies. My father was quite open for a local nursing home since he already visited friends there for some years, but at the end he moved in with my brother on Mallorca near to his sister as well. He turned 86 last week.

 

That's mostly how the arrangement works with my parents - except the person "dropping in" for help with getting washed, dressed, or prepare breakfast and cleaning house once a week, or doing some interaction, happens to live in the same house. Convenient for her, because she doesn't have to commute to work. 

 

There is no 24/7 care neccessary (yet). Once that becomes a problem, I'm sure nursing home will be our only option.

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The elephant in the room that jeba et al like to ignore is the fact that "this is a lot of money for people from elsewhere" is that it creates more unemployment locally. Which then the state, aka your taxes have to subsidy.

The "free accommodation" only works out as an extra wage if the person in question doesn't have to maintain a second residence elsewhere, which in case of eastern Europeans workers who often work a block of time on then off, is not really feasible. I have been send abroad by my employer, sometimes for longer periods of time and I did not gain any monetary advantage from my "free" accommodation as the mortgage at home still had to be paid and I can hardly rent out the space in my double bed.

 

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20 minutes ago, Marianne013 said:

...

The "free accommodation" only works out as an extra wage if the person in question doesn't have to maintain a second residence elsewhere, which in case of eastern Europeans workers who often work a block of time on then off, is not really feasible. I have been send abroad by my employer, sometimes for longer periods of time and I did not gain any monetary advantage from my "free" accommodation as the mortgage at home still had to be paid and I can hardly rent out the space in my double bed.

 

 

OK, I'll give you that - it doesn't substantially change my numbers, though - because free food still is an actual benefit that the employee would receive. Take 300,- € off my calculations for the "fictitious" rent. 

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What I see is that Germany is full of worker exploitation loopholes or weird laws. Most of them based on exploring desperate foreign, like in meat pack industry.

 

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4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

The Bulgarian worker in this case received 950,- € after taxes per month. That means she got about 1.200,- € Brutto. Add average rent for a room - let's say 300,- € per month, and another 300,- € month in food. So we're talking about 1.800,- € per month Brutto.

 

Spending 300 a month on food is hefty IMO.  My entire grocery store bill including cleaning products plus eating out, not that I do it a lot tends to be around 170.  I assume however that there is some sort of law stating how much you can charge a live-in employee for room and board.  I don't disagree about her paying some rent though.  I've also been sent away on projects and my boss pays for my hotel because he's making money off me being there.  That is not the same as if I had decided to go take a job in a different town / country.  In that case, I'd have to take care of my own accommodation.

 

4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

Tell people they'll be working 7 days a week, for about 7 hours daily on average - but there is the complete freedom of scheduling your work hours like you see fit - as long as your customer's calls during your off-hours will be answered within a set period of time.

 

AFAIK there's a law saying your employee must get at least 1 day off per week so you can work a max of 12 days in a stretch, then 2 off.  I had a project at a factory where they were not obeying these laws.  Somebody complained and you can be sure they were on their toes after that.

 

2 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:

In the Netherlands I don't know anyone who has an in-house caregiver (24/7) unless it's a family member. They check your care level (Pflegegrad) and then it can be decided that a caregiver drops by 2, 3 or 4 times a day for helping getting washed and dressed, prepare breakfast, do medication, etc. Dinner can be brought by an external provider. Once a week a cleaner and two day activities per week as well. Day activities can be a walk in the park with coffee and cake or going to the zoo, certain hobbies, etc.

 

If the person has a higher care level, then a nursing home is an option, where you pay an own contribution based on your income. A waiting list usually applies. My father was quite open for a local nursing home since he already visited friends there for some years, but at the end he moved in with my brother on Mallorca near to his sister as well. He turned 86 last week.

 

It's similar in Iceland except they don't have pflegegrad as far as I know.  My mother was getting a carer 2x per day, to get dressed and go to bed, 3 days a week a woman to tidy the kitchen and do laundry, 2x per week a physiotherapist, 1x per week a cleaner and meals every day.  The carers usually communicate if the person needs more help or if they should be moving on to a nursing home.  There is however a program for the severely disabled where they can get money to hire full time carers on their own terms.  This program is due to cost not extended to the elderly.  The carers are normally not live-in either.  They just show up, do a shift and when the shift ends they go home and somebody else shows up.  Some people need round the clock care and some are ok on their own some of the time.

 

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