The work of the family caregiver in Italy still waiting to be recognized with a state law. In practice, whoever takes care of a family member who is not self-sufficient due to an illness or disability in a free and unprofessional manner does so without any social protection. Unlike what happens in other European countries, such as France, Spain, Germany and England. It seems that a window is opening up to try to get all these invisible volunteers who play a key role in national welfare out of the shadow. Thanks to Fund established by law 205 of 2017 (budget law 2018) for the support of the care and assistance role of the caregiver, released after two years with a decree of the Department for Family Policies on 27 October last.
The current situation
Since my arrival, two years after the Fund was set up, I considered it urgent to first start the investigation for the allocation of the resources assigned by the law to the Regions, says Corriere Salute. Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Elena Bonetti. In the purposes of the allotment we decided to include, of course, interventions made priority by the Covid emergency. And currently the Department of the Family in dialogue with the Regions for a coordination action on the initiatives to be undertaken. Approximately 68 million euros were distributed to the Regions for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. The provision promotes relief and subsidy interventions (such as care allowances) giving priority to the caregivers of people with very serious disabilities or who have not had access to residential facilities due to anticovid measures, and to accompanying paths aimed at reuniting the caregiver with the assisted person. Equally important – underlines Bonetti – the Fund, established this year with a budget law at the Ministry of Labor, aimed at financing a bill that finally gives legal recognition to the figure of the caregiver. Hence a necessary change in the country’s sensitivity to caregivers and their crucial role in the care of our community can and must begin.
The protections provided
The bill in question is the first signature of the senator Simona Nocerino. The family caregiver should not be confused with the caregiver, who is a domestic worker with a contract and a salary. A mother who cares for her disabled child, on the other hand, has no protection, can not afford to get sick, many times he has to give up his job and stop having a life as it should be, comments the senator. The text, whose examination is temporarily stopped in the work commission of the Senate, intends to regulate this figure within our system so that his rights and activities are fully recognized. From the social security point of view, guaranteeing three years of notional contributions referring to the period of assistance, equivalent to those for domestic work, which must be added to the work contributions already paid if necessary. From the social point of view, through the support or temporary replacements of social and health workers and the issue of an identification card to have priority in handling administrative procedures for you or the client. On the health level, introducing new services, in particular home visits and specialist services. To reconcile work and care activities, the right to reschedule working hours, choosing the nearest office or the agile mode. Finally, tax deductions are offered for care-related expenses. All measures that will have to be covered by the Fund allocated in the last 90 million euro maneuver for the next three years (2021, 2022 and 2023). A figure that the associations for the disabled consider too limited in relation to the needs.
In the past, the only thing done to give these people a face, besides the Fund, was introduce, again with the law 205 of 2017, the definition of family caregiver (the person who assists a spouse, a de facto cohabitant or a family member within the second degree, and in some cases the third, who due to chronic or degenerative illness or disability, is not self-sufficient and is recognized as disabled pursuant to law has an attendance allowance), which is still in force today.
In the absence of a national law on family caregivers and to respond to a real need for help, some Regions have taken the first steps on their own. Emilia Romagna already in 2014 has adopted rules for the recognition and enhancement of people who voluntarily provide care and assistance. The measures include forms of financial support through care allowances and interventions for home adaptation, agreements with employers for greater hourly flexibility conciliating the needs of care, psychological support and burnout risk assessment, collaboration of social and health services in assistance activities, training and information, specialist home visits in cases of difficulty in moving the patient, an identification card to facilitate the access of caregivers to services, and concessions for university students following an invalid relative. They have enacted similar laws too Abruzzo in 2016, Campania in 2017 and Puglia in 2020.
April 9, 2021 (change April 9, 2021 | 18:44)