The Role of Caregivers in the Italian Welfare System
by Veronica Merotta. Paper, August 2016
Over the recent years caregivers have become increasingly important in the Italian society in meeting the growing family demand for care that public administrations often underestimate or even neglect. Historically, the Italian welfare system has always approached the issue of a growing population mainly by funding the pension system, at the expenses of other social policies, including those on family welfare.
The current organization of work no longer allows family members to take charge of other members personally as it happened in the past, and this has contributed to the emergence of caregivers. However, this puts a heavy economic, tax and organizational burden on households, while it constitutes for caregivers an absorbing occupation that is often hard to handle, in terms of emotional and physical load. Many caregivers are confronted with a dual life between their country of origin and their host country. One in two caregivers is indeed foreign-born, and most of the labour force is constituted by women. The national and international contexts provide both families and caregivers with viable alternatives to the current self-produced and costly welfare system.