Work–Life Integration and Workplace Rights for Domestic Workers in Support to Elderly Persons: A Real Challenge in a Complex Working Environment!

Source: Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, Ilda Ilse Ilama, Journal of Workplace Rights, April-June 2015

From the abstract:
Our article shows that there is a real challenge in balancing work and family for employees working in support services in domestic work for elderly persons; their workplace rights on this issue are quite limited, and they depend largely on managers’ understanding and support. Given their difficult working conditions, these workers actually find quite a challenge in trying to reconcile work and family. Our article is based on a qualitative research mobilizing 33 semi-structured interviews with employees of the home care sector in the field of the social economy mainly but also in the private sector. We first present the concept of work–family and personal life, then the area of home care and domestic work for the elderly. Then, we present the particular challenges observed in reconciling work and family life, where possible by comparing men and women. The results highlight two major sources of differentiation: age and single parenthood. Those who are older highlight the fact that children have grown up, and they have (finally) some time for themselves, even if their working conditions are difficult (broken schedules, etc.). In contrast, single women live a much more difficult situation concerning work–family, partly because of the lack of workplace rights on this issue and because of the poor working conditions for many (broken hours of work, low wages, difficult working conditions). We conclude with some recommendations, including the Right to request, which appears to be the best option, although it would need some further analysis.