Job Quality and Industrial Relations in the Personal and Household Services Sector – The case of Germany : Report for the EU-financed project PHS-Quality (EC GRANT AGREEMENT Vp/2017/004/0049) - March 2020

This report deals with employment rights and working conditions of workers in the domestic service sector. In both public and academic debates, the term ‘domestic work’ is used to denote a broad range of activities, including both housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning, cooking etc., and interactive work, in particular caring for children, elderly or disabled people. As noted by Lutz and Pallenga-Möllenbeck (2010: 420) “distinguishing these separate domestic activities is very useful for analytical purposes. In reality, however, these tasks are not divided into separate working areas; rather, they usually coincide”. This is particularly the case with regard to domestic work in households with elderly people as they often depend on support in both areas. As a result, there is also a substantial overlap with regard to provider structures and the structure of the labour supply for the two segments, and rather increasingly so, as we will see. Therefore, the structure of the report does not reproduce the analytical distinction between care work and housekeeping work, but rather follows the different contractual forms that can be found in the segment of domestic work in Germany. Wherever appropriate and available, we will however present data distinguishing between the two segments.

The report was written a part of a larger EU-financed comparative research project on job quality and industrial relations in the private household sector in 10 European countries, coordinated by the AIAS-HIS at the University of Amsterdam (NL). More information on the project and other national reports can be accessed via the project’s website (

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