14th February 2017

ILO: More long-term care services for the elderly needed in Central-Eastern Europe

ILO study highlights shortage of quality long-term services for older people in the region while a significant number of female migrant workers move to Western Europe to fill existing gaps. ILO asked Kenichi Hirose, co-author of the research with Zofia Czepulis-Rutkowska, to talk more about these trends.

ILO News: Do countries in the region invest enough in long-term care services?
The share of public long-term care expenditure in terms of GDP in Central and Eastern Europe countries is generally less than half of that in OECD countries. It represents 0.7 per cent in the Czech Republic, 0.74 per cent in Poland and 0.53 per cent in Serbia compared to 1.7 per cent in OECD countries.

ILO News: Could cash allowances be a way to improve the system?
Cash benefits in the form of care allowances do exist in the Czech Republic and Serbia. They are useful in the sense that beneficiaries have the freedom to choose services according to their priorities. However, surveys show that a large part of the allowance is actually used for purposes other than the direct acquisition of care services. Also, even if the care allowance is given to family carers, it is usually not enough to fully compensate family members’ lost opportunity costs, e.g. the return they could have earned by doing something else instead of providing care. 

Another hurdle is that these allowances can be severely slashed in times of economic crisis. For instance, the Czech care allowance was cut by 60 per cent in 2011 as part of emergency austerity measures. A proposal to replace cash benefits with service vouchers is being discussed in the Czech Republic and Poland but it has not been implemented yet...

Read full article in English here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic