A foreign home carer in an apartment in Rome | Photo: ANSA archive photo /Luciano Del Castillo
A foreign home carer in an apartment in Rome | Photo: ANSA archive photo /Luciano Del Castillo

An employment association, Domina Observatory, in Italy said that legalization of foreign domestic workers and home carers will allow the Italian government to collect a net revenue of at least €160 million annually.

The legalization of foreign domestic workers and home carers will bring at least €160 million in revenue to the Italian state, said the Domina association for family employers of domestic workers, highlighting the potential benefits of granting legal working conditions to employees in this sector.

The legalization which comes as part of the Italian "relaunch decree" following the COVID-19 lockdown, is open to farmworkers and domestic workers. According to estimates by the Domina Observatory, there are 565,000 foreign domestic workers without a regular work contract, and not all of them are without a stay permit.

The economic advantage of taxes and contributions

The Domina Observatory looked at costs and benefits to the legalization proposals. "Considering only the direct costs (forfeit contributions and administrative expenses), to have an economic advantage there must be more than 200,000 applications for legalization," it said.

"If, on the other hand, we consider that a legal domestic worker pays taxes and contributions, already with 100,000 beneficiaries we would have a net revenue for the state of €161.4 million annually, which would go up to €279.7 million with 150,000 beneficiaries and to €399 million with 200,000 beneficiaries," it calculated.

'More than a million domestic workers without work contracts'

"If we remember that there are more than one million domestic workers without a work contract, even if we were able to grant asylum to 200,000 foreign workers, it would only be a small part of all of those who work irregularly," said Domina secretary-general Lorenzo Gasparrini.

Although he encourages legalization, he thinks that this would only solve one part of the dilemma many migrant domestic workers find themselves in Italy following the stringent lockdown measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. The country was severely hit by both the disease and the resulting economic repercussions which saw many of those employed without proper contracts facing destitution, because having never been registered with the system, they found it hard to claim benefits during the crisis.

"The lack of a stay permit for workers isn't the only problem. In this time of economic difficulty, there are three main responses adopted by families: the reduction of working hours requested of the domestic worker, the total interruption of the work relationship, or the lack of declaring the work to INPS (National Institute for Social Security)," Gasparrini said.

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