Booming and with a future, but submerged: this is the care economy in Spain

The Spanish care economy, or the personal and domestic services sector, generates more than 6,000 million euros a year. However the 80% is within the so-called informal or underground economy.

And the study on care carried out by the Spanish Association of Personal and Domestic Services (AESPD) shows that, in Spain, service companies fighting the underground economy are “preaching in the desert.”

Only the school aid at home moves 1,586 million euros. But, at the same time, it is estimated that it generates about 1,540 million in the framework of the underground economy. It is followed by cleaning and ironing at home, which have a business volume of 1,253 million compared to 1,166 million euros in b.

Likewise, the services where practically all the business volume belongs to the underground economy, although to a lesser extent than the previous ones, are the computer or technological assistance and the repairs, both at home.

In helping the elderly, the underground economy accounts for half of the business volume

In helping the elderly, the underground economy accounts for half of the business volume


The situation shows a slight improvement in the help from older people and dependents and in the child care at home, where the underground economy accounts for half of the business volume.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), in its 2019 report on Care Work and Care Workers stated that “care work, both paid and unpaid, is of vital importance to the future of decent work“.

The same report remarks that in the paid care work the majority are women “Often migrants, and when they work in the informal economy they do so in precarious conditions,” he emphasizes. In addition, they refer to the fact that in these cases the remuneration is usually very low.

The doctor in sociology, Marta Domínguez, published in 2019 an article in El observatorio social de la Caixa entitled How much domestic work is worth in Spain in which it stated that in 2010 – the year for which the most recent data was available when it was prepared – unpaid activities in the Spanish economy represented 40.77% of the value of GDP.

Among those investigated activities were the caring for people, cleaning and maintaining the house and food.

A new regulation

The AESDP, after studying the data collected in its report, calls for a regulation like that of some European countries. The example of France is mentioned with the Broloo Act of 2005.

Thanks to its application, a large part of the underground economy in the country was ended. A similar model in our country, according to the association, would allow thousands of jobs to come to light, now in b, through companies specialized in them.

The World Economic Forum affirms that the care economy will provide more than two million job opportunities in 2022

The French law allows the tax deduction of 50% of expenses in services to the people in the personal income tax, also offering deductions in the Corporation Tax to the companies.

But, above all, it ensures that workers have access to quality jobs in their place of residence and increases the number of contributors to Social Security. In turn, this leads to a decrease in unemployment benefits or other social benefits.

Alares, a Spanish company specialized in caring for people, indicates that the demand for its services has increased by more than 30% after the worst months of the pandemic.

Sin dua is a growing sector, but not only in our country. According to the World Economic Forum, the care economy could provide 2,600,000 job opportunities in 2022.

This highlights not only the need for better legislation in the field of care in the near future, but also the need to find fast solutions to the situation experienced by workers – in large part women – in the sector.

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