In For Care

The self-employed are vulnerable caregivers

15 February 2019 - Published by Ragni Leifson
Self-employed informal caregivers are a particularly vulnerable group and are therefore receiving extra attention in Drenthe.

As the In For Care (IFC) collaboration in Drenthe continues to exchange information and ideas with other groups and organisations in the region, we have observed a heightened awareness for working caregivers, and a willingness to find solutions.

The Naoberloket, an affiliated partner of IFC in Drenthe, aims to raise awareness amongst a particularly vulnerable group of entrepreneurs – the self-employed – by informing and supporting them. All knowledge gained is shared in open discussions with the Province of Drenthe and IFC sub-partners.

A joint study

There are approximately one million self-employed people in the Netherlands. One in five is currently also an informal carer. In 2017 a study was initiated on this theme by ZZP Nederland (an organization for self-employed persons) in cooperation with Stichting Werk & Mantelzorg (a national Foundation for Work & Caregiving).

Results show that

  • about 20% of the freelancers combine daily work with caregiving tasks.
  • almost 45% have great difficulty finding a healthy balance work and caregiving.
  • 58% indicate that the lack of balance between work and caregiving has a negative impact on both their finances and their mental state.
  • 44% expect to become a caregiver within the next five years.

The greatest concern of the respondents is that self-employed people are not eligible for all kinds of provisions and facilities. They are for example not entitled to collectively agreed work conditions, such as care leave. Their main worries are less work, less income, less flexibility, less time. This, combined with larger expenses and more mental pressure, leaves them with a high risk of stress and burn-out.

Some advantages

But there are also advantages. Around 60% of the respondents felt that, being self-employed, it was easier to provide informal care than if they were in paid employment. Some entrepreneurs (approx. 20%) made a conscious decision to work as an independent for this reason. Although it must be noted that this also depends on the branch and kind of work involved.

During the IFC international partnership’s visit to Drenthe next September we hope to visit a number of sites dealing with informal care and the combination with work.