Beyond Applause? Improving Working Conditions in Long-Term Care

This report presents an in-depth cross-country analysis of how long-term care workers fare along the different dimensions of job quality. In the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the applause for care workers was a clear expression of the strong recognition of their hard work and exposure to risks in their job. However, as the applause faded after the peak of the crisis, questions have re-emerged about how to improve the working conditions of long-term care workers in a sustainable way. Over the coming decades, the demand for these workers will increase substantially. Several countries are already facing shortages as the large baby-boom generation joins the older population. To go Beyond Applause, a comprehensive policy strategy is needed to tackle poor working conditions and insufficient social recognition of long-term care work, attract workers in the sector and avoid labour shortages reaching unacceptable levels. Such a strategy should cover several dimensions, with different priorities across countries depending on their specific context, including: direct interventions to raise wages and increase staff requirements; increasing public financing and fostering the leading role by governments; supporting collective bargaining and social dialogue; strengthening training; increasing use of new technologies; and, strengthening health prevention policies.

Available from June 27, 2023Also available in: French


Executive summary
Key facts and figures (Infographic)
Beyond Applause? Improving working conditions in long-term care: An overview
Work and wages in long-term care today
Work environment and collective bargaining in long-term care
Social recognition, gender- and migration-related issues in long‑term care
Looking ahead: Current and future labour shortfalls in long-term care
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