The home help service in the metropolitan area of Valencia has better working conditions with public provision

  • Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit
  • January 16th, 2019
Óscar Muñoz, researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Josep V. Pitxer, professor at the Department of Applied Economics.
Óscar Muñoz, researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Josep V. Pitxer, professor at the Department of Applied Economics.

The study prepared by the researchers of the Universitat de València specifies what the care work consists of and what the different delivery systems are. In addition, it concludes that the working conditions of the auxiliary personnel of the Home Help Service (SAD, in Spanish) are better when the service is publicly owned and also that it is a highly feminised profession.

The researchers of the University of Valencia Óscar Muñoz, of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Josep V. Pitxer, of the Department of Applied Economics, have published the article “El servicio de ayuda a domicilio en el área metropolitana de Valencia”. This research analyses the functioning and characteristics of the Home Help Service (SAD, in Spanish) in Valencia and nine towns in the metropolitan area of the city: Alaquàs, Albal, Alboraia, Benetússer, Godella, Mislata, Paterna, Rocafort and Tavernes Blanques.

The work has been developed through a qualitative methodology that combines the collection of data from ten municipalities in the area with conducting in-depth interviews. Despite this, the results can be extended to other nearby municipalities thanks to information from key informants, such as companies, employers or unions.

The research establishes that there are different systems of SAD provision, either through local corporations, or through outsourcing in favour of private organisations. In both cases, the activities that make up the service are practically identical. Another new feature of the research is the detection of better conditions for auxiliaries when the service is publicly provided in aspects such as salary, hours or type of contract.

According to Óscar Muñoz, the importance of this study lies “not only in making the service known, but also in the working conditions of home help workers”. In this sense, Muñoz points out the relationship between care work and its feminisation, both in the informal and in the professional field, since around 80% of the auxiliaries are women.

This researcher also highlights that there are “actions such as lifting patients, personal hygiene, accompaniments to health services, preparation of intakes, etc. The study helps us to better understand what the work of care consists of, in this case the one provided by professional staff, although that also occurs in the domestic sphere”. In addition, “we refer to a task where relational and emotional components are mixed, ingredients that are often developed in the home sphere by unqualified personnel”.

The study emphasises the importance of this service, makes it known among the population, and at the same time vindicates the need that municipalities provide for free. Óscar Muñoz points out that the population “needs services like this, especially the elderly and people in situations of dependency, who often ignore their existence. Although care work is an essential job, it is quite invisible, and there does not seem to be enough demand organisations, profit and non-profit, to offer it”.

Óscar Muñoz believes the home help service (SAD, in Spanish) is indispensable, “despite being a support service, since it is a relief for families and a fundamental aid for their beneficiaries. Without a doubt, it has to be one of the public policies to be reinforced in the very near future”.



Óscar Muñoz i Josep V. Pitxer: «El servicio de ayuda a domicilio en el área metropolitana de Valencia». Zerbtizuan, núm. 66.


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