Portugal pay for elderly care among lowest in EU 

While demand for long-term care for the elderly is growing across the European Union (EU), it is also underpaid and undervalued, with Portugal offering the lowest wages among EU countries, according to a recent report.

Employees in Portugal’s care sector are among the lowest-paid in the entire European bloc, second only to Romania, Italy and Slovenia, a recent report by the European Foundation for Working Conditions (Eurofound) revealed, local newspaper Diario de Noticias reported.

According to the report, the salary of an employee at a nursing home started at 8708,48 euros per year, against an average salary of 18,111 euros in 2019. An employee at an institution for people with disabilities received 8568,47 euros a year, and a nurse working for a private social solidarity institution received 13 580.75 euros per year.

Long-term care workers receive well below average in most EU countries, with higher salaries seen in the Netherlands, where employees in this area earnt around 94% of the average national salary.

Eurofound also found that a high number of people working in this sector in Portugal were self-employed, and that there were high turnover rates – reaching 36% among nurses in mid-term and rehabilitation units and 24% in long-term and maintenance units.

The study revealed that there was a lack of data in this sector in Portugal, regarding for example the number of patients being cared for by each professional. 

Eurofound warns that there is a growing shortage of professionals in this sector, and challenges governments to “impose adequate working conditions”, as well as to prevent undeclared work.