Caregiver: how are they protected?

The term caregiver defines that person who, by virtue of the emotional bond and free of charge, provides assistance to a family member who has become non self-sufficient due to an illness or due to advancing age.

The caregiver’s activity , for obvious reasons, is parameterized to the type of help needed and the degree of lack of self-sufficiency of the family member. For this reason it can be full-time or part-time and, depending on the load of anxiety and emotional stress connected to it, it can also lead to psychological disorders such as depression or insomnia.

The main distinguishing features between this figure and the classic figure of the caregiver, therefore, reside precisely:
in the full availability of those who assist, even all day and night,
in the free service.


  1. Who are the caregivers?
  2. What are the safeguards?
  3. The accompanying allowance
  4. Some news

Who are the caregivers?

The family caregiver is a figure dedicated to assisting the elderly and disabled and represents an important reality in our country. Let’s see who he is, what he does and what the law provides on the matter.
That of the caregiver is a figure that we hear about more and more often. The word caregiver could be literally translated into Italian with “the one who gives the care”.

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A caregiver is a person who cares for an elderly family member with a disability or difficulty.
A figure who unfortunately almost always lives in silence where the legislation for the recognition and protection of the caregiver is still not very effective and insufficient.

Istat has estimated that caregivers in Italy are over 17% of the population and that is at least 8.5 million. Of these, at least 7.3 million (14.9%) are family members of people in need of care and 600 thousand families with the most serious cases requiring greater effort.

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Istat data again confirm that caregivers are mainly women:

  • 30% are under the age of 45;
  • 40% are between 46 and 60 years old;
  • 60% of caregivers are unemployed.

These in fact devote a lot of time to their families and in particular from 10 to 20 hours a week and even more. In particular, the percentages are divided as follows:

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  • 1% of caregivers dedicate more than 20 hours a week to family care;
  • 8% for at least 10 hours a week.
  • 4% ​​less than 10 hours a week.

What are the safeguards?

To date, despite the evident importance of such figures in the corporate fabric, the figure of the caregiver has not yet been given full recognition and protection.
In the case of employees, who need to take care of a relative with severe disabilities, however, Law 104 of 1992 provides for a series of facilitations and permits giving partial recognition to the caregiver, although this specific figure is appointed only by art. 33.

In particular, art. 33, paragraph 3, provides that the employee, private or public, has the right to 3 days of paid monthly leave in order to look after a relative with a serious disability.

As for the degree of kinship to which the benefit is granted, the law in question establishes the following list:

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  • people with severe disabilities;
  • parents (including adoptive or foster parents) of children with severe disabilities;
  • spouse (or partner in the civil union), relatives and relatives up to the second degree of family members with serious disabilities, this right can be extended to third degree relatives and relatives where the assisted person is over 65 years old and the parents and / or the spouse of the same have died or have a serious disability.

It is also established that those who use the permits of Law 104/92 cannot be required to work at night. There is also the alternative of extraordinary leave, as per legislative decree no. 151 of 2001, on the protection and support of maternity and paternity, which provides that those who enjoy the benefits referred to in law no. 104/92 can obtain paid leave lasting 2 years only once during their entire working career.

The period of leave, although paid, is not counted for the purposes of severance pay, holidays and thirteenth. It can be requested, therefore, for the same categories of relatives seen for the law 104, as well as by one of the cohabiting children with severe disability, where the figure of the cohabitant, spouse or partner of the civil union is missing, because he died or suffered from a serious disability.

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The accompanying allowance

In the presence of total civil disability with inability to walk without being accompanied or inability to carry out normal daily activities without support, a periodic indemnity may be requested from INPS . To obtain the recognition of this type of disability which, it should be emphasized, is different from the serious disability referred to in law 104/92, a certificate of health requirements by a medical commission of the ASL is required.
Once the right to civil indemnity has been recognized, this is paid by INPS monthly and corresponds to approximately 500 euros per month for twelve months.

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Some news

Several bills have recently been presented in the Chamber and Senate, all in order to give express recognition to the figure of the caregiver, to delimit the scope of his activity and to provide economic and welfare support for the same. Furthermore, a series of collaborative activities and interventions between social services and primary care doctors are suggested, which can give support to the caregiver.

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Finally, it is envisaged that the expenses incurred for the care and assistance of the family member can be deducted from the income tax of individuals to the extent of 50 percent and up to a maximum of 10,000 euros per year. We will have to wait to see if one of these proposals will be able to complete the entire legislative process


by Abdullah Sam
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