Slovenia experiences an expansion of care work in informal care markets filling the gaps of public care facilities. While research show that families across EU compensate for care deficit by outsourcing care to migrant workers, in Slovenia local women, including second and third generation of migrants from former Yugoslavia prevail in home-based care, particular in elder care. In contrast, the area of cleaning private households, low valued and labour intensive work, is open to recent female migrants. Another peculiarity of Slovenia is the prevalence of live-out work arrangements which can be explained by high rate of local women performing care work. This chapter analyses how care work affects care workers’ resources for balancing family and work life, and compares experiences of local and migrant care workers.
The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the historicisation of the contemporary interpretations of global care chains through an outline of a tradition more than a century old of Slovenian female residents from the border region between Slovenia and Italy (the Primorska and Goriška regions) who have been working in Italian private households as domestic workers continuously since 19th century. Author argues that the concept of a global care chain establishes a markedly synchronous analysis of migrant care work, while the paper considers the question of what new dimensions, meanings and contexts emerge from looking at migrant care work from a diachronic perspective, and in confrontation of diachronic and synchronic perspectives.
The focus of the chapter is to confront and analyse the convergences and divergences in social conditions and motives which shape(d) past and present patterns of emigration by Slovenian women to Italy for performing care work. Additionally, the paper presents analyses of the distinct features of the situation of Slovenian migrant care workers in Italy in contemporary global care chains. The analysis is based on three data sources: interviews with Slovenian women who commute daily to perform care work in Italian households; historical sources, including testimonies from Slovenian female working emigrants in Egypt and Italy; and a review of contemporary literature on the situation of migrant care workers in Europe. A confrontation of past and present situation of migrant care workers as well as Slovenian and migrant care workers in Italy reveals that the contemporary continuity of informal employment of Slovenian women from the borderlands in Italian households seems to be less an urgent need for survival or a remedy for care deficit, than a deeply rooted traditional pattern that is comfortable, familiar, and always accessible.