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Public Investment in the Care Economy in the UNECE region

Public Investment in the Care Economy in the UNECE region

Opportunities and challenges for gender equality in the COVID-19 recovery

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of investment in the care economy for successful response, recovery and “building back better” from the pandemic. The report provides evidence on UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) member states´ efforts to secure and expand care-focused investment during the pandemic response and the implementation of recovery plans. It documents main policy measures with impacts on financing the care economy. Five main areas are distinguished: Fiscal and tax policy with direct impacts on the care economy, second, economic stimulus action in specific sectors and enterprises, including the care sector and care enterprises. Third, employment protection measures, including subsidies, especially in the care sector; fourth, measures aiming to protect the income of care workers. Fifth is direct support of paid care work, incl. pay, measures to improve working conditions, or emergency recruitment and retainment measures. The report provides recommendations on how best to strengthen investment in the care economy in the response and recovery packages, differentiating between short term and medium to long-term strategies.

It is part of a series of knowledge products developed to strengthen economic and social policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a gender lens. The UNECE - UN Women series: Rethinking Care Economy and Empowering Women for Building back Better forms part of a collaboration by wider UN Development Account tranche 13 project: Strengthening Social Protection for Pandemic Response. The project aims at strengthening national capacities to design and implement social policies for rapid recovery from COVID-19 and for increased resilience to future exogenous shocks. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia collaborated to implement the project for the UNECE region.