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Rising fuel prices plunge home help services into a “critical” situation

Marie-Christine Pach, home helper, accompanies one of her patients after taking him shopping, in Soissons (Aisne), October 26, 2021

There are those who write emails, those who decline remote interventions, those who refuse replacements, those who resign, those who have not even hired… “From the 20th of the month, we also have employees who tell us “I can no longer work until I get my pay” »notes Amir Reza-Tofighi, president of the Federation of personal and local services (Fedesap), which represents more than 3,000 companies. “We are a little on general alert, confides Marie-Reine Tillon president of the National Union of help, care and home services (UNA), more than 800 associative or public structures. We have always had difficulty recruiting and resignations, but in recent weeks we have seen an acceleration. »

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While 150,000 employees are already missing in the sector, the rise in fuel prices puts home help, where the use of the car is essential, in a delicate situation. Most employees (more than 400,000 in France, mainly women) travel with their own vehicle between the homes of people with loss of autonomy whom they assist. They pay for fuel on their very small salary, then, according to collective agreements, are reimbursed from 0.22 to 0.35 euros per kilometer, an amount supposed to cover the depreciation of the vehicle, maintenance, insurance, and the price of fuel. This compensation has not changed for ten years. It therefore does not take into account the recent surge in prices at the pump.

“We are taken by the throat”, summarizes Amandine Batelier, home help, who travels up to 800 km per week, on the roads of the Oise with her diesel. Four fill-ups a month with diesel at more than 2 euros per liter is 400 euros to advance on the 1,250 euros net that she earns for her part-time job. “Now when we go shopping, we go with the calculator! For twenty years that I have been with my spouse, it had never happened to us, ” confides, bewildered, this mother of three children from 4 to 10 years old.

“Once again, our employees are the forgotten ones”, Amir Reza-Tofighi, president of Fedesap

She alerted her managers by email and letter. “We fight at the height of our means. I can go on strike over my cleaning hours, it’s not vital. But I can’t see myself giving up changing a grandpa’s diaper in the morning. »

The government measure which will reduce the price of a liter at the pump by at least 15 cents from 1er april is for her “already a small economy”. But that will just wipe out the rise in diesel over the past two weeks.

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