Dienstencheques or Titres-service provide a useful system whereby reliable housework help can be found. Agencies hire the staff, train them and check references then accompany them to the employer's house to brief them on what work is to be done. They ensure that the employer and employee are both happy with the service. The employer can allow a stranger into their home to do chores without worrying.
Workers can be hired for the following chores:
Inside the home: cleaning, window-cleaning, laundry and ironing, preparation of meals, small sewing repairs.
Outside the home: shopping errands, ironing and sewing elsewhere, driving elderly or handicapped people in offical transport. (Excluded: delivery of hot meals, furniture, household appliancs, AV equipment, newspapers and magazines.)
Not allowed: plumbing, electrical repairs, painting and decorating, gardening, babysitting or childminding.
The cheques can only be used in the private domain, not for commercial cleaning or work within companies.
The hours worked are paid with cheques, one per hour. The price of each cheque is 6,70 € but 30% of this may be offset against personal taxes so that each cheque has a real cost of 4,69 €. There is a limit of 2.310 € per year. For example,
Exemple 1 : Exemple 2 :
Purchase: 120 cheques
Total cost: 804 €
Tax saving: 30% of 804 €, = 241,20 €
The agencies are subsidised by the government receiving the difference between 6,70 € and 20 € per cheque. By so doing, they help to control work in the black economy. The workers receive an indefinite work contract and social security is paid thereby providing the benefits not available to those who work in the black. They are also covered for work accidents and receive holiday pay.
Here are the statistics for the system in 2006:
- 420.000 users of the system
- 35.000.000 cheques were ordered
- 1.450 recognised agency employers
- 32.000.000 hours worked
- nearly 29.000 workers benefitted from a work contract (2005, source : enquête Idea Consult).
You can find out full details here.
I think it is an excellent system which benefits all parties involved.