The Pinoy OFW

Italy

Life of an OFW Caregiver in Italy

Are you interested in working as a caregiver in Italy? Are you aware of the short and long term struggles they have to deal with while working in a different country?

This article shares a summary of the video created by an OFW in Italy through his YouTube channel, Migz Angelo. In this video, he talks about working as an OFW in Italy. He made this video because a lot of people asked him about his experiences.

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Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on the video on his accounts.

How Much Does an OFW Earn in Italy?

You can watch the full video here:

The salary of an OFW in Italy depends on a lot of factors, one of them being the employer. The vlogger has been working for several years already in Italy, and he mentioned that he’s had several different salaries depending on his employer.

When he started working in Italy, his salary was understandably lower than it is now. He was earning the minimum salary, and back then he felt he couldn’t make a demand or express what he felt is the right amount he deserved for the work he brings to the company.

Back then, he still didn’t know how to speak Italian, so that was one of the reasons why he couldn’t make demands. Later on, though, as time progressed, he learned to speak the language. So when he lost a job, i.e. he can no longer take care of his client as a caregiver, he can then easily look for another job.

In the job searching phase, you get to be interviewed a lot, so it helps that you know the local language.

Interviewing for a Job

So what are the possible questions during a job interview in Italy? Well, first of all, during that interview, you get to learn more about the nature of the work you are applying for. You also get to tell them how much you think you should be paid for the work.

After listening to your salary request, the employers will then give it to you if they can afford it. They will also negotiate if they think your price is too high. Eventually, you will both reach an agreement and a job contract will soon be put in place.

Aside from the salary, employers also provide benefits, similar to SSS in the Philippines. It is best if you remind your prospect employer about these other obligations they have to you as their employee. Our YouTuber said some Italian employers say something but yet they cannot keep that promise.

That’s why you need to be aware of your salary and your benefits, and you need to constantly remind your employer about these in some cases.

Based on his experience, you need to be careful about this since there are employers who don’t follow the signed contract, especially in terms of salary.

Challenges of Working as a Caregiver

When he was just starting out work in Italy, he didn’t know much about the laws and what the important things are when it comes to working as a caregiver in Italy.

Over time though, he started learning about all these details through experience. He learned more about what the salary of a caregiver must be, what employers should give you aside from the basic salary, and more.

In Italy, he said that the laws change annually. In fact, he said that in the 10 to 11 years he has worked in Italy, he said he has worked with around 4 or 5 old aged clients. Last year, he spent time with a lot of clients, not as a regular employee, but just to be with them, going on vacation with them so that someone will take care of them.

Basically, he said that over time, he has learned to choose which clients he wants to work with. In the past, he’s had clients that don’t know how to pay well, won’t give him the pay that he deserved. There are also those that say bad things to him, those who are basically rude to him and don’t respect him.

He says that he is a hardworking caregiver, and despite these unideal circumstances, he endured. That’s because during that time, he’s had a lot of problems go through his life. For example, his parents got sick so they’re asking him from money for the medical bills. At that time, he was also spending on building a house.

In the end, there were so many expenses that he could not say no to any work that comes his way, even if his clients are not ideal. He also felt, at that time, that he could not quit his regular job, since he was a guy, and most caregivers are female, and he might have a hard time finding a new job if he quit the regular one.

He said that most old clients, male or female, prefer a female caregiver. Fortunately, he was able to muster the strength to continue working for his employer, even if lots of problems came his way and he has a less than ideal client.

Another problem that he faced was that he always had to work in the rural, mountainous areas, far from the city, and where there’s no other Filipino except him. He even decided to just stay at home with the elderly, so he can save money off having to rent a place to stay.

He spent around 5 years working in the mountains, saying that it was a difficult experience for him. To muster strength to go on, he just convinced himself that these are just temporary trials, and everything will get better in the future.

The deciding factor to leave the mountains was when his client’s Alzheimer’s disease got worse, and he recommended to the son that they just take him to a facility. He also got sick due to the stress and pressure of being a caregiver and facing all these problems.

In fact, he was able to return back to the Philippines to rest and recover, and thankfully he got better and decided to go back to work in Italy.

Going Back to Italy

From his past experience, he learned that from now on, he will have to choose his employer carefully. He knew that he needed to look for one that is kind, pays well, follows the contract, so that he will feel at ease during work.

The good thing is, he found a job that’s no longer in the provinces but in the city. Indeed, life as an OFW in Italy is hard, especially in the beginning when you still don’t know how to speak Italian fluently.

He even got to the point when he was the recipient of many bad words from his employer and their relatives, but eventually he learned to defend himself. If you just keep your anger to yourself, that’s not good for your health, and you will suffer. He learned, through his experiences, that you need to carefully let your anger out and you will feel better.

Salary of a Caregiver in Italy

As mentioned previously, when you sit down and talk to your potential employer, tell them how much salary you think you deserve. Some of them will say that they can’t afford your price. That’s because there will be elderly clients that only rely on their pension. So it’s not like they are living a luxurious life. Just like his former employer, who is living simply and so cannot afford to offer a higher salary.

In fact, his employer worked as a factory worker before. He also had a client though that worked in the bank before, so for that he earned a higher salary.

Aside from the salary, your employers will also have to play for your 13th month pay, benefits, vacation benefits, and more. To them, it is really expensive to get a caregiver.

Since he understands this, our YouTuber allows his employer to pay him less than what he could get, as long as they give him enough food. You really have to tell them that you need budget for food, because sometimes some employers don’t really follow the contract.

At the end of the day, it’s all about luck. Some OFWs are really lucky that their employer is rich, while others aren’t.

He considers himself lucky in the sense that his client is not that debilitated. In fact, they can still walk, unlike his previous elderly clients in the past who are basically grown up little kids in the way you have to take care of them.

His client can also still walk around and sleep well. That’s why he doesn’t have to sleep late, so he also considers himself fortunate in that regard.

Therefore, even if his salary is currently not that high, he still sees the benefits of this most recent job. He is comfortable in this current job.

Moreover, it is important that you write down every agreement you reach with your client so that you don’t forget. This includes your salary, the benefits you will receive, and more.

He can also use this list if he looks for another client. That way, he will just show this list to this new employer, and if they can’t agree to the terms, then you can just negotiate with them.

Experience Makes Life Easier

Indeed, life as a caregiver is not that easy. You have to go through difficult experiences before you experience the easy ones.

The more time you spend working as a caregiver, the more you know about everything important related to your job. For example, you will know more about the laws and regulations of the place. You will also become better at dealing with the attitudes of your elderly clients.

You also learn what the right food is to give your clients, and what kind of medicines they need to take. You become more alert to the needs of your client. They are already old, so they are sensitive to the food or medicine that you give them. Therefore, it is your huge responsibility to know what to give them, and you have to think that their lives depend on you.

Most of the clients you will be dealing are those that have only a few more years to live. You need to be emotionally ready for that as well. That’s because usually, when someone feels that they can still live for a longer amount of years, they won’t get a caregiver to help them. They prefer being alone or taking care of themselves.

In fact, you are lucky if your client lives for as much as 3 to 5 years. In fact, he mentioned having a client that was always angry at him, always asking him when he will go back to the Philippines. The client feels that he can still take care of himself.

After some time though, the client got used to having his caregiver around. In fact, these days, he is now the one that looks for the caregiver when he’s not around.

How to be a Good Caregiver

One thing that you need to remember to be a good caregiver is to be honest. Be honest especially with the family of your client.

Also, take care of the belongings of your employer, including their money, their wallet, and more. Be alert because if that’s gone, you might get accused of stealing it.

Similarly, you need to carefully monitor the movement of your elderly patient.

Also, trust in yourself and don’t break the trust that your client has towards you. If that trust is destroyed, then that actually not only affects you but also affects the image of the other Filipino workers in the country.

In other words, always be mindful of the fact that as a Filipino working overseas, you are representing other Filipinos and your country as well.

If your client passes away, and you’ll have to find another job, make sure that you’ve done a good enough job that the family can refer you to other potential employers, to their relatives for example.

For several years, our YouTuber has managed to take care of his reputation as a caregiver in Italy. He may not have shared much about what the salary is, but what he shared in the video is valuable. It gives an intimate view into what your experiences might be when you try this job. You have to be ready for it.

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