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Counting Unemployment of Domestic Workers Continues as Justice Continues to Provide Subsidies

Nearly 400,000 workers are waiting for a historic change that will mean a great deal to their future: the right to unemployment. Two months after European Court of Justice ruled that Spain discriminated against domestic and care workers by refusing to protect them from unemployment, the Ministry of Labor claimed that it was “complying” with a royal decree granting unemployment benefits to the group. Vice President Yolanda Diaz assured that the rule would be ready “in the coming days” or “weeks.” There are still a few steps to take before the measure becomes effective and these workers have access to benefits, but while the courts are already recognizing subsidies for employees who have condemned the administration.

One of the last to do so was once again the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJ), which on 11 May recognized the right of a domestic worker to a subsidy for the unemployed over the age of 52. Magistrates have condemned the payment of SEPE benefits since the day it reached the age of access to it, in 2019. This is the second such case to be settled positively by the court, although employees have not contributed to unemployment in the past. , Because the law did not allow it.

The Ministry of Labor explains that the legislative text is “very advanced” by regulating unemployment for these workers, the vast majority of whom are women and many are migrants. While Social Security figures provide for 378,178 domestic workers registered under its special scheme, there are still 180,000 workers in the submerged economy. According to the EPA, there are approximately 550,000 internal staff in Spain.

Unemployment law is reflected in the Royal Decree Law, which is justified by the urgency of resolving discrimination, which reflects the European sentence of 24 February last year following a complaint against the administration of a Galician worker. According to the vice-president, the rule concerns not only the right to unemployment of domestic workers, but also other issues, “the extension of the rights of these workers in a broad sense.”

In this extension of the rights, which has not yet been specified, Yolanda Dias directly stated that she is considering the rules of dismissal, though she did not specify how. In particular, he referred to dismissals as “layoffs” by which households could lay off domestic workers for no apparent reason.

And before this norm is approved, another promise that has been waiting for years that has not been fulfilled comes to the Congress of Deputies on Thursday: Ratification of the 189th WTO Convention. It is an international agreement on domestic workers, a historic claim by groups of domestic workers that its fulfillment implies equal rights with other workers. “For us, this is a great achievement, a victory after many years of struggle,” explains Rafaela Pimentelli, a domestic worker and member of the Territorio Doméstico.

Although domestic workers know that ratification does not imply automatic extension of their rights. This must be regulated specifically as it will be with the right to unemployment. Pimentel notes that twelve months after ratification is key to consolidating the normative agenda and legislative changes that ensure compliance with an international treaty. “We want to be able to contribute, to participate in the negotiating table, or even for the minister to call us on what measures we are asking for,” explained the internal affairs officer.

In recent days, groups of domestic workers and feminist organizations have launched a campaign to demand ratification of WTO Convention 189, in addition to the right to unemployment, into measures such as the “obligation to notify 15 days in advance”. And “Inclusion in Occupational Risk Prevention Law through Recognition of Occupational Diseases.” Workers will mobilize with Congress next June 9th. “We do not want the photo to be ratified and put in a drawer, we want it to be noticed in the sector,” said Rafaella Pimenteli.

The Ministry of Labor explains that the intention is that the regulation “goes very fast”, but notes that “it is very difficult given the large change in the administrative dimension, which requires coordination with, in addition, other departments.” “As soon as it is prepared, it will be handed over to social agents,” the sources added.

Contrary to other labor regulations, the Ministry of Labor completes the text on its own and then intends to move it to a social dialogue for “consultation”. The expression, which has been mentioned many times in the ministry, is not trivial. We are not talking about “negotiations” or drafting a text from the social dialogue with the participation of the trade unions and the majority of employers, as is the usual procedure of the Ministry. But “consult” with them after the standard is ready.

The lack of negotiations on the issue has “angered quite a bit” the unions, they point out from the majority centers of, as they seem to be beyond the regulation of unemployment protection. At the CCOO and the UGT, they argued that the Ministry of Labor had not asked them to discuss the matter, and the CCOO indicated that they had sent two letters to the Labor and Social Security office convening a meeting, to which they had not even received a reply.

The majority of trade unions demand their participation in the development of the norm, which they do not consider to be limited to “consultations” closed by law. What does not happen in any of the issues in the ministry, which is usually a show of negotiation and, especially, of social dialogue.

At work, while they do not respond to criticism from trade unions, they stress the intention to speed up legislation and pass it “as soon as possible” to end discrimination that has been warned by a Luxembourg court. After the text is completed, there will be a “consultation” with social agents and final approval by the Council of Ministers. The resolution must later be based on Parliament’s approval of its resolution.

It is not yet known when domestic workers will be able to effectively address unemployment. “I can not tell you the date,” Secretary of State for Employment Joaquin Perez Reim replied on Thursday. Given the regulation by law of the royal decree, all indications are that compliance with the norm will be enforced, but the details of the legislation will need to be taken into account. “They will meet him in the coming days,” Yolanda Diaz said in a speech to Congress.

Source: El Diario





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