The Ministry of Labor assures that it has recognized and ordered the payment of 17,200 extraordinary unemployment benefits to domestic employees, out of a total of 32,000 applications received. Virginia, a 65-year-old domestic worker, sent a message to her “companions” as soon as she saw the charge. “I told them right away that I had received the subsidy because many are discouraged, some believe that it will not come after so many months,” explains the worker. The extraordinary benefit was created during the toughest moments of the pandemic, at the end of March, and was the first time that access to unemployment benefit was recognized for this group, but has been released with long delays, which the workers are still asking to pay.
Household employees still do not receive their unemployment benefit: “It’s been four months now, there are people who need it to eat”
Paola Verdejo, who currently cares for a 91-year-old woman, is still awaiting unemployment due to the months she spent in unemployment after the outbreak of the coronavirus. He says he lost his job after caring for “five years of two children full time and also cleaning and cooking.” On Monday of last week, the SEPE told her that her application was approved, in a telephone consultation with the worker. “But I haven’t collected yet and I don’t know when I’ll get paid,” he says. Verdejo assures that he requested the benefit “in the first days” available for it, at the beginning of may. Four months ago.
“There are many workers who have not been paid yet and many do not know anything about their request,” says Edith Espínola, a member of the Sedoac group of domestic workers. It was one of the associations that met on August 25 with the Secretary of State for Labor, Joaquín Pérez Rey, and the director of SEPE, Gerardo Gutiérrez Ardoy, to express their complaints and concerns regarding the subsidy. The aid has a maximum resolution period of three months, but it is not being fulfilled in many cases. “After the meeting they enabled a communication channel through which the workers send us their data and the SEPE tells us what status the application is in. We have already sent several and they have responded, “explains Espínola.
In the Senda de Cuídos collective, they indicate that they are also finding errors in the amounts that are being paid to some employees. “A worker to whom we processed the subsidy in the first days, in May, has received at the beginning of September but only one monthly payment, about 300 euros, because it seems that she has only been recognized for a job from which she was fired, but not for the one in which he had a cessation of activity and which also claimed, “explains Natalia Slepoy.
Almost half of requests to be resolved
According to Trabajo, to questions from elDiario.es, the remaining 14,800 requests are being processed and pending resolution. The Ministry outsourced the management of this subsidy through the public company Tragsa, due to the lack of personnel. “Benefits are paid as they are recognized,” say sources of work. That is, without having to wait until the beginning of next month, which is when the SEPE traditionally pays the ordinary payment of benefits, thanks to the agreement signed by the Ministry with financial entities.
Based on these figures, the SEPE has recognized for the moment just over half (54%) of the applications submitted and the other half remains to be resolved, although groups of domestic employees point out that the number of petitions was higher. . “In the meeting with the Secretary of State for Labor and with the director of SEPE, they informed us that there were 52,000 requests, of which about 20,000 had been paid,” says Edith Espínola. Sources of Work respond that these 32,000 are being processed, “after eliminating duplicates, requests that did not adapt to the call, debugging errors and late requests.”
Beyond the differences in these figures, Espínola believes that it is necessary to reflect on the mechanism for requesting the subsidy (for total loss of employment or work hours), which he considers too complex for this sector of such precarious workers, many times without internet access for processing and without the possibility of gathering all the documents required for the procedure. “It was very complex, that only 52,000 female employees requested it is a very low number and it must be remembered that only those who have a contract could do it and 40% do not have one,” the Sedoac activist underlines.
The fall in employment among domestic employees who are registered with Social Security stands at 20,233 people, according to the affiliation data for February and August, with 373,938 employees registered in the last month. The number of domestic workers is much higher, as indicated by data from the EPA, a survey that also includes employees in an irregular situation. The latest data available, for the second quarter of the year, indicates that there were 483,000 domestic workers, 93,000 less than the previous quarter.
Collectives of domestic workers such as Sedoac, Territorio Doméstico and Senda de Cartes request that it be urgently regulated the structural right of domestic workers to unemployment, since they are the only group excluded from this protection. “At the moment, we ask that the extraordinary subsidy be extended, as is happening with the ERTEs, because they don’t remember us and the subsidy was only charged until June,” Espínola recalls.
Virginia explains that she takes care of “a very old woman, 93 years old,” and that with the outbreaks she has lost her job again. “The family does not want to take risks, they want to limit contacts, so with the outbreaks they have been scared again,” he says. You no longer have the option to claim any unemployment benefits. “I save myself because I have a son who works, with whom I live, but many other companions are in a worse situation, they cannot pay the rent and have to go to what they call the hunger lines,” says the woman.