Oxfam Intermón denounces that 32.5% of domestic workers live below the poverty line in Spain, and the situation is especially difficult for one in six, in poverty severe, surviving on less than 16 euros a day.
On the International Day of Domestic Workers, the NGO regrets that employers they are not paying the contributions of 36% of household work and therefore it is being provided in the underground economy, “which would be equivalent to 2,600 million euros in wages and 820 million euros that Social Security is losing”. “The group of domestic and care workers is one of the hardest hit by precariousness and poverty in the labor market in our country,” says Oxfam in the report “Essentials and no rights”, which is launched this Tuesday.
Of the more than 550,000 women who work at home, more than 32% live below the poverty line, compared to 12% for all wage earners, according to their estimates.
With the pandemic, this situation has worsened: in the first wave, three jobs for domestic workers were destroyed for every one in the market as a whole. Thus, 8.3% of the work of this group was lost, compared to 2.6% of the total. “A year ago, when for a few weeks everything stopped, the only thing that did not stop was the care work; despite their essential and invaluable work so that our society can advance, they do not have legally recognized the same rights as the rest of the salaried people “, denounces the person in charge of public policies of Oxfam Intermón, Liliana Marcos. “They lack essential labor rights such as unemployment benefit, collective bargaining or dismissal protection, as well as prevention of occupational hazards,” he recalls.
Essential in dependence
Oxfam Intermón calls for domestic workers to be taken into account when reinforcing the dependency system and that their rights be equated with those of other wage earners. “Some 85,000 are dedicated to take care of dependent people because the public system does not arrive “, due to the underinvestment in care for dependents and long-term care. If they went to work within the dependency system, the number of women working in home care would increase by 47%, he quantifies. For Liliana Marcos, “the dependency system rests on a mattress of cheap workers.”
The vulnerability of many workers means that the few rights that they have recognized are not even fulfilled. María, a 54-year-old Galician and now unemployed, explains to Oxfam that with the crisis working conditions have worsened: “It’s always worse. They abuse more. Now I’m out of work and I ask around: all jobs are uninsured, no contract, even in the care of children. If you want, fine and if not, they tell you: well, look, there are many women like that. ”
More workers in Madrid, less in the Canary Islands and Extremadura
In Spain, 5% of all female workers are domestic workers, but with large differences between regions. In the Community of Madrid they represent 7.5% of all female workers, while in the Canary Islands or Extremadura they are 2.9% and 2.8%, respectively.
The report explains that household employment is still considered as a “refuge sector” for Spanish employees in regions with less economic dynamism, although more than half are foreign workers. Of these, one in four – some 70,000 workers – are in an irregular situation.
Like Jessica Guzmán, a 53-year-old Chilean, 15 years working as an intern. “Society must understand that the inmates exist in each portal, in each house, and there is a great debt to us. Although we have need, we are not slaves, we are workers and we ask for the same rights. ”
According to Oxfam, three million households (16.2% of families) had expenses on housework and care in 2019 and 7,247 million euros were used to pay salaries and social security. “In countries where there is greater investment in public services, the number of domestic workers has collapsed and that of social service employees is on the rise. The figures speak for themselves: 28% of domestic workers in all the EU are in our country “, concludes the investigation.