August 8, 2020

Unemployment protection, the main demand for domestic workers



Equating the working conditions of the 407,677 employees of the household with those of other workers is the challenge facing the next government, which must find before 2021 a solution to the main problem, implement their protection for unemployment.

End the job precariousness of domestic workers, the only regime that does not enjoy unemployment protection, among other things, is one of the workhorses of the unions, which also denounce the wrongs against a collective composed of 95% by women and, mostly, immigrants.

Since it was created in 2012, the special system of domestic employees continues to have its own characteristics that differentiate it from the General Scheme, with which it should have been fully equated on January 1, 2019.

However, and in the absence of progress, the State's general budgets for 2018 included an amendment to the PP with which the deadline for full comparison was extended to 2023, although the current Government subsequently cut the transitory period to 2021.

Currently, the special system of household employees has a rate of contribution for common contingencies of 28.3% (23.6% by the employer and 4.7% by the employee) and one by contingencies 1.5% professionals, exclusively from the employer.

Its equalization with the general scheme would imply, in addition to the obligation to pay for unemployment (to 7.05%, of which 5.5% are paid by the employer and 1.55% of the employee), also by the Fogasa (0.2% paid by the employer) and by professional training (0.7%, of which 0.6% are paid by the employer and 0.1% by the worker).

Also, once it enters into force, the Social Security contribution will be carried out based on the real income of the worker and not taking into account salary ranges, as at present.

But unemployment protection is, in addition to the main obstacle, one of the requirements for the Government to sign the Convention 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on domestic employment, which has already been ratified by 25 countries such as Germany, Italy or Portugal. , and that is a demand of unions and opposition.

With the aim of developing a social and labor regulation for domestic employees and articulating their protection for unemployment, the Government and social agents have formed a working group in recent months, which is paralyzed after the call for elections.

According to Efe, the General Director of Social Security Planning, Borja Suárez, covering this type of unemployment situation requires taking into account the characteristics of the area in which the activity takes place, which is the family.

Suarez states that it is necessary to study the characteristics that differentiate it from the general regime to cover other situations such as, for example, in the event of the death of the employer, when there would be "an objective situation that would justify some type of protection".

Another difference is the generalization of employment by hours, which could be solved, as explained by the Secretary of Labor Protection and Public Policies of CCOO, Carlos Bravo, adapting the unemployment protection that is recognized in the contract model to part time.

Another possibility would be to implement a specific system for the sector, just as at the time the cessation of activity was designed for self-employed workers, says the head of the Immigration Department of UGT, Ana María Corral.

And it is that giving unemployment coverage to domestic workers would also help to stop irregular employment, explains Efe Bravo, because "for women workers, if they have unemployment coverage, the incentive to register is greater."

For Suarez, tackling fraud in the sector is "an extremely complicated matter", because it takes place in the homes of the families and escapes the control of the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate, a situation that also recognizes trade unions, which advocate for encouraging and raising awareness among families.

Thus, the head of Labor Protection of CCOO advocates maintaining the current incentives (reduction of the 20% quota for the employer, which is extended with a bonus of up to 45% in case of large family), something that for Suarez is "reasonable" to maintain for "some time", although it will depend on the government that is in each moment.

In addition, Bravo considers it necessary to improve the information because employers have to know that having a person employed at home without discharge, besides being illegal, involves a high risk for employer and employee, because the responsibility, for example, if there is an accident of work, "can be very hard".

According to Efe the president of the union of Inspectors of Labor and Social Security, Ana Ercoreca, having a domestic worker working at home without being discharged is considered a serious infraction (with fines from 3,126 to 10,000 euros) or very serious ( from 10,000 to 187,515 euros) if the worker is receiving a pension or benefit incompatible with work.

Another issue to address, for Corral, is the dismissal as a way to terminate a contract and the development of a table of professional categories with the remuneration depending on the activity performed: purely domestic tasks, care of children, seniors, dependents or accompaniment.

María Vicente

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