The Government initiates the procedure to recognize the right of domestic workers to receive unemployment benefits | Economy

The Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, this Monday in Madrid.
The Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, this Monday in Madrid.Isabel Infantes (Europa Press)

Domestic workers are one step closer to being eligible for unemployment benefits. The Government has agreed this Tuesday, in the Council of Ministers, to ratify Convention 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), where this claim is recognized, and send it to the Cortes Generales to begin the process of regularizing the standard. With it, the group of domestic workers would be equated with the rest of the workers in terms of labor protection, which would allow them to collect unemployment benefits once their activity is over, something that the General Social Security Law (LGSS) does not allow. “It is a matter of justice, and something more: the fulfillment of our commitments and the confirmation that the path of labor rights, undertaken by this Government, will never again leave domestic workers behind”, said the vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz.

The ratification of this agreement in the Cortes Generales is the first step in the adaptation of labor regulations that have recently been classified as discriminatory by the justice system. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considered in a judgment published in February that the labor regime for domestic workers is contrary to community law for not recognizing the right to unemployment for this group, made up almost exclusively of women (more than 9 out of 10), assuming indirect discrimination based on sex. This pronouncement came after the consultation of a Vigo court, which immediately recognized the right of a Galician worker to contribute for her work, and therefore, to receive an unemployment benefit.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Social Security, in March there were 378,466 people affiliated with the Special System for Domestic Employees; a figure that the unions put at 200,000 more people, who are the ones who work without any recognition, and, therefore, in an underground way. In addition, it is a group highly dependent on the interprofessional minimum wage, according to Labor, and in which a large part of immigrant workers are housed.

Article 6 of Convention 189 states that “the State that ratifies it must adopt measures to ensure that domestic workers, like other workers in general, enjoy fair employment conditions and decent working conditions, as well as, if they reside in the home they work for, decent living conditions that respect their privacy.” At the same time, it also recognizes “the importance of the contribution of domestic work to the world economy, despite which it is undervalued and affects a particularly vulnerable group, especially women and girls and migrants.”

Legislative adjustments

“Today we advance in the ratification of ILO Convention 189 for domestic workers. An impulse to equalize their rights and put an end to the unjust situation they live in. Thanks to all of them for promoting this progress that makes us a better country”, Ione Belarra, Minister of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, congratulated herself on social networks. The Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, considered, for her part, this ratification as “an element of justice”, a way to “correct the system”, which deprived this group of the right to unemployment.

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The reverse of European justice has forced Spain to remodel the LGSS, in which it is argued that in order to access unemployment benefits it is necessary to have previously contributed for said contingency, which in turn is vetoed for the group of employees of home. That is why the demands in this regard have been aimed at revoking this veto, in order to subsequently claim the right to access unemployment benefits.

With the Government’s decision, a procedure is initiated that will require a regulatory change that, however, will prevent those workers who are currently unemployed from collecting the benefit. Even so, sources from the Ministry of Labor acknowledge that the legislative adjustments required to adapt to the international framework “are already in process.”

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