Less than a month. The Secretary of State for Labor, Joaquín Pérez Rey, has advanced this Thursday that the Ministry headed by Yolanda Díaz intends to approve the decree law with the right to unemployment of domestic and care workers this July. The rule will also expand other rights for this group of workers, especially women and many migrants, and to whom the European justice recognized that Spain was discriminating for excluding unemployment protection.
Spain ratifies the ILO Convention 189 that extends the labor rights of domestic workers
“Our purpose is to approve it in July,” Joaquín Pérez Rey responded to journalists, at the end of a meeting between the Ministry and the majority unions (CCOO and UGT) on this issue.
The ‘number two’ of Yolanda Díaz in Labor has pointed out that the intention of the Ministry is that the rule can be approved “before the last Council of Ministers” prior to the summer break. “This historical discrimination must be remedied,” Pérez Rey repeated.
There are currently just over 550,000 domestic workers in Spain, according to EPA data, of which almost 400,000 are registered with Social Security.
Groups of domestic workers have been denouncing for years their vulnerability by not being able to access unemployment, a fact that not only harms them when they do not have a job, but also leads them in many cases to endure situations of great precariousness and even exploitation for fear of staying without any income.
“Immediate” effects to access unemployment
To questions about when unemployment protection will be effective for these workers, the Secretary of State for Labor explained that “the calendar is immediate.” Thus, the intention of Labor is to approve the royal decree law in the month of July and that “these rights come into force immediately.”
Domestic workers celebrated this June a historic event for their struggle: Spain’s ratification of Convention 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). This international agreement requires the equality of rights of this group with other workers, a situation that now has to be legislated.
Joaquín Pérez Rey has acknowledged that there are some “technical elements that need to be polished” in Social Security and public employment services and that they represent a “challenge” for the implementation of unemployment protection for these workers.
The person in charge of Labor has recalled that this group has never previously been related to the SEPE, except with the temporary subsidy that the Government approved for them during the pandemic, which is a challenge to launch this benefit for the first time. On that occasion, the workers took a few months to receive the first payments.
Unemployment and other rights
The Vice President and Minister of Labor has already announced that the decree law will not only regulate access to unemployment for domestic workers, but also other rights that these employees and other wage earners do not have today. For example, access to FOGASA to protect them against non-payment of compensation and unpaid wages.
The Secretary of State for Labor mentioned this Thursday that the rule will also address the inclusion of female workers in the prevention of occupational risks and it is planned to “establish a mechanism that adequately protects them against dismissal.” In domestic employment there is a formula for dismissal without cause, cheaper, known as “withdrawal”, which is also another focus of struggle of the groups of workers.
The Government also intends to include “necessary stimuli so that female workers are not harmed in their jobs”, added Joaquín Pérez Rey. The Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, has explained that his ministry foresees measures to even relieve families of the increase in the payment of social contributions by adding unemployment coverage.