The idea was to approve the reform on March 8, return to the origin of the International Women’s Day and honor the workers killed in the United States in the struggle for the recognition of their labor human rights. The goal of Household employees in Mexico was to get all the benefits of social security. The first was not achieved and the second, partially. Even so, the opinion endorsed yesterday by the Senate largely compensates for the inequality against domestic workers.

Unanimously, the senators yesterday approved a historic reform: the registration of domestic workers to the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS). Once the Chamber of Deputies also endorses it, employers will not be able to evade this duty.

“Three years ago we reformed the Federal Labor Law (LFT) in this legislature. It was one of the first actions we undertook, that they be recognized for what they are: workers” and, therefore, they have the same rights as the rest of the working population in the country, recalled Senator Patricia Mercado Castro (Citizen Movement).

The reform modifies the Social Security Law (LSS) and incorporates chapter XI called “Household Workers”, which includes articles 239 A to 239 I. the different modalities in which they work: from entry to exit in a single home or in different ones, or living in the house where they work.

It also integrates the five protections that the IMSS has obligatorily granted to the rest of the workers: sickness and maternity insurance; work risks; disability and life; retirement, unemployment in advanced age and old age and childcare and social benefits.

The reform includes some of the proposals and demands of the organized employees, as well as academics and activists who participated in the open parliament on November 24, 2021. However, an inspection mechanism to verify compliance with the affiliation was not defined, as well as the safety and health standards at work, and the sanctions for those who violate these regulations.

And one of the great pending issues, and on which the Support and Training Center for Domestic Employees (CACEH) and the National Union of Domestic Workers (Sinactraho) have insisted, is the lack of access to a credit from the Institute of the National Workers’ Housing Fund (Infonavit).

The right to housing It is “the next great fight that we will have to give”, accepted Patricia Mercado. In her speech, the feminist legislator, who has been one of the main allies of the domestic workers’ movement, did not evoke the textile workers murdered in New York at the beginning of the last century. March 8 already seemed distant.

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But he did bring to the rostrum of the Senate of the Republic the memory of a domestic worker murdered by her partner. Thanks to the fact that she was enrolled in the IMSS pilot program, her children were insured after the femicide. With this unfortunate fact, which she condemned, she explained that social security is not limited to health services or to the registered employee. Her benefit “is expansive towards protection measures, which in this case was towards her children.”

Less than half remain affiliated

The opinion of the united commissions of Labor and Social Welfare, for Gender Equality and Second Legislative Studies was listed to be voted on in plenary last March 8. However, shortly before the demonstrations began to commemorate the International Women’s Day in the streets of Mexico City, the board of directors adjourned the session.

The next day, the 9th, the agenda also contemplated this initiative, but the necessary quorum was not achieved. The senators joined the women’s unemployment in protest against inequality and violence in the different spheres of public and private life. With this they also demonstrated that without their presence the legislative process stops.

Before the pandemic, more than 2.4 million people worked in domestic work. But the latest figures from the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE) indicate that only 2.2 million are still active in this sector, one of the sectors that were most affected. Of these, 98% work informally.

The reform proposal was built based on the results report of the first phase of the pilot program that the IMSS launched in April 2019, whose rules were modified in a second phase. According to the document, the majority of the workers (65%) are native and work in the central and northern areas of the country. The greatest migration occurs in the south, from there they move to the center, mainly, and to the north.

Although according to the ENOE nine out of 10 are womens, 67% of household employees are women and 33% are men, according to information from the institute itself. This confirms that it is more difficult for women to enter formality.

Since the program began, “they have joined 80,150 different people for at least a month”, states the opinion. As of January of this year, only 43,373 were still affiliated and 38,777 were no longer. That is, 48% have not remained in social security and its benefits.

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What does the reform say to the LSS?

The reform proposes to define who is a domestic worker. Article 239-A of the LSS of the project establishes that “it is the one that performs activities of care, cleaning, assistance or any other activity inherent to the home within the framework of an employment relationship that does not provide economic benefit for the employer. direct”.

Article 239-C indicates that whoever hires a domestic worker has the inherent obligation to register and register it with IMSS since you start working. Whoever requests the labor force of these women must carry out the procedure, this also applies in the event that the worker works with different people, each one must do their own thing.

You must also retain the labor quota to include it in the payment. Once the first contribution has been made, the coverage will start immediately “and until the last day of the corresponding calendar month”. For the following, the payment will be in advance, that is, the insurance will begin the month after the IMSS has received the contribution.

To avoid forgetting, to make it easier and to guarantee the permanence of female workers in social security, the fees may be paid in a monthly, bimonthly biannual or annual.

However, for workers to have coverage for the entire month, the amount of the installments must be equivalent to the value of the minimum contribution base salary integrated from Mexico City. “Otherwise, the domestic worker will be covered for the days that she or the employers reported.”

This is a requirement that is not required of the rest of the working population, “so it is discriminatory,” Sinactraho said on February 23, before the opinion was approved in commissions. This condition “would make inapplicable the social Security in most of the Republic, where there is enormous social and economic disparity,” he said in a statement.

The option given by the IMSS in the face of this problem is that people who do not meet the required minimum wage and wish to have access to social security can do so through the pilot program for independent working people which the institution also operates.

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