Discrimination ends up with torrential labour benefits to Spain’s workers
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Discrimination ends up with torrential labour benefits to Spain’s domestic workers and carers!!!!


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Spain is to extend labour benefits to hundreds of thousands of domestic cleaners and carers, meaning they can no longer be dismissed without justification and they can claim unemployment benefits, the government said Tuesday. 


Karma takes a  close peek to see what does this mean?

The move came some six months after the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) said Spain was discriminating against domestic workers by failing to offer them social protections, with women overwhelmingly affected.

Spain is “settling a historic debt with domestic workers,” Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz said after the government approved a legal decree to end “discrimination” against them.

The reform means domestic cleaners and carers will be able to claim unemployment benefits, with employers required to make the relevant contributions as of October 1st.

It also means an employer can no longer dismiss a domestic worker without justification.

Domestic staff will also be covered by healthcare “protection” and will be able to access training to allow them to improve their “professional opportunities” and “working conditions”, said Díaz, a member of the Communist party.

The reform was unveiled in March by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government following the CJEU’s February ruling which found that the legislation which excluded domestic workers from unemployment benefits — “almost exclusively women” — was “contrary to EU law”.

In its findings, the court noted that “more than 95 percent” of domestic workers were female, meaning the proportion of women affected was “significantly higher” than men.

“Consequently, the national legislation places female workers at a particular disadvantage and thus gives rise to indirect discrimination on grounds of sex,” it said in its February 24th ruling.



Spain’s UGT union hailed the government’s decision as a “historic step forward” and vowed to keep fighting for domestic workers who are often “of foreign nationality”, notably from Latin America.

“Following years of struggle, domestic workers will be workers with rights,” said Carolina Vidal López of the CCOO union.

The decree will affect some 600,000 people working in that sector in Spain, the CCOO said.

But another 200,000 who are working in the black economy without an employment contract will not benefit from this reform, it added.


A long way to go: Spain’s domestics fight to end discrimination

For years, Aracely Sánchez went to work without counting her hours, always fearful she could lose her job from one day to the next.

They would always ask me to do more and more and more as if I were a machine,” she told AFP of her employers at a house in Madrid.

Within a collective of domestic workers, this 39-year-old Mexican has been trying to assert her basic rights to have time off every week, to be paid for working overtime, and to have unemployment cover.

There are employers who are very humane and who respect us, but there are many who try to take advantage of the situation,” she explained.

“They say: if the job doesn’t suit you, there are plenty more where you came from.”

According to the Workers Commission union (CCOO), nearly 600,000 women serve as domestic staff in Spain were taking them on for housework, cooking or childcare is widespread.

Of that number, nearly 200,000 are undeclared, working in the black economy without an employment contract.

Many of them come from Latin America and they don’t have papers and find themselves in a very vulnerable situation,” said Mari Cruz Vicente, the CCOO’s head of activism and employment.


The new rules for hiring a domestic worker in Spain’

Under the changes, dubbed by the government as “settling a historic debt”, domestic workers are now entitled to claim unemployment benefits and cannot be dismissed without justification.

They will also be covered by healthcare “protection” and be able to access training to improve their “professional opportunities” and job conditions

“This is a very important step forward,” said Vicente, while stressing the need to step up efforts to register those who are working without a contract and don’t benefit from the reform.

“This reform was very necessary,” said Constanza Cisneros of the Jeanneth Beltrán observatory which specializes in domestic workers’ rights.


Testimonials of home helper, Sanchez and Domestic Worker, Amalia where humanity failed them!

Mexican home help Sánchez has often experienced such abuses in more than two decades of employment.

In 2001, she arrived in Madrid to take up full-time employment caring for an elderly person for €350 a month.

She then spent the next 15 years working in short-term jobs, almost always without a contract, despite the fact she had a valid residency permit.

“When I said I wanted a contract, they never called me back. They didn’t want to pay contributions,” she said, describing her work as “undervalued” with domestic staff seen as “laborers” and not “as people”.

Amalia Caballero, a domestic worker from Ecuador, has had a very similar experience.

“We often finish very late, or they change our hours at the last minute assuming we’ll just fall in line. But we also have a life that we need to sort out,” said Caballero, 60.

She also talks about the “humiliations” often endured by those who live with their employers.

“One time, one of my bosses asked me why I showered every day. It was clear he thought (the hot water) was costing him too much money,” she told AFP.

“There’s still a long way to go,” she sighed, saying much domestic staff “have completed their studies” back home and even hold a degree.  “People need to recognize that,” she said.

“Our work needs to command greater respect, not least because it’s so necessary. Without staff to pick up the children, run the household and look after elderly people, what would families do?”



‘Exposing violations’ – Following a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) and pressure from the unions, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez adopted a reform this month aiming at ending the “discrimination” suffered by these workers.

Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz said the law would benefit more than 370,000 people, 95% of whom are women. She said the bill was intended to end discrimination against workers whose jobs have been undervalued for too long.

“If there is a job in our lives, what is important it is that of caring and cleaning, and for that reason, I think today the country is better off,” said Díaz.

In developed countries in Europe, the Government adopts reforms aimed at giving some kind of protection and rights to domestic workers, and comparatively, here in India, we also have the Domestic Workers (Registration, Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008  which was introduced much earlier to regulate payment and working conditions and check exploitation and trafficking of women and other young household workers.

In India, Domestic workers are in the unorganized sector and are very much unorganized, hence there are practical difficulties to cover them. Though applicable to both men and women, it assumes significance for women due to their presence in large numbers in the occupation. (Act is subjected to State legislation and therefore the State governs its implementation with the approval from the central) which is found to be challenging.

Many of these workers do not even receive the minimum wage and work extremely long hours and often do not get one day’s rest. According to a recent study  “Key findings from a survey of live-out domestic workers,  the monthly income reported by domestic workers on an average is very low.

The workers are slow to get recognition as workers and there are no laws and policies to regulate and protect workers employed in this sector.

Domestic workers are often exploited at the hands of the so-called placement agencies that lure workers from the rural areas to the cities, promising them lucrative salaries, lifestyles, and benefits.

Given this, in India, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, has acknowledged the importance of domestic work to households and the need to improve welfare and regulatory measures for promoting decent work for domestic workers. Also, for the very first time, domestic workers are  on the verge of  being recognized as workers in the Unorganized.

At the international level, domestic work is being recognized as “real” work and there have been many discussions at the International Labour Conference (ILO) to decide on an international Labour Convention for domestic work. Many countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, Philippines, Uruguay, Mali, Spain, France, Italy, and Switzerland, have labour laws or mechanisms to protect and promote rights of the domestic workers.

Karma has always taken deep interest and concern to take up causes both for the employers as well as the workers at the official level, at various forums, seminars, events, functions, and gatherings, willing to voice out its suggestions for improvement and give vital feedback to the authorities on the changes required from all sides, be it the Government, Employer, and Employee.

Karma will continue the good work of

  • Spreading  awareness amongst the domestic workers about the importance of the work that they do
  • Sensitize and create awareness amongst the household and general public  who employ domestic workers about the contribution of the domestic workers in their homes
  • Promote decent work for domestic workers and the respect that they deserve


Proprietory blog of Karma Global Tech Management Firm

This blog has been compiled by the internal staff of Karma with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, for its monthly newsletter Issue 04 of October  2022 in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the

Marketing Team – Kush@karmamgmt.com / yashika@karmamgmt.com

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