Domestic workers took a step towards labor equality with a new Colombian government mandate requiring employers to make mandatory social security contributions.
In accordance with the mandate, employers of domestic workers must pay a contribution of four percent of the employee’s monthly salary, which cannot be below the legal minimum wage, to the Family Compensation System (SCF). The SCF provides affiliates with various services, such as housing and unemployment benefits.
“All domestic workers will be able to enjoy decent working conditions and fair employment, ensuring that these workers enjoy terms no less favorable than the terms applicable to workers in general with regard to the protection of social security, including those relating to the motherhood,” Labor Minister Rafael Pardo explained.
The enforcement of the new mandate will be undertaken by the Superintendency of Family Subsidies, which will take steps to enforce compliance.
According to the 2013 report, “Income Inequality and Poverty in Colombia,” individuals with “less education, working part-time or in the informal sector [such as domestic servants]” suffer from the largest gender gaps in wage distribution.
“Given the over-representation of women in the informal sector, policies that tackle informality in the labour market will also reduce gender disparities,” the report stated.
As part of the social security system, the government requires most formal workers in Colombia to affiliate with private benefits providers, such as “Comfenalco,” which offer reduced rates on health care, credit, and recreation.
“We signed a decree which obligates domestic workers to affiliate… to receive all the benefits,” President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted.
In March, the first domestic laborers union was created for women of Afro-Colombian descent. Maria Roa, a woman who had worked long hours for little pay for five years, founded the Union of Domestic Service Workers with the goal of guaranteeing social benefits and overtime pay for its small but growing constituency.
A study of 182 Afro-Colombian domestic servants working in Medellin homes found that 88% had nothing more than a verbal contract, 70% had no health care affiliation, and 61% earned less than the minimum wage.
- Empleadas domesticas deberan estar afiliadas a una Caja de Compensacion (Noticias UNO)
- Empleadores tendran que afiliar a trabajadores del servicio domestico a Cajas de Compensacion (Mintrabajo.gov.co)
- Gobierno reglamenta afiliacion de trabajadores del servicio domestico al Sistema de Compensacion Familiar (Presidencia)
- Income Inequality and Poverty in Colombia
- Sindicato de empleadas domesticas en Medellin (El Tiempo)