President Alberto Fernández's government has launched a new plan to tackle informal labour and encourage citizens to register domestic workers with the authorities.
The 'Registradas' programme is aimed at "reducing informality" in the domestic help sector, contemplating the payment of up to half the wages of employees registered during the next six months, as from the start of October.
In a video launching the scheme, Women, Gender & Diversity Minister Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta assured that it was a programme for “economic recovery, job creation and social inclusion for workers in private homes,” which she defined as a “a historically female, precarious and undervalued sector even when we know that it is a fundamental task for sustaining life and the economy.”
“As an incentive towards formalisation, we in the state will be subsidising for six consecutive months 30 to 50 percent of every one of these workers dedicated to domestic help for over 12 hours weekly, if formally registered by their employers as from October 1,” declared the minister.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the government estimated that almost eight percent of the workforce are household workers, of which more than 90 percent are female.
The announcement was made by the official following a meeting with President Alberto Fernández in his Casa Rosada office, along with ministers Martín Guzmán (Economy) and Claudio Moroni (Labour), Banco Nación president Eduardo Hecker and AFIP tax bureau chief Mercedes Marcó del Pont.
In order to access the benefit, employers must earn less than the income tax floor (now a monthly 175,000 pesos) and must pay the rest of the wage, all pension and social security contributions and ART labour insurance.
The incentive will be half of net monthly pay, if the gross monthly earnings of the employer are below 70 percent of the income tax floor and 30 percent if between 70 and 100 percent of that tax floor.
To corroborate that the benefit reaches the worker directly, the state – working in collaboration with Banco Nación – will open a free salary account for each employee where the incentive will be deposited.
“We will control that employers deposit the rest of salary in that same account from now on,” sad Gómez Alcorta.
For her part, Marcó del Pont highlighted that this is an “incomes policy with formalisation and financial inclusion via a bank account,” given that “automatically upon receipt of the first month of pay, Banco Nación will extend a credit card with a limit similar to the minimum wage of up to 32,000 pesos.”
The government points out that the employees acceding to this programme will continue qualifying for child benefits, food cards, the Plan Progresar and Potenciar Trabajo programmes and other assistance policies.
Recover lost jobs
Mercedes D`Alessandro, the Economy Ministry’s national director for gender, told Radio Nacional in an interview Monday that around 90,000 women were expected to adhere to this plan, recognising that the maximum aspiration "was to recover the 300,000 jobs lost during the pandemic."
It is worth considering that this plan seeks both to generate registered employment and to create the conditions for women from middle and upper income groups to go out and work after "the fall in the workforce at all pay levels" registered in the framework of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Domestic labour is the third biggest source of female employment," indicated D'Alessandro, adding that before coronavirus arrived on the scene, it was second.
"The slump in employment during the pandemic was so great that it even changed the job make-up of women," added the Economy Ministry official, pointing out that unlike sectors such as construction and industry, domestic service "has not returned to pre-pandemic levels," due to other factors such as "restricted mobility, fear of contagion, falling incomes, the extension of home office and the fact that in general, it’s a very easy job to cut."
Details of the "Registradas" programme for domestic employees
- Programme designed to reduce informality in the sector of workers in private households, guaranteeing their access to and the permanence of registered employment.
- The national state will pay part of the worker’s wage for six months. Employers must register their workers, paying their pension and social security contributions, their ART labour insurance and the remainder of their salary.
- A free salary account will be opened in the name of the worker at Banco Nación and their pay transferred there.
- Employers must inscribe their workers in the AFIP web page, paying their ART, pension and social security contributions. Once the labour relationship is on board, the benefit can be processed.
- Workers should dedicate at least 12 hours weekly as declared by their employers to tasks within the categories “Personal for specific work,” ”Household work,” ”Assistance and care of persons” or “Personal for general tasks”
Registration in the programme must be requested by employers via the AFIP web page until December 31.
How much of worker pay will the state cover?
As officially informed, this will depend on the monthly income of the employers:
When gross monthly income is below 122,500 pesos, the transfer will be half the net monthly remuneration.
In cases when the income is between 122,500 and 175,000 pesos, it will be 30 percent of the net monthly remuneration.
Finally, AFIP reminds everybody concerned that in no case may the benefit exceed a monthly 15,000 pesos.
AFIP assures that "Registradas is compatible with AUH and Asignación Universal por Embarazo child benefits, the Tarjeta Alimentar food card and the Progresar and Potenciar Trabajo job assistance plans."