The Government has achieved by the minimum (168 yeses against 164 noes) the support of Parliament to consecrate an unprecedented cut in the pension of working women. The battle will now take place in the amendment period, after the royal decree to reduce the gender gap has been approved on the condition that it is processed as a bill. The main opposition parties have rejected the maternity supplement designed by Minister Escriva, although ERC’s abstention has finally facilitated the parliamentary path of the text. A decree that, however, has already been denounced before Brussels by the main associations of large families that consider that the new extra discriminates against women with more modest incomes with three children or more.
The PP has been very critical of the Government and has denounced the “unprecedented” cut hidden in a “hodgepodge” royal decree, in the words of popular deputy Tomas Cabezon. “Execute your first cut and you have started with the mothers,” Cabezon remarked to Escrivá. Also, the deputy of Vox Ines Maria Canizares has ironized about how “a feminist and progressive government cuts women’s pensions”, and about its cruelty with “women with more children, those who contribute the most to the demographic winter.” “They want to end the families,” said Canizares. From Ciudadanos, the deputy Sara Gimenez has criticized the benefit of some mothers at the expense of others and has opted “for policies that promote birth rates as a key element to guarantee the future of Spain.
At the end of last night, several groups that usually support the Executive in parliament, such as ERC or Bildu, were still not clear about their position in the face of today’s vote. The negotiations bore fruit with ERC, which has finally abstained – an action that has been expressly appreciated by the socialist Magdalena Valerio in her speech – even though yesterday she proposed to reject the text. Republicans have remarked in a plenary session that “it is not fair” to punish families with more children but have hoped to be able to improve the norm via amendments. And they have sent a clear message to the Executive in the face of future votes, “The rope can break as it has been about to happen today.” Bildu has also opted for abstention and has postponed the battle for improvements in the processing.
The Escriva reform burdens all mothers of large families with more than a thousand euros of pension, but women with four children who have contributed the most to the public coffers and receive a maximum pension from the system, now at 2,707 are particularly punished. gross euros per month (37,904.86 euros per year). Mothers who retire from now on and begin to receive the maternity supplement designed by the Government will see their supplementary benefit reduced by up to 73%. With the reform designed by the former Labor Minister, Fatima Banez, the supplement they would have received was close to 6,000 euros; with that of the Social Security holder, it will stay at 1,512 euros.
The new maternity supplement is a change compared to the one in force before last Thursday. In 2016, the PP Government launched aid for mothers with two or more children to correct the “historical discrimination” that women have suffered in Spain. This extra consisted of a 5% more benefit for mothers with two children; 10% when there were three children and in the case of four or more, this supplement reached up to 15%. Following European recommendations, the Social Security holder has generalized a new aid of 378 euros per year for each child, which will be received by both the father and the mother.
The additional benefit will be recognized in all types of pension – that is, in retirement, voluntary early retirement, permanent disability, and widowhood. The exception comes in the case of partial retirement. In the previous model, the supplement was not received by women who had retired early. In addition to PP and Vox, in the ‘no’ there has also been placed Citizens and strategic and preferred partners of Pedro Sanchez such as the PNV, which denounces the invasion of competencies that the measure hides both in pensions and in the Minimum Vital Income that, remember from the Basque group, he has not yet been transferred despite the transfer being agreed for last October. The possibility that the royal decree does not add the necessary yeses has been troubling the Ministry of Social Security all week, which held conversations with the groups to try to iron out differences and ensure smooth processing of the rule as a bill.
Criticisms from the opposition have also referred to the mode of negotiation that is characterizing Minister Escriva. Both the PP and the PNV have reproached him for the fact that a proposal like this has not passed through the Toledo Pact before and have warned the minister that this commission cannot be “the shield to make and unmake.” The PdeCat has positioned itself along the same lines, which has denounced how the royal decree has reached the chamber, uniting different matters to pose a moral debate to the groups.
And it is that this decree also includes flexibility in the requirements to access the Minimum Living Income (IVM), modifying the criterion of the unity of coexistence to facilitate access for vulnerable people.
According to Escriva, some 60,000 applications have been denied to households that met all the requirements except that of accrediting the coexistence unit, and with these changes, it is sought to expand to include more of them. The decree also includes the consideration of SARS-CoV-2 as an occupational disease for health and social health workers who in the exercise of their profession have been infected since the declaration of the international pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) until the lifting by the health authorities of all the preventive measures adopted to face the health crisis.