ARGENTINA

Country Profile



Facts & Figures

Some discrepancy exists between the figures reported by different sources.

About 5% of the population in Argentina are immigrants, and 30% of working migrant women in Argentina are employed in paid domestic work (a large percentage in comparison with the number of national women employed in paid domestic work, which reaches about 12%).¹ Migrants are therefore overrepresented in the domestic economic sector. The rate of formality amongst migrant domestic workers in the country is considered relatively high, with 41.1% of them possessing social security.²

One of the most important migratory corridors in Latin America is the Paraguay-Argentina one. In all of Argentina there are approximately 1,2 million domestic workers, and about 100.000 of them come from Paraguay, the largest group of foreign residents in Argentina.³ 8 in every 10 Paraguayan women migrate for economic reasons, in search of labor, and most of them are young (70% are under 29 years old) and come from primarily impoverished or rural zones.4 They tend to choose Argentina as a destination country due to its geographical proximity and easy access, given the free transit migratory policy between the countries, and for the economic and social opportunities that they hope to find there.5

RESOURCES

INFORMATIVE PASSPORT FOR MDW

The ILO created an informative passport for private household migrant workers, containing general information on Argentina, migratory and labor rights and legislation, among other useful information for anyone considering going to Argentina to work in a private household.

UPACP - DOMESTIC WORKERS' UNION

The Unión del Personal Auxiliar de Casas Particulares (U.P.A.C.P) is a labor union in Argentina that includes all workers of private households. They provide many services, such as legal advice, information, and professional formation workshops. Among the useful information that can be found in their website, there is a guide for employees which contains several short videos explaining different rights, including migrant rights, and covering topics such as regularization and gender violence. A similar guide is also available for employers, explaining their duties and responsibilities and how to fulfill them.

PROGRAMA REGISTRADAS

The "registradas" program, created by the Ministry of Labor, Work and Social Security, aims at reducing informality in the domestic work sector, guaranteeing their rights and financial inclusion. It gives incentives to employers to formalize their contracts by paying part of the domestic worker's salary for 6 months.*

*Registration for this program is open until December 31, 2021

Legal Framework

Migrant domestic workers' rights have gained significant improvements in the past decades, in large part due to the efforts of labor unions and support of international organizations such as the ILO. The main achievements in this field are the following:

LAW 25.871 - MIGRATION POLICY

Since 2004, Argentina has adopted a migration law that considerably improved migrant workers' rights in Argentina, establishing the principles of equality, non-discrimination and a regulatory procedure that allowed for the regularization of many Paraguayan domestic workers.6

The country's current legal framework grants all migrants from Mercosur (Common Market of the South) the same labor and social rights as those of Argentinian citizens.7 The law establishes the state's obligation to assure equal access to immigrants and their families to the same conditions of rights and protections as granted to nationals, highlighting areas such as social services, education, justice and work. It also states that migrant workers entering the country to work for 3 years (extendable), or Mercosur nationals authorized to enter the country for 2 years (extendable), will be considered "temporary residents".8


Some of the rights of migrants contained in this law include the equality of treatment and non-discrimination (Art. 6), education (Art. 7), Health (Art. 8), family reunification (Art. 10), participation in public life and local communities' administration (Art. 11), and fair processing and legal aid (Art. 61, 70, 86).9

LAW 26.844 - DOMESTIC SERVICE

Law 26.844 was adopted in 2013, regulating domestic service and advancing domestic workers' rights as equal to those of other workers. It applies to all forms of domestic work in private households (including caregivers).

This law thus establishes that domestic workers have labor rights such as maternity leave, paid vacations, it limits working hours to a maximum of 8 per day and 48 per week, and sets the minimum working age at 16 years old, prohibiting the work of minors and protecting teenage workers between the ages of 16-18 with a shorter work week of 36 hours and forbids those under 18 years old to live with their employers.10 It also institutes a national commission for work in private households (CNCTP), the normative power which fixates domestic workers' minimum wage.11

ILO C189 - DOMESTIC WORKERS CONVENTION

Argentina is one of the 35 countries that have ratified the ILO C189 convention. Domestic workers' unions such as the UPACP, who pushed for the recognition of domestic workers' rights, used the convention as a tool to achieve the promulgation of law 26.844 in 2013, with Argentina only ratifying the convention in 2014.

ILO C190 - VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

Argentina has also ratified in 2021 the ILO Convention 190, the "Violence and Harassment Convention", and it will enter into force in the country in February 2022. According to an UPACP representative interviewed by MDWinfo, the ratification of this convention is an important mark for domestic workers in Argentina, as these workers unfortunately suffer from not only labor violence but also domestic violence in the sector. It is therefore important to also use this Convention as a tool for the national law on violence, in order to have both the international convention and the national law protecting domestic workers against violence and harassment in the country.

ISSUES

The legal framework present in Argentina has helped fight the stigmatization of domestic workers, recognizing their labor and granting them the same status and rights as workers of other sectors. However, migrant domestic workers still face many challenges and vulnerabilities. This was made visible especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed these workers to high risks of unemployment, health risks, and administrative sanctions or even deportation for those who were forced by their employers to breach the isolation decree imposed by the government.12

Although much progress has been achieved, the fight for the proper implementation of this legal framework is still ongoing, taken up primarily by domestic workers' unions, with a focus currently on increasing the formalization of workers in the sector.

Future Prospects

According to the UPACP representative, the current main objectives in the fight for all domestic workers' rights in Argentina, including migrants, are, in no particular order: to continue with registration campaigns, and for migrant domestic workers in specific to accompany them in their registration process and providing help with all that is needed to ensure their proper documentation; to support workers with regards to violence and harassment complaints; and to continue working with the states and other organizations to increase registration rates and keep advancing domestic workers' rights.

SOURCES

  1. Valenzuela, M. E., M. L. Scuro e I. Vaca Trigo. (2020). “Desigualdad, crisis de los cuidados y migración del trabajo doméstico remunerado en América Latina”, serie Asuntos de Género, N° 158 (LC/TS.2020/179), Santiago, Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/46537/1/S2000799_es.pdf.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Nueva ley ofrece nueva vida a los trabajadores domésticos migrantes". (2014, December 16). International Labor Organisation (ILO). https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_329286/lang--es/index.htm.
  4. Poblete, Lorena. (2018). "The influence of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay". International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations. 34. 177-201.
  5. Valenzuela, M. E., M. L. Scuro e I. Vaca Trigo. (2020). “Desigualdad, crisis de los cuidados y migración del trabajo doméstico remunerado en América Latina”, serie Asuntos de Género, N° 158 (LC/TS.2020/179), Santiago, Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/46537/1/S2000799_es.pdf.
  6. "Nueva ley ofrece nueva vida a los trabajadores domésticos migrantes". (2014, December 16). International Labor Organisation (ILO). https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_329286/lang--es/index.htm.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Gobierno de Argentina. (2004, january 21). "Ley 25.871". https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/ley-25871-92016/actualizacion.
  9. Messina, Giuseppe M. (2015). "Inserción de las trabajadoras domésticas paraguayas a partir de las reformas laborales y migratorias en Argentina." Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT). http://www.oit.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---ilo-buenos_aires/documents/publication/wcms_361956.pdf.
  10. "Nueva ley ofrece nueva vida a los trabajadores domésticos migrantes". (2014, December 16). International Labor Organisation (ILO). https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_329286/lang--es/index.htm.
  11. Gobierno de Argentina. (2013, December 04). "Ley 26.844". https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/ley-25871-92016/actualizacion.
  12. Jaramillo Fonnegra, Verónica, and Carolina Rosas. (2021). "Domestic Workers in Argentina Ten Years after C189". Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. https://www.rosalux.de/en/news/id/44464/domestic-workers-in-argentina-ten-years-after-c189?cHash=7d1b3219d967d1dd966c7837d1b2e25c.