June 22, 20224:25 PM

Labor reform: thickening the bureaucracy

The problem with the labor reform law that the governor has just signed is that no matter how many benefits private companies offer, they will never be able to compete with the great advantages that the informal economy represents, which, combined with federal subsidies, make it a lot more attractive to stay at the margin.

Those who are already working as regular employees of a company are obviously favored by the changes decreed by Law 41. But as for the rest, it is false that it will attract thousands of workers to mitigate the labor shortage.

The problem with the labor reform law that the governor has just signed is that no matter how many benefits private companies offer, they will never be able to compete with the great advantages that the informal economy represents, according to Mayra Montero. (Xavier Araújo)

Forget reducing the monthly hours an employee needs to work to earn vacation or sick leave from 130 to 115. That is not going to move even a hair to those who defend themselves alone in the street, either in jobs of a legal nature —relatively, because they are not accountable to the state— or in missions of a criminal nature, of which there are many and very well paid.

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What does it matter to anyone who lives comfortably working at their convenience, without a boss or schedules, and receiving aid from the government (increasing, incidentally, the official statistics of the poverty line) that the trial period instead of being nine months be three?

What does it matter to him or her whether the Christmas bonus is six or ten percent, and whether he is eligible with 700 or 900 hours?

The degree of alienation in the Legislature and the governor's demagoguery reaches the point of ignoring issues as basic as the fact that, for those who have not joined the formal workforce, the benefit of the medical plan is not even an incentive.

In Ireland, for example, companies win over and “steal” qualified employees from each other, based primarily on health insurance benefits. Here there is the Reform or the Vital Plan, so health care is not exactly a hook to go looking for work in any company. On the other hand, thousands of people charge for their services in cash, and the last thing they want is to become payroll employees, to have to file returns and declare the same money they now receive from the side.

I insist: the problem is the informal economy and the subsidies, not what the private company offers or does not offer, which in that league will always be left behind.

Applicants for eight-hour jobs at a hardware store, an agricultural company, a supermarket, or a fast-food establishment are not going to arrive in masses. The argument of the governor, and of the legislators who promoted the law, that people are going to be very excited about the increase in mesada (allowance needed to be paid by law if the employee is laid-off), according to the years they have worked, slips those who earn twice as much with minimum effort, or sometimes with a lot of effort, but below the radar of the Treasury.

I already said that those who benefit are those who are already employed. The private company, and I add this in full conscience, cannot compete either with the fortune running everywhere product of money laundering. Believing that this reform solves the problem of labor is a reckless reduction, alienated, distanced from the phenomenon of the parallel world.

What is going to happen, write it down, is that entrepreneurs, large or small; merchants who will be affected in one way or another, will pass the blow to the consumer. That is not talked about. The governor did not mention it in his "vibrant" speech when signing the law. But it is something that cannot be avoided. The increase in the mesada, in the Christmas bonus or whatever, is going to be paid by the consumers in the can of sausages.

Note that I am not talking about what the Fiscal Board decides because regardless of that, the amendments to the new law contain a seed of tension between employees and employers. When the owner of a furniture store knows that he has to go to the Department of Labor, find a lawyer and explain the reasons why he fired an employee who mistreated a customer (to whom he said, for example, "If you saw this sofa cheaper in such a place, go and buy it there"), well, he will throw in the towel, I don't know in what way, but he will throw it away.

The labor reform, in short, is a thickening of the bureaucracy and does not consider the subterranean and powerful reality.

This piece was originally published in Spanish in  El Nuevo Dia


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