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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Pregnancy in pre-war times [machine translation]

Date Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:45:39 +0200

"Capitalism also depends on homework" - feminist graphic art from 1983. ---- A few weeks ago, my client's accountant joked on the phone "Well, now you must work at full steam". In this innocent food, there was a proper recommendation for me and all other pre-cutters on garbage that became pregnant: if you are expecting a child and you work on civil law contracts and you are entitled to maternity benefit (do you have any - see below), it will be counted only from one contract of mandate. So work as much as possible in this job before delivery, because it depends on how much you and your toddler will live for another year. The tip is quite contrary to what doctors and midwives recommend (rest, and above all avoiding stress), but well, human well-being and the economy of exploitation (women) ... This economy also means hundreds of thousands of women working in garbage, often making several contracts, commissioning and work within a month, to somehow "sew" the monthly budget. Just like me.

But let's start from the beginning: In June last year, it turned out that I was pregnant. It was not planned, but we decided that it would be ok - a new stage in life. Among the many different questions came to me also, for what I will live after the birth of the child, since I will not be able to work earning. The answer was not obvious, because I work on junks - contracts for a job or for a work. I prepare and conduct trainings and workshops (orders), write articles (work), sometimes I carry out social research (orders, work).

Within a month, the amount for which you can live as a whole is accumulated, although this type of work is not "eldorado" at all. I do, and most of all, experience the majority of definitional features of the precariat[1]:

* job insecurity resulting from the lack of long-term employment contracts and protection against loss of employment;

* lack or limited possibility to use employee rights and benefits, including non-financial benefits (eg sick leave, health insurance, reimbursed by the employer, travel costs to the workplace), which are usually available or have a broader scope in the case of permanent employees working on contracts of employment and full-time employment;

* uncertainty and instability of working conditions. This area includes variable and unpredictable working hours, variable scope of duties to be performed by an employee / employee, unpredictable amount of income, uncertainty of receiving remuneration, unknown length of employment;

* lack or limited possibility of belonging and acting in trade unions.

All these elements intensify and take on a new dimension for the pre-woman who expects a child. Questions arise - will the client want to continue working after he finds out I'm pregnant? Will I, under the pretext, not sever the current contract, depriving me of the right to benefit (and it is worth adding that maternity benefit is only granted to those precariat employees who have current employment on the day of birth, while in the case of women employed under a contract of employment, even if the contract was concluded for a definite period and formally ends before the day of termination, the employer can not release a woman after the third month of pregnancy)? Where I will be working on my return to work - after all, my "job" will not be waiting for me, because in the case of contracts, the order simply does not have this concept? And the key question - what will I live for while I'm dealing with a child? And only to this topic I wanted to devote this text.

Well, it turns out that our legislation in the following way "surrounds" the mother on the garbage:

* You are entitled to maternity benefit only if you have provided a personal statement every month with your personal data indicating that you are deciding to take out voluntary sickness insurance. This is the basis for calculating and paying maternity benefit (first 20 weeks), then parental (another 32 weeks) based on your income from the last 12 months before childbirth (or a shorter period if you have worked fewer months on a given job, however not less than 90 days). Only what is the awareness of this regulation among women? How many of us know what consequences entail applying / not applying for voluntary sickness insurance, which is a relatively small part of the gross remuneration (2.45% of the gross amount on the contract).

* If you have not volunteered for voluntary health insurance, you are probably entitled to the so-called kosiniakowe, a kind of social maternity benefit in a "knock-down" amount of PLN 1,000 for a period of 12 months from the birth of a child. To illustrate the size of this amount - disposable diapers from the "average shelf" monthly cost about 120-140 zlotys , a private visit to a children's orthopedist - from 120 zlotys to 300 zlotys. And this allowance is to secure all the needs of both the child and the mother.

* If you have volunteered for sickness insurance, you are entitled to maternity benefit only for one contract of mandate.

What does it mean in practice for pregnant pre-retriees that perform a few orders per month for different clients? This means that even if you worked on 10 different contracts, each 1000 zlotys and you would earn 10,000 zlotys a month, the maternity allowance counts only from one of them (ie it is calculated from the amount of 1000 zlotys).

A jak to bylo u mnie? Dzieki edukacji wewnatrzzwiazkowej (dziekuje za poradnik "Umowa o prace - kiedy masz do niej prawo i dlaczego jest dla Ciebie lepsza od umów cywilnoprawnych") wiedzialam, ze chce oplacac dobrowolna skladke chorobowa. Tylko dzieki temu i mojej wiedzy o prawach pracowniczych przysluguje mi dzis zasilek macierzynski. Nie zmienia to jednak faktu, ze moglam go odprowadzac tylko od jednej umowy zlecenie. Jednoczesnie musialam zrezygnowac z innych przychodów, które nie liczyly mi sie do wyliczenia zasilku. Dzis nie wiem, czy potencjalni zleceniodawcy po mojej kilkukrotnej odmowie podjecia sie pracy kiedykolwiek jeszcze zadzwonia do mnie.

In addition, because my pay was dependent on the number of hours actually worked - I should work as much as possible and as hard as possible to work out the largest possible amount of benefit. Only how to work "in full swing", because I slept 13 hours a day for part of the first trimester of pregnancy (I slept - I felt guilty that I was not making the norm, and if I did not sleep, I supported myself with my nose). Or how to make up the prescribed number of hours, if in the third trimester it was difficult for me to conduct training due to the literal body slackness and frequency of urination. To this day, I wonder how much this contributed to my premature birth, between one and the other day of training.

As a result of this history, my feminist awareness has enriched with new experience. I have the unquestionable conviction that for the rulers who set the "rules of the game" the slogan of caring for women and their children is just a threadbare slogan. The case of the systemic exclusion of women working on several garbage at the same time is just one of many aspects of this mechanism, masked by the culture of gentlemen who respect women. Meanwhile, I - and I have the impression that I'm not alone in this - instead of giving way to me on the bus or minister's assurances, as the women admires, I would really prefer those PLN 1000 more for honestly worked work. I received my first maternity benefit a week ago, because I have been looking after a new little man for a short time - by a establishment seen only in terms of a future taxpayer, a real Polish woman.

Magdalena Chustecka, Commission of the Workers in Non-governmental Organizations of the OZZ IP

[1]- Based on "From precarious work to decent work: jobs and employment to employment", the International Labor Office, the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV), the International Labor Organization, Geneva, 2012; Guy Standing, "Precariat. New dangerous class ", transl. Pawel Kaczmarski, Mateusz Karolak (Theoretical Practice), Bloomsbury Academic, 2011; Jan Sowa, "Precariat - the proletariat of the era of globalization",[in:]J. Sokolowska (ed.), Workers leave their jobs, Lódz 2010

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