Note from BW of Brazil: Working conditions and rights are very important issues that measure the progress of Brazil in terms of how it treats its citizens and workers. Back in April we covered the enactment of a new law that granted Brazil’s domestic workers extended rights that for many years were ignored by their employers. For many, working conditions and condescending attitudes of employers toward their domestics were reminiscent of Brazil’s 350 year long history of slavery. Although this law was a long fought battle, many studies show that there are still areas of work rights that need to be addressed if Brazil is to ever be considered a “first world” country. And, as shouldn’t come as a surprise, there is inequality of work rights that can be measured accorded to race/color. In Brazil, millions of workers work without an official work contract that would guarantee them certain benefits on the job. Working with a signed work card in Brazil is somewhat similar to working “under the table” in the US. Here’s how Agência Brasil broke it down.
Majority of black women work without a signed work card
Overall, 36% of pretos (blacks) and pardos (browns) work without a card
Isabela Vieira, Agencia Brasil
Unregistered workers do not have benefits such as unemployment insurance and maternity leave
Black women (pretas and pardas) are in a worse situation in the labor market than white women, reveals the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics or IBGE), showing that they are the majority of informal workers.
The research entitled Síntese dos Indicadores Sociais (Synthesis of Social Indicators) 2009 highlights that while half of preta (black) (54.1%) and parda (brown)(60%) women work without a contract, and therefore, not being entitled to benefits such as unemployment insurance and maternity leave, the percentage for white women in the same position is 44%.
The situation contrasts with the fact that “a most vulnerable type of family,” according to the document, is women without spouses with young children, whose percentage for preta women is is 23.3% and 25.9% for parda women. Families in these conditions with white women accounted for 17.7% of the total.
According to the IBGE, the less favorable situation of black women is a function of education and income. “When we consulted the lowest incomes, the majority declared themselves pretas or pardas. There is a striking correlation between education, income and color,” explained lead researcher, Ana Lúcia Sabóia.
Of the total population, informality is higher among the youngest and oldest. Among those 16-24 years of age, it is 69.2% and among those with more than 60 years of age, 82.2%. According to research, the two segments concentrated the people with the most difficulty getting jobs.
“In the case of younger (women), it may also be the difficulty of reconciling work and school, and in the case of the elderly, the retired and pensioners returning to the job market,” says the text.
Regarding the position at work, the synthesis highlights that whites were 6.1% of employers, while 1.7% were preto and 2.8% pardo. The black population working without a card was 17.4% among pretos and 18.9% among pardos. Among whites, the percentage was 13.8%.