The Special Employment Centers (CEE) are companies that carry out enormous social work, since they provide work in Spain to almost 100,000 people with disabilities in Spain. Sin embargo, según CONACEE -Confederación Nacional de Centros Especiales de Empleo, su labor podría estar en riesgo si entra en vigor la nueva ley qu’para el Ministerio de Trabajo, una ley que, entre otras cosas, propone reducir las bonificaciones que reciben estas empresas in some cases. The president of CONACEE tells us how this bill hurts them and what other challenges the sector faces.
From CONACEE, you represent the sector -or a large part of it- of special employment centers (CEE). Explain to us, in broad strokes, what an EWC is and how it works.The Special Employment Centers appeared more than 40 years ago following the LISMI law of 1982. This law created the Special Employment Centers (CEE) with the idea that they serve as a gateway to ordinary companies and introduced for the first time the obligation of 2% of disabled people in companies with more than 50 employees. During these years the sector has evolved a lot and today the EWCs are companies, because over the years it has been shown that work is the best way for people with disabilities to integrate.
Are there different types of EWC?Until three or four years ago, the different types of EWC coexisted without any difference, but since then there has been a difference between entrepreneurial initiative centers and social initiative centers or “non-profit” centers , but that’s nonsense, because a nonprofit is not a business. And this, moreover, supposes discrimination, because there are advantages in contracting with the administration the companies that they call social initiative, when both what they want is to survive and that ‘it is necessary to seek profit, especially everything to be able to reinvest. And this is absurd, because the benefit of employment CEEs is practically nil, in addition to the fact that “non-profit” is very difficult to define. If I had to define “not-for-profit”, it would be for me to reinvest in the center itself, but if there is no system of control over where those profits are invested…I I would also establish a ratio of 1:5 between the person who earns the least in an EWC and the one who earns the most… so that there are more people working, which should be the priority.
Work is the best way for people with disabilities to integrate
How many are there in Spain?Currently, Spain has some 2,100 centers employing 114,000 people, including 98,000 with disabilities. Besides the fact that the workforce is made up of at least 70% disabled people, another thing that defines the EWC is the personal and social adjustment to which it is obliged with all workers.
In which sectors do they operate? Disabled people are generally associated with gardening, cleaning… Is that right?There’s not as much diversity as we’d like, really. It focuses a lot on the service sector, which unfortunately brings little added value to companies. One of the main objectives of CONACEE, along with training, is precisely to diversify into more innovative activities with a greater impact on the company’s profits.
At the moment we have a lot in what they call ‘facility’ services (garden cleaning…), but there are also centers dedicated to marketing, mailing, e-commerce, logistics, catering, recycling, waste treatment, electronic assembly of parts…
The work of these centers is to employ these people, but also to reintegrate them into ordinary centres. Usually occurs?It’s a difficult step… CONACEE proposed at one point that the CEEs should be ETTs for the disabled, which would make it easier to integrate disabled people into ordinary centres. But there is a problem that seems even more complicated to me, because, as companies, we cannot force a worker to go to an ordinary center because we would violate his fundamental rights, it is his right to stay there where it suits him best. In order to increase the number of people who transfer to ordinary companies, we also suggest the creation of a labor enclave, but this is a figure that borders on the illegal transfer of workers, and it cannot be done, c is very limited and ambiguous… That’s why we like it more the idea of being able to act as ETTs, to connect companies more easily, but that’s another struggle we are in.
On the one hand, we have a system that does not favor this transition at the legal level, and on the other hand, in general, disabled workers feel more at ease in these centres, especially if they are of indefinite duration. , where they have sick leave, their support, they feel more secure, he feels that in an ordinary company he cannot compete with the rest of the workers… he has no incentive to go to an ordinary company.
From the ADECCO Foundation, they told us that companies often struggle to find workers with disabilities. It’s like that?Yes, it happens sometimes, but because you have to take into account the type of disability the person has. For example, a person with an intellectual disability is not the same as a person with mobility or vision problems…each of them will have jobs that they cannot do or that the company must take into account. For example, a deaf person can’t work alone in a room, because if there’s an evacuation, someone has to notify them…and a lot of companies don’t take this kind of thing into account, they don’t don’t foresee them… it’s not easy. Y bueno, with veces, los perores enemigos de la insertion laboral de las personas con discapacidad son las propias familias, que los sobreprotegen… pero yo soy de la opinión de que las personas con discapacidad, a base de voluntad, pueden llevar a cabo casi Any job.
People with disabilities, at will, can perform almost any job
Given the importance of the work they do, they receive a lot of aid from the State in the form of levies, aid… but there is a draft law which may change their conditions a little. Can you explain to us what this reform consists of?One of the things that hurts us the most is that they want to reduce the social contribution bonus. Right now it’s fully subsidized, and what they’re proposing with this act is to subsidize a fixed amount, not the full fee. This amount, which is 366 euros, covers the contribution if the workers receive the current SMI. If they charge more or if the minimum wage increases, it implies a greater investment on the part of the company. This will have negative repercussions, both on the hiring and on the wages of workers, as it will discourage them from raising their wages.
Not to mention that if this system, which was working, goes bankrupt, these people stop working. If they don’t work, they have to get a pension, and paying a pension is more expensive than paying social contributions…
Indeed, it is calculated that for each euro that the State invests to subsidize the employment of disabled people, 2.5 go back to the State. This is why it is infinitely more interesting to invest, it is also a business for the State. It is not worth putting these jobs at risk, because they are also very stable jobs, EWCs rarely adjust staff or lay off staff.
This law is not something that only CONACEE does not agree with, neither does CERMI, nor do many communities, because it invades their powers.
For each euro invested in employment assistance for people with disabilities, the State donates 2.5
Another of their demands is that equal rights linked to total permanent incapacity for work be restored for people with 33% disabilities. How is it currently and how do you think it should be?This is another of the problems that are on the table with the draft bill and which are not understood… On the one hand, the government had considered a bill to consider the totally permanent handicapped as people with disabilities with 33% and yet they charge him with trafficking because he excludes them. For example, if a person, because he has an accident and this causes him a disability and loses his job, he must wait two years two years to be able to work in an EWC. that complicates things…
What are the main challenges for EWCs at the moment and what do we expect for the years to come?One of the big challenges is training, because normally people with disabilities have a lower level of training and this makes them compete in a large workforce under lower conditions and naturally influences when it comes to finding work. work. If they had better training, they would probably have better access to the mainstream market. All the studies show that the higher the academic level, the greater the integration into the ordinary market and the lower the pay gap.
And we also ask to have a specific agreement, adapted to the characteristics and needs of EWCs. At the moment, we are in agreement that we share residential centers, assistance centers, special education centers… although we have completely different characteristics. In this agreement, there is also the distinction that I mentioned earlier between community centers and business centres, which discriminates and means that people who work in these community centers earn 20% less than in a center business.
In fact, this is an issue that is before the Supreme Court because business centers are discriminated against in relation to association centers when it comes to accessing public tenders, as I mentioned at first.