Covid-19. Ombudsman questions the Government on the impact of lay-offs and family support on the contribution career of workers and warns about the situation of unprotected unemployed people

The Ombudsman sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Social Security, in which she draws attention to the negative impact that the payment of exceptional family support is having on the contribution career of workers who were obliged to resort to this support in order to provide assistance to their children, under the age of 12, due to the closure of schools determined by the Government within the framework of the pandemic.

In both these situations, the workers saw their contribution careers affected – in which values were registered that were lower than the remunerations normally earned – and were consequently penalized in the amount of the social benefits to which they had access in the meantime. The around 50 complaints that the Ombudsman has received to date reveal penalizations in terms of risk pregnancy benefit, parental benefit, sickness benefit and unemployment benefit.

Given that this situation has remained unresolved since mid-2020, and given that the harm caused to beneficiaries is obvious, the Ombudsman therefore requests the Secretary of State to take urgent steps to regularize remuneration records by means of equivalence to the entry of contributions in relation to lay-off periods, under the terms established by law.
She also suggests that an appropriate measure be adopted to ensure the registration by equivalence of entry of contributions regarding the difference between the normal remuneration of the worker and the extraordinary family support paid to parents who, due to the suspension of school and non-teaching activities decreed by the Government in the context of the pandemic, were forced to take time off work to assist their children under the age of 12.
Finally, the Ombudsman drew attention to the situation of social unprotection in which beneficiaries of unemployment benefit whose periods of concession ended on 31/12/2020, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, beneficiaries whose unemployment benefit had ceased between 30/06/2020 and 30/12/2020 and who had not accessed the subsequent unemployment social benefit due to lack of means. On this issue, more than 20 complaints have been received to date.
To read the official letter click here [in Portuguese only].

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