STA, 8 March 2021 - Women in the labour market are frequently faced with precarious work forms, discrimination, harassment, sexism and do a lot of unpaid work, trade unions have warned on International Women's Day.
Young people in particular, especially women, are more subjected to precarious work forms. About 80% of females aged between 15 and 25 have fixed-term employment contracts, while for men the share is under 60%, said Mladi Plus, a union representing young workers.
Poverty has become more widespread among young women, mainly due to high unemployment rate in this group and precarious work forms. The unemployment rate among women aged between 25 and 34 is about three percentage points higher than among men.
"Employers often expect them to go on maternity leave, to be on sick leave more often (to provide for children or elderly) and to put family life before their job," the unions said, noting that employers saw this as risky and potentially costly, so they did not hire women as much.
The access to services in elderly care is increasingly restricted rather than being expanded, which means more unpaid work for women because of socially determined roles, and more absence from the labour market.
The state is trying to tackle the issue of higher unemployment of women with tertiary education with subsidies for self-employed women, which seemingly reduced the unemployment rate but does not solve the problem, the union said.
It also pointed to allegations of discrimination and bullying at work. Women looking for a job are often discriminated against and employers sometimes demand that they sign a statement that they will not get pregnant in a certain period.
Women are also still discriminated against when it comes to pay - with the pay gap increasing from 3.3% in 2011 to 9.3% in 2018. In 2016, women in the EU on average received 16.2% lower pay than men.
Mladi Plus also pointed to some unacceptable demands by employers, for example in the hospitality sector, where women are sometimes required to wear short skirts and low-cut tops, and to sexual harassment in institutions that should provide for education and equal opportunities and rights for all.
The union also warned of poverty among older women, who receive lower pension than man because the had also received lower pay.
The Covid-19 epidemic has also hit women hard. Most women who have been absent from work during the epidemic have been on furlough and more women than men have lost their jobs since the start of the epidemic, official statistics shows.
"The measures adopted by governments harm women by deepening the differences between the sexes in terms of unemployment, household choirs and financial security," the union said.
Moreover, jobs that are most exposed to infections are dominated by women in the sectors such as healthcare, social protection, education.
The ZSSS trade union confederation has joined a campaign by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urging countries on 8 March to ratify the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against violence and harassment at work.
The union said that the epidemic had made the situation worse for women at work as well as at home, as domestic violence was also on the rise.
The ZSSS said it had called on the Labour Ministry and the government on several occasions to ratify the convention as soon as possible. This would place Slovenia among the first European countries to ratify it or start the ratification process, with Italy being the first one.
"It is the first international labour standard dealing with violence and harassment at work and envisaging efficient measures against it and victim protection," the ZSSS said.
The 8 March Institute, an NGO also warned of gender inequality on the labour market today, noting that the Covid-19 epidemic had aggravated inequalities as women took on the burden of home schooling and household chores, a survey conducted by the NGO has shown.
Particularly vulnerable are single mothers, said the coordinator of the survey, Mark J Užmah.
Tina Tomšič from the NGO said the most vulnerable group in Slovenia were single retired women, while self-employed women were also at risk because they could not go on maternity leave or take sick leave, which meant they did not enjoy labour rights.
A lot more data on women working in Slovenia is here