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News Article

Independent Journalists Will Get Access to Social Security

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 06/14/2022 - 17:29

The need to ensure social protection for all workers is one of the challenges that must be urgently tackled by modern economies. Mexico is extending its social security benefits to self-employed workers, including journalists.

The rise of more diverse forms of employment has highlighted a key challenge of ensuring adequate social protection for workers in non-standard forms of employment and for self-employed workers . This challenge became evident among those who lacked social protection during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. These workers struggled the most in terms of access to healthcare and income.

In Mexico, the employment rate for salaried workers fell 4.8 percent in 2020 but increased by 6.6 percent in 2021. Self-employed jobs contracted by 12.8 percent in 2020 but recovered by 14.7 percent last year, reported El Economista.

Self-employed journalists face a highly challenging situation, as they are a highly vulnerable group in the country. Mexico is the deadliest country for journalists, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists. Just in the first few weeks of 2022, five journalists were killed. Others continue to face daily threats linked both to organized crime groups and to government officials.

In the wake of protests, calls to action and complaints, the government recently launched a proposal to regularize the employment of Mexico’s over 6,000 independent journalists who do not have access to minimum healthcare, occupational risk or retirement services. The government is proposing that journalists have access to five insurances as part of the mandatory social security regime.

The first is illness and maternity insurance, which gives access to medical, pharmaceutical and hospital care for the insured person and their families, as well as payment for disability due to illness. The second is work risk insurance, which gives access to medical, pharmaceutical and hospital care, rehabilitation, prosthetics or orthoses, disability payments in the case of work-related accidents or illness and, if applicable, a pension.

The third insurance is disability and life insurance, which gives access to a pension in case of disability for the insured and for the legal beneficiaries. The fourth is a retirement or unemployment insurance in advanced age that will be managed by the Ministry of Interior and the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS). The fifth is childcare and social benefits insurance, enabling access to childcare centers, sports and cultural entertainment activities at IMSS facilities.

During a morning press conference, government officials announced that journalists could register at http://imss.gob.mx/periodistas-por-cuenta-propia and benefits will be available starting on Aug. 1, 2022. Based on a calculation of the minimum wage for communication workers, the government committed to contribute MX$2,139 (US$104.51) per month to the account of each journalist to pay for medical services and to fund a pension.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst