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The Argentine Federal Ministry of Labor published Resolution 178/20 on Friday, March 6, which grants an “extraordinary leave” for employees of the public and private sectors who have returned from a trip abroad.

The Resolution raises more questions than answers to shape the main features of the leave:

  • It applies to every employee who has returned to Argentina from abroad and who voluntarily stays at home, following the Federal Ministry of Health’s recommendations amidst the Coronavirus outburst.
  • The Resolution’s goal is to comply with the health preventive measures set forth by said recommendations or with the applicable medical protocols and procedures, without an impact on the key employment conditions. This means that the leave shall not alter the regular payment of salaries or the additional pay items established by law or Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA).
  • The leave’s term shall not compute for other legal or CBA leaves which the employee may be entitled to.
  • The Resolution does not specify the effective date when the employee’s return to Argentina should have occurred to enable the employee to use the leave. It does not specify either the country where the employee must return from to enable the leave. This implies that the Resolution would apply without limitation, even if the employee visited a location with no or low presence of the virus, which seems excessive. By the reference the Resolution makes to the Ministry of Health’s recommendations, we understand it should apply to the same countries the recommendations do list. On the other hand, the leave shall not apply for domestic trips.
  • In essence, any leave implies that the employee be released from working during the leave’s term, which also seems excessive if the employee does not show symptoms or is not actually ill so as not to provide services, especially if the employer makes available all resources and tools for the employee to work remotely. This would also be contradictory with the Resolution’s mere preventive goals.

Matias Herrero is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Buenos Aires office. He routinely advises on a broad scope of employment matters, including executive and massive terminations, companies’ closing, local and international executive hirings, and employee compensation and benefits.