On 11 April 2023, Congress approved the law that reduces the working schedule from 45 to 40 hours per week. Its publication in the Official Gazette is pending, but this should occur within the next few days.
The most relevant aspects of this new law are summarized below. The law will mostly come into force gradually at different times. Below we indicate when the respective rules will come into effect.
- Duration. The length of the ordinary working schedule is reduced from 45 to 40 hours per week, which can be distributed in a minimum of four days (previously, the minimum was five) and a maximum of six days.
- Weekly average. With employee consent, the schedule can be distributed on the basis of a weekly average of 40 hours in a cycle of up to four weeks. The weekly schedule cannot exceed 45 hours, nor can there be two continuous weeks in the cycle with 45 hours. The parties must set up a calendar with the daily and weekly distribution in the cycle. Different distribution alternatives can be set up. The employer must inform the employee of the alternative to be applied in the following cycle, at least one week in advance. If there is a union, the weekly cap can be extended to 52 hours each week, but only with respect to union members.
- Gradual reduction. One year after publication of the law (2024) the weekly schedule will be reduced to 44 hours. At the third year (2026) it will be reduced to 42 hours. At the fifth year (2028) it will be reduced to 40 hours.
- Overtime. With employee consent, overtime can be used as additional vacation time – up to five working days per year. This rule will become effective within one year from publication of the law.
- Attendance control. The use of an electronic registration system is added as a time control measure (to the current attendance book and clock control). A Labor Bureau resolution will establish the general conditions and requirements. At the request of any company, the Labor Bureau will determine whether a customized electronic system complies with the conditions. This rule will become effective within one year from publication of the law.
- Exceptional schedules. These are special schedules authorized by the Labor Bureau in qualified cases. The new law provides that special schedules can be authorized where the average weekly hours in the cycle must not exceed 42 hours on average. Employees will be entitled to additional vacation days for days worked over the statutory average. These additional days can be compensated in cash. This rule will become effective the fifth year after publication of the law. The Ministry of Labor must issue a regulation (within six months of the publication of this law) in which it shall determine the limits and parameters for the distribution of exceptional schedules.
Workers Exempt from Weekly Schedule
- Article 22. These are the workers who due to their position are exempt from working hours and are not entitled to overtime. The new law restricts the number of exempt employees. The following cases are eliminated: workers rendering services to different employers; those hired to render services in their domicile or in another place freely determined by them; commission agents and insurance agents, traveling sale agents, collectors and similar who do not render services in the establishment of the company; and those who render services in their domicile or preferably outside the place of the company or using technological, computer or telecommunication means (teleworking). The only cases that will be excluded from the limitation of working hours will be: workers who render services as managers, administrators, representatives with administrative powers; and all those who work without immediate superior supervision due to the nature of the work performed.
- The new law also provides that in case of controversy and at the request of any of the parties, the respective Labor Inspector will decide whether the respective work falls under any of the exclusions.
- These rules will become effective within one year from the publication of the law.
- Working mothers and fathers of minors up to 12 years of age (and persons having personal care of them), are entitled to a total of a two-hour band, within which they may anticipate or delay the start of their work by up to one hour, which shall also determine the end time. If both parents are workers, either of them, at the election of the mother, can use this right. The employer cannot refuse except when the company operates on a schedule that does not allow the workday to be anticipated or postponed, or due to the nature of the services provided by the employee (for example, customer service work, emergency services, shift work, security guards or similar). In case of dispute, the Labor Inspector will resolve (at the request of either party).
- This rule will become effective within one year from the publication of the law.
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