Federal Labor Law
If you are a foreign worker in Mexico, you may find some of the laws and practices to be different from those in your home country. Mexico has strong laws protecting its workers.
In Mexico, Federal Labor Law regulates labor relations, labor unions and labor courts (Labor courts are all part of the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration). The law establishes basic rules such as minimum wage, the length of the work week, length of work days, overtime, etc. The law is Federal, but it is enforced in some cases by state officials.
Article 123 of Mexico´s Constitution guarantees worker rights as constitutional rights, and according to this law, every worker has, among others, the right to a safe workplace, the right to equal pay for equal work, the right to indemnity if he or she is hurt on the job, and the right to be free from forced labor.
There is a single court in every state that deals with most labor and employment disputes, including collective labor relations, unjustified terminations, on-the-job injuries and equal pay problems. Each court is called Junta de Conciliación y Arbitraje (Conciliation and Arbitration Board). There are also labor inspectors in Mexico who inspect the workplace to ensure that employers follow occupational safety and health requirements, as well as other standards and laws.
If you will be hiring employees or are considering getting a job in Mexico, the following concepts are important to understand:
Elements of Labor Law
Minimum wage (Salarios Mínimos): There is a published listing in Mexico of minimum wages for general and specific categories of work. The minimum wage varies depending on the economic region of the country. Mexico is divided into three general zones: A, B and C. Each city or geographic area fits into one of these three categories. For example, Mexico City is included in Zone A, the city of Monterrey is included in Zone B and the state of Yucatan is included in Zone C.
The Work Week (Semana Laboral): An employee can work a maximum of 48 hours per week without being paid overtime.
The Work Day (Jornada Laboral): For every 6 days of work (Monday through Saturday), employees are entitled to one day of rest with full pay. Therefore, when you hire a full time employee, you will be paying them for 7 days per week, not 6 days. When hiring in Mexico and deciding on a salary, it is important to keep in mind that you are hiring per week and not per day.
Work Shifts (Turnos): There are 3 work shifts in a Mexican work day:
- Day shift (eight hours)
- Night shift (seven hours)
- Mixed shift (7 1/2 hours). (The mixed shift is part day shift and part night shift.)
The hours worked that exceed these limits are considered to be overtime and must be paid as such. Overtime hours are to be paid double the hourly rate and cannot go over 9 hours per week.
Sunday Bonuses (Prima dominical): The preferred day of rest in Mexico is Sunday. Workers that are required to work on Sundays by law must receive a 25% bonus over their ordinary wage for that day.
Overtime (Horas Extras): Overtime hours (those hours over and above normal working shift hours) must be paid double. Hours worked over the allotted 9 overtime hours per week must be paid at triple the normal hourly wage. If the overtime hours fall on a holiday, they are to be paid at triple the hourly wage, even if they fall within the allowed nine overtime hours per week.
Salary (Salario): The law determines a minimum daily wage for every category of services in any given geographical area. The law also declares a minimum salary for each category of work, as well as a minimum increase after an annual salary review. Salaries vary depending of the type of work and the area of expertise. As anywhere, minimum salaries are not always a good reference when hiring specialized workers and should be taken as a rule of thumb and a number which the employer must not go below.
These are just a few of the laws and rules that any employee or employer in Mexico must be familiar with. If this subject is of interest to you, we encourage to learn more in our YES Employment Guide, downloadable in our Knowledge Store. The YES Employment Guide includes all the important aspects of employment in Mexico, both for a business and corporation AND for personal help such as housekeepers or albañiles. The YES Employment Guide covers the issues of hiring and firing employees, where to advertise for workers, what actions are valid justification for firing, acceptable firing practices, customs and laws for household help, and much more.
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