Mexico, one of the countries with the fewest vacations in Latin America, will double the days off from January 1. Among alive the worker and labor justice, the Chamber of Deputies has unanimously voted to increase them from six to a minimum of 12. After an intense discussion that in recent days came to divide Morena legislators, it has been agreed that at least 12 are continuous, except if the worker prefers to divide them. Although the reform has to return to the Senate for its final vote, the political parties have promised to do so next week so that it enters into force at the beginning of 2023.
The reform to the Federal Labor Law is one of the most anticipated of the legislature, after half a century without changes to the vacation regime. The increase in rest days has been possible thanks to an initiative presented in February by Movimiento Ciudadano and which quickly gained support from the entire political spectrum. The approved reform modifies article 76 of the law and proposes that workers with more than a year in a company enjoy 12 days, double the current ones. Thereafter, they will increase by two days for each year worked until reaching 20. After the fifth year in the company, two more days will be given for every five years of service.
In addition, there is a novelty regarding the original proposal approved by the Senate a month ago. At least 12 days will be continuous, but the deputies have given the possibility to the employee to divide that period if he prefers. “This period, at the discretion of the worker, may be distributed in the manner and time required,” reads the modified article 78. “It will be the power and exclusively the right of the workers to instruct the manner and the time,” declared Manuel Baldenebro, president of the Labor Commission and responsible for presenting the opinion, among cheers from other deputies. “Holidays are not a privilege, they are a human right!”
This last point has been the subject of a heated debate in recent weeks in the Chamber of Deputies, where the concerns of businessmen convinced some legislators. At first, the Labor Commission tweaked the Senate’s proposal to eliminate the obligation that at least 12 days be taken continuously. The modification proposed that six be continuous and that the way in which the rest was taken was subject to negotiation between employer and employees.
That unexpected addition divided Morena. The more moderate sector, led by Manuel Baldenebro, defended that the modification benefited small companies without enough personnel to cover the gaps. The wing furthest to the left, headed by the deputy and labor lawyer Susana Prieto, denounced that the change opened the doors to abuses by the employer and to conflicts that the employee had every appearance of losing.
In the end, pressured by a Senate opposed to the elimination of the 12 continuous days, both parties have reached an agreement hours before the vote in the Chamber. “Indeed, many doubts arose and not only among legislators from the Chamber of Deputies and Senators, but the doubts arise mainly from the working class,” Prieto said this Thursday during a press conference. “Labor law is a right that the worker has to take care of because he does not face an equal when he faces an employer.”
After passing through the Chamber of Deputies, the initiative will now return to the Senate. The political parties want the reform to be voted on and approved before December 15, when the session ends, so that it enters into force as of January 1. Movimiento Ciudadano senator Patricia Mercado, one of the promoters of the reform, has said that they promise to vote on it in the Senate next week and send it to the Executive branch for its promulgation. “We know that the publication will be before December 30, so that this great right begins on January 1 of next year,” she assured this Thursday at a press conference.
Vacation days in Mexico have not changed since the enactment of the Federal Labor Law in 1970. Until now, Mexican employees had fewer vacations than those of any neighboring country. There were six days of rest in the first year, compared to the recommendation of 18 days of the International Labor Organization (ILO). This made Mexico one of the countries with the most work in the OECD: 2,128 hours per year per employee, compared to the average of 1,716 for this group of countries.
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