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    NewsLatin AmericaThe pressures of the bosses delay the approval of the increase in vacations in Congress

    The pressures of the bosses delay the approval of the increase in vacations in Congress

    Debate in the Chamber of Deputies, in October.Mario Jasso

    The increase in vacation days in Mexico is progressing slowly in Congress. The reform was approved by the Senate almost a month ago, but it is pending a vote in the Chamber of Deputies with no date yet. While the employers demand flexibility and a more gradual increase in vacations, a sector of Morena, the party of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has been receptive to some of the demands and is now committed to reviewing the initiative, which threatens to delay approval until next year.

    The reform is one of the most anticipated of the legislature. Mexico is the OECD country where the longest hours are worked, and the number of vacation days has not changed since the enactment of the Federal Labor Law in 1970. The new initiative proposes that workers who complete one year in a company have 12 days of vacation, instead of the current six. From then on, for each year worked they would add two days until reaching 20. The initiative, promoted by Movimiento Ciudadano and adopted by Morena, was approved unanimously in the Senate.

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    Despite the expectation that it would be approved in the Chamber of Deputies before December 15, when the legislative period ends, the reform has faced more resistance than in the Senate. The coordinator of the Morena deputies, Ignacio Mier, said a few days ago that the initiative needed a “review” to address the concerns of the private sector. “There are some sectors that have difficulties, especially for companies that are dedicated to the maquila. They are going to review it… ”, he stated at a press conference.

    The delays have aroused suspicion in the opposition. Movimiento Ciudadano deputy Sergio Barrera, one of the promoters of the initiative, declares himself “concerned” by Mier’s words and points to the lobbying of the Business Coordinating Council, headed by Francisco Cervantes, who attended the march called by the president this Sunday. “There is a group of businessmen close to Morena who want there to be modifications and seek to delay approval until the following year,” he accuses.

    The private sector has warned of the economic impact of the increase in vacations on small and medium-sized companies, with few personnel to fill the gaps. The Business Coordinating Council, the largest employers’ association in the country, estimates that labor costs would rise by up to 4%. To soften the blow, the employers propose that workers cannot take the days continuously and that the increase for those who have completed one year in a company be staggered: nine days in 2023 and increase them until reaching 12 in 2026 .

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    Faced with these demands, the president of the Labor Commission, Manuel Baldenebro, acknowledges in an interview with this newspaper that “voices from the employers’ sector are being heard,” but that he personally positions himself against staggering the increase. Regarding the possibility of taking the 12 days continuously or not, the PES deputy, an ally of Morena, says that he is in favor of “flexibility” if the workers request it, not the bosses. “That the workers have the power to take a few days here and others there, if there are emergency situations,” he says.

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    Barrera, from Movimiento Ciudadano, is also open to modifications, but affirms that this cannot be a pretext to stop the process. “For micro and small businesses, a special regime would have to be considered. For this reason, the initiative must be discussed, not frozen, ”he defends.

    While the internal discussion continues, the chances of the reform entering into force on January 1, 2023, as planned in the Senate opinion, are diminishing. The initiative will not be discussed in the regular session of the Working Committee on Wednesday. Baldenebro hopes to call an extraordinary session in the next 10 days so that there is time to vote on it in plenary session and return it to the Senate in case there are modifications. But the times, admits the deputy, are fair. “I hope it can be done before December 15, but it’s difficult because the agenda is very committed,” he says. “What I want is for it to come out by consensus.”

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