Key aspects of Mexico's labor reform to increase vacation days

The labor reform could go into force as early as 2023, but it will not apply retrospectively; it will place Mexico in the middle of the regional pack.

Key aspects of Mexico's labor reform to increase vacation days
Increases in vacation time and other key provisions of Mexico's labor reform. Photo by Jixel / Unsplash

The Labor and Social Security Commission of the Senate of the Republic approved a rule that will increase the amount of vacation time for Mexican workers from the current 6 days to a total of 12 days, starting from the first full year worked. How is the legislative process going? What do you need to do to start enjoying them now? Who will benefit, how many days will you get, and will it be backdated?

What does it consist of and how many vacations are involved?

The opinion brought together five proposals on the same subject but contained variants. A consensus was reached that workers with more than one year of service in a single company will have 12 days of paid vacation. Each additional year of work will increase the rest period by 2 days until it reaches 20. However, after the sixth year of service in the same company, the vacation period will increase by two days for every five years of service, so it could reach 32 days a year after 31 years of work.

What remains to be approved?

In the Senate, the Second Legislative Studies Committee, which has just changed its chairmanship and technical secretariat, must still rule on the bill, which is why the document was not ruled on at the same time. Once it has been ruled on by this group, it will be sent to the Senate's board of directors to schedule its vote in the legislative plenary.

This could be postponed until the second week of October since the priority next week will be the vote on the participation of the armed forces in security tasks and the appearance of the Chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard, on the occasion of the 4th Government Report.

When the plenary approves the opinion, it will be sent to the Chamber of Deputies. If the Chamber approves it without changes, it will be sent to the Executive and, after the opinion of the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare (STyPS), it will be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) for its entry into force. However, if the deputies make changes, the Senate will have to analyze them and, if necessary, approve them.

When will it become effective?

It is expected to become effective at the beginning of 2023 if there are no changes. If the deputies change the minutes, the Senate could analyze these modifications until the next ordinary period, from February to April, which would delay their entry into force until after the completion of this procedure.

Will it be retroactive?

Senator Patricia Mercado Castro, of Movimiento Ciudadano, and one of the proponents, explains the details. Even when the reform goes into effect, "it will not be retroactive".

"If in 2023 it goes into effect and a person who worked one year already took his 6 days of vacation, that person cannot say you owe me another 6 (to enjoy 12 days)."

But once the reforms come into effect, that person, when he/she completes his/her the second year of work, "would jump from 6 (that he/she already took) to 14 that he/she will receive" for his/her second year of work and would begin to accumulate 2 per year from the following annuities.

If a person is just taking his/her first vacation period, he/she will be entitled to 12 days for the year worked if the reform goes into effect, and will accrue two days per year. In such cases, every 5 years accumulated, they will be entitled to another two years. From 31 to 35 years of age, the worker would already have 32 years of vacation and would already be in the process of retirement.

What requirements must be met?

Two: that employment, and therefore the accumulation of seniority, be in the same company. The company must be within the formalities since this is the one that must guarantee the paid vacations and this will be enforceable by law.

What if I work for the government?

This reform does not apply because workers in the service of the state from the first year of work already accumulate 20 days of vacation, a benefit they have enjoyed since the 1960s. If they work for 6 months in the government, they are entitled to 20 days of vacation. If they work for six months continuously, they enjoy two vacation periods.

Vacations in Mexico

Articles 76 to 81 of the Federal Labor Law establish the right to vacation for workers. But today it is established that in the first year of service they will enjoy 6 days of vacation. For each year it increases by two years until reaching 12 when the fourth year of work is reached.

After the fourth year, the vacation period will increase by two days for every five years of service, and the maximum is 24 days of rest when 30 to 34 years of uninterrupted work have been completed. But there are no punishments in place right now if an employer doesn't give vacation time.

Are vacations paid?

Yes, according to Article 80 of the aforementioned Law, vacation premiums are paid. During the employee's vacation, the employer has to pay a premium equal to 25% of the employee's salary.

What are vacations like in other countries?

In terms of vacations, Mexico is at the bottom: in Cuba, Panama, or Nicaragua, they are 30 days from the first year of work. In Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia, it is 15 days of vacation after the first year of work, and that is the average for the region. The world average is 20 days, but Great Britain and Northern Ireland are in the first place, with 28 days.

Mexico is below both thresholds, as it is among the nations with less than 9 days of vacation after the first working year, hence it compares with China, Nigeria, Uganda, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. However, there are nations with fewer vacation days as there is no employer obligation in the United States, Micronesia, Tonga, and Kiribati.

What advantages are expected?

Senator Mercado Castro states that the objective is for Mexican workers to be able to disconnect, de-stress, visit their families, or engage in recreational activities. Therefore, the expected impact is to reduce work stress, improve the health of workers, and reactivate the economy by traveling or consuming recreational services.