Minimum Working Conditions
Employers and employees are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment relationship. However, employees have various minimum rights under the law, regardless of any contrary language in their employment agreement.
An employee’s salary includes all amounts received by an employee in compensation for services rendered. Salary can be monetary or in kind, but the latter cannot be higher than 30% of the total amount received by the employee.
Maximum Working Week
The maximum working week is forty (40) hours calculated as an average over a yearly period. A collective agreement, or failing that, an agreement between the employer and employee representatives, may establish the irregular distribution of working time throughout the year.
As a general rule, overtime hours are of voluntary acceptance by employees, with exceptions made for specific individuals and an applicable collective agreement. Overtime hours can be compensated economically or with time for rest. If there is no agreement in this regard, it will be understood that the overtime hours must be compensated with resting time within the following four (4) months. According to statutory law, overtime cannot exceed eighty (80) hours per year. Those who have been compensated with periods of rest within the four (4) months following its completion will not be computed for this purpose.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
The employer shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the use of the workplace does not create risks to the health and safety of its employees or, if this is not possible, so that these risks are minimised. A company’s Health and Safety Committee is an internal body tasked with consulting on a regularly basis the company’s actions in the field of risk prevention, and it will be constituted in all companies or work centres that have 50 or more employees. The Committee will participate in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of risk prevention plans and programs in the company, as well as promote initiatives on preventive methods and procedures.
In addition to whistleblower regulations, employees can file complaints, either during or after employment. All actions and claims carried out by employees in defence of their rights are protected from any form of retaliation. Therefore, any claim registered internally or externally before third parties, will effectively serve to protect employees from retaliation. Retaliation can include any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, dismissal or salary reduction. The consequence of any action taken by the company with the intention of a reprisal will make it null and void.