Minimum Working Conditions
Employees are entitled to a minimum wage that is adjusted from time to time. As from October 2019, the minimum mandatory wage is AR $16,875, currently equal to US $216.
However, the minimum wage is higher for employees under collective bargaining agreements, who are also granted periodic salary increases agreed upon by unions and chambers of industry and commerce. Part-time workers and internships can be paid a lower salary, provided that they comply with the legal requirements set forth for those relationships.
Employees are entitled to mandatory health coverage and a pension plan (funded through mandatory social security contributions by both employer and employee), paid vacations, 13th salary and maximum working hours. They are also entitled to paid sick leave. There are other compulsory leaves of absence on the grounds of childbirth, marriage, mourning or educational examinations. Applicable collective bargaining agreements also provide additional paid leaves.
A minimum wage has been established and is adjusted at intervals. However, said minimum wage is generally exceeded by the basic salaries established in the collective bargaining agreements. Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated by unions with the chambers that represent employers of each industry. The provisions of a particular collective bargaining agreement are mandatory by law and regulated by law. A particular collective bargaining agreement is applicable to all employees working in activities such as industrial, commerce, health and other sectors. In general, employees who work as managers, supervisors or in other hierarchy positions are excluded from the legal framework of the collective bargaining agreement. The consent of the employee is not necessary, since they are automatically included in the collective bargaining agreement just for working in a company under a particular agreement. Collective bargaining agreements usually provide benefits to employees on top of what is provided for under Argentine labour and employment laws.
Maximum Working Week
The normal working hours for employees and workers are limited to 8 per day or 48 per week. Night shift and unhealthy work provide reduced working hours.
Overtime is paid at a rate of 50% of the normal pay, unless it is worked on Saturdays after 1 P.M., Sundays and holidays, in which case it is paid at a rate of 100% of the normal pay. Applicable collective bargaining agreements may provide higher payments. Overtime must not exceed 3 hours per day, 30 hours a month and 200 hours a year. All employees are entitled to overtime pay, except corporate directors or corporate managers, registered as such before the Office of Corporations (Register of Commerce). Part-time employees cannot perform overtime work.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Employers are obliged to grant mandatory life insurance and working accident insurance to employees. Employers are also obliged to provide a healthy and safe workplace (both physical and psychological), in compliance with the labour authorities’ instructions, as well as the working insurance instructions. Employers in certain industries, must provide employees with work clothes, working tools and protection equipment, and must have preventative measures in place to prevent accidents and perform regular medical examinations.
Considering the exceptional emergency context due to COVID-19, the companies currently operating from their establishments/offices must have in place, a hygiene and safety protocol to ensure that employees are working safely and to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.
Such protocols include, among other issues, the control of access of employees and suppliers, maintaining the distance between employees, defining specific personal protection items (face masks or even clothing, depending on the situation) and having an isolation protocol for suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
On 12 August 2020, the Work Risk Superintendence through Disposition 16/2020, approved the “General Protocol for the Prevention of COVID- 19 – Guidelines for a Gradual and Responsible Return to Work” (the “General Protocol”), stating that employers must not only follow the recommendations included therein, but may also complement such guidelines with relevant measures, considering the particularities of the processes involved in the tasks performed in each establishment. The General Protocol (in line with the “Ten Steps for a Safe and Healthy Return to Work Tool” published by the International Labour Organisation) provides minimum preventive measures for the planning by the employers, together with the relevant work union, for the return to work. Such measures involve setting up information systems, instituting action protocols, providing awareness regarding care, the obligation to provide information, provisions for adequate personal protection equipment and the adoption of engineering controls.
Major risk sectors, such as health services, were not addressed in the General Protocol. The General Protocol sets forth that employers and unions will be responsible for the dissemination of the information contained therein, and compelling employees to comply with all measures adopted by the employer in line with the General Protocol. The foregoing, regardless of any measure implemented by the sanitation authorities, local work agencies, protocols agreed to between employer’s chambers and unions or other recommendations of the Work Risk Superintendence.
Employees may file a petition before the union and/or the labour authorities complaining about the breach of health and safety obligations by employer. The labour authorities may inspect the workplace at any time and order the employer to remedy any breach and impose fines.