Employment law of the Dominican Republic
The labour laws of the Dominican Republic are of public order and, therefore, are mandatory. An employer can extend benefits beyond the established provisions.
However, it is prohibited to include terms that are less favorable to an employee, nor can an employee waive any right set by the law, for his protection.
Dominican Republic labour laws protect employees. Some basic principles provided by law will govern any employment relationship in the Dominican Republic.
The most relevant principles are:
- Prevalence of the facts: in determining the labour consequences, the pertinent facts surrounding an employment relationship will prevail over the official documents.
- Prohibition of harmful changes: employers are prevented from introducing changes in employment conditions that are harmful to employees, regardless of whether the employee has previously consented to the change.
- Joint responsibility (a group of companies): companies that belong to a group of legal entities under the same control, direction or management are jointly responsible for the obligations of any company belonging to that group, concerning labour relations.
- The labour laws of the Dominican Republic are pro-employee and seek to safeguard employees’ rights. They establish norms that regulate working conditions and hours of work and demand compensation for dismissal without just cause.
- Labour laws in the Dominican Republic are comprised of public order provisions, which cannot be ruled out or repealed by any covenant included in any contract. Consequently, the Dominican Republic’s labour laws will apply – and the labour courts will have jurisdiction – concerning any eventual labour claim brought before the courts regarding work performed in the Dominican Republic.
- Employees are entitled to a thirteenth salary or Christmas salary, payable no later than 20 December of each year.
- The employer can only change the employment conditions if these changes do not alter the employment contract’s basic terms and do not harm the employee.
- The jobs are at will, which means that either party can terminate the employment contract without cause, subject to prior mandatory notice and compensation, where applicable.
- The Labour Code assumes, as a general principle, that an employment contract has been executed for an indefinite period, unless the particular nature or type of service to be rendered requires an employment contract for a specific job or term.
- Among others, all workers have the following rights: freedom of association, social security, collective bargaining, respect for their physical capacity, and the right to privacy and personal dignity.
- The Labour Code prohibits all kinds of discrimination in access to employment or during the provision of a service.
- The law recognises the workers’ right to strike, provided that such rights are exercised according to the law.
- Employers must guarantee their workers’ health, hygiene and safety conditions and a work environment where their fundamental rights are respected.
- Equal pay is guaranteed for work of equal value, without gender or other form of discrimination, and under the same conditions of capacity, efficiency and seniority.