Panama: NO to Mandatory Rest Days Bill

The business sector opposes the bill that intends to stimulate the economy and local tourism, through the establishment of mandatory rest days and salary surcharges on the days of national events.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

This is Bill 487, which is called "Adopting a temporary regime of economic, cultural and national tourism stimulus, through the establishment of mandatory rest days and salary surcharges on national event days", which was presented to the Panamanian Assembly on September 28, 2020.

According to the initiative, a temporary Special Regime is established, for the Economic, Cultural and National Tourism Stimulus, which consists in the creation of the national event day.

"They will be national event days, the third Friday of the months of June, July, August, September and October of each year, in order to stimulate the economy, culture and national tourism. The days of national event will have specific denominations according to plans and programs that respond to public policies of the Tourism Authority of Panama and the Ministry of Culture" states one of the articles of the text.

According to Article 5 "... the work on the national event day for the workers of the companies described in Article 2 of this law, shall be paid with a surcharge of fifty (50%) and, as additional compensation, said rest shall be transferred to the Tuesday and Wednesday immediately following". See full text.

On February 17, 2021, the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep) issued a statement in which it expressed its opposition to this proposal. In the document, the trade union explains that this is an unfavorable measure, since the salary surcharges would affect the productive sector, which today is in an unfavorable situation due to the crisis.

The ideal would be to receive initiatives that allow the reactivation of jobs and the generation of new jobs, rather than new charges to operating costs and expenses.

Conep proposes the temporary reestablishment of the law of bridge days (a holiday in the middle of the work week, which is moved to the following Friday or Monday).



More on this topic

Labor Market: Bill Moves Forward

February 2021

In Panama, the first debate was approved in the first debate of the legislative project that intends to gradually reintegrate the employees to their companies, the same that have already restarted their activities and that in 2020 suspended labor contracts due to the crisis caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

The bill legalizing the gradual reintegration of suspended contract workers to their companies, which will be in force until the end of the year, has been pending in the National Assembly since February 8, after being submitted to the Presidency by the Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata.

Panama: Changes to Labor Code Approved

July 2020

The National Assembly approved in third debate the draft law establishing temporary employment protection measures in companies affected by covid-19.

The initiative presented by the Executive received several modifications in its original content, both in the first and second debate, leaving the deputies with the reservation that these are temporary rules and are not intended to a future reform of the Labor Code, the Assembly reported.

Green Light to Reduce Working Hours

July 2020

A decree was published in Panama authorizing the modification or temporary reduction of the working day, which due to the economic crisis generated by covid-19 may be reduced by up to 50%.

The new regulation establishes that the agreement to modify working hours must include methods to achieve the gradual recovery of working hours to the levels existing before the crisis and that they must not affect the hourly rate agreed in the current employment contract, reported the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development.

Proposal to Ban the Dismissal of Workers

March 2020

After a home quarantine was decreed in El Salvador, the government intends to prohibit the dismissal of employees who do not attend work.

In the context of the crisis generated by the spread of covid-19, a proposal is being discussed that establishes that the employees of companies that are not allowed to continue their activities should be sent home with their salaries and benefits, and that they cannot be subject to dismissal, salary discounts or suspension of contract, nor be forced to take their vacation in advance.

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