On May 1st, 2019, – Labor Day commemoration in Mexico-, a decree was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) whereby it reforms, amends and repeals several provisions of the Federal Labor law, the Workers’ National Housing Fund Institute law and Social Security law; in matters of labor justice, union freedom, and collective bargaining.
Below are the main changes that, as the name of the decree indicates, are focused on providing greater labor justice, freedom of association for employees and awareness of the collective bargaining agreement they have, as well as fulfilling the commitments acquired by signing the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (TMEC) to guarantee minimum standards of employment conditions for workers in Mexico, which became effective as of May 2nd, 2019:
Changes in relation with the defense of workers’ rights:
Labor Conciliation and Arbitration Boards (court):
The Labor Conciliation and Arbitration Boards (Juntas de Conciliación y Arbitraje) disappear and, instead, new institutions and procedures are placed and created in connection with labor dispute resolutions, through the Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration.
The necessary local conciliation centers will be constituted, which will be decentralized public entities with their own legal personality and assets, with full technical, operational, budgetary, decision and management autonomy, which will be governed by the principles of certainty, independence, impartiality and transparency among others; and which must start operating within a maximum period of 3 years.
The decree provides that within 180 days after the publication in the DOF, the Federal Congress will enact the Organic Act of the Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration.
Sanctions will be updated for employees and/or employers who commit any act or behavior of discrimination, sexual harassment or harassment; as well as for employers that tolerate or allow this behavior in the workplace.
Derived from the previous paragraph, employers must implement, together with their employees, a protocol to prevent discrimination based on gender and to provide attention to cases of violence, harassment and/or sexual harassment, as well as eradicating forced and child labor.
In the cases where this sort of behavior is subjected to conciliation in labor courts and there is an imminent re-victimization risk; it shall be carried out by virtue of a representative or attorney-in-fact, to prevent the victim and the alleged perpetrator from being in the same place.
The new procedural rules are contemplated to expedite the ordinary labor procedure and to provide transparency to the parties involved.
Changes in matters of Unions and collective bargaining agreements
Part of this reform is to combat “white” unions, which were sometimes unknown to workers.
Employers must deliver their employees a printed copy of the collective bargaining agreement, whether the first version or the revision thereof (it must be revised at least once every four years) within 15 days after it is presented to the Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration.
This Decree also modifies the freedom of association regime: workers can freely decide if they want to be unionized and which Union they want to be part of; no person may be forced to join or leave a Union, or to vote in favor of a specific candidate.
The union directives must be elected by their members, by direct, personal, free and secret vote; additionally, they cannot be elected for an indefinite period.
At least 30% of employees must ratify the collective bargaining agreement and in turn, Unions must demonstrate that they represent that percentage of employees (Proof of Representativeness).
All members will have the right to be heard and to defend themselves if necessary.
New regime for workers
There is a new regime for domestic workers who provide cleaning, assistance and other services related to the home of a person or family; considering break time rights and also registering them in the Mexican Social Security Institute; the latter shall become effective once the necessary regulatory adjustments for the formal incorporation of domestic workers into the mandatory social security system are approved and become effective.
It is important to state that, currently, there are no amendments to the Outsourcing or labor subcontracting schemes.
If you have any doubts or comments, we recommend contacting your lawyer.