Government finalizes details of the package of protectionist labor regulations as a gift to workers

Andere Indacochea – Partner
Jeannine Lozada – Associate

President Arce’s first May 1st is approaching and the Government has already announced that it will celebrate Labor Day in the Department of Santa Cruz with a “gift for workers”.

The first thing we must expect is the promulgation of a supreme decree corresponding to the wage increase and the new national minimum wage. Provisions that have been given since the Government of Evo Morales, but that as a result of COVID-19 pandemic last year, were not decreed. As reported, there are currently five working groups with the Government and the COB where 147 requests are discussed.

On the other hand, they once again placed on the discussion table the return of contributions in the AFP to the workers equivalent to 15%. As you will recall, President Arce sent a draft bill to deal with this regulation a while back.

Increasing to the speculation of said gift to the workers, days ago they socialized two draft bills of labor tenor. The first is PL-149-20 dated April 13, 2021 regarding the job stability of workers, which reinforces that unjustified dismissal and all forms of workplace harassment are prohibited, as provided in our State Constitution and related regulations. The interesting thing about this draft bill is that we see -as few times- that it mentions the State’s obligation to establish employment policies that prevent unemployment in order to guarantee decent work and fair remuneration for workers. With this, we see a recognition that the Government must work on public policies to reactivate the economy and guarantee jobs as well.

Regarding the substance of the regulation, the concepts included are those that we already know and have seen over time. For example: that workers cannot be fired, removed, transferred, impaired, reduced, without a clearly justified cause. Likewise, it talks about the prohibition of dismissals, declaring it null and void, having to pay salaries for the duration of the job separation and progress with administrative and / or judicial processes.

One point that we consider important to highlight about this draft is that the grounds for dismissal, according to the General Labor Law, must be supervised by the inspector of the Ministry of Labor, who has the power to issue a resolution regarding terminations. We believe that this could be an unnecessary additional bureaucratic process in case the worker accepts the termination, as determined by the norm. However, we know that, in departments such as La Paz, it is necessary to appear before a labor inspector to confirm acceptance of said termination of employment.

Finally, this draft bill, like Law 1309, determines the retroactive nature of the norm, and must be applied to March 10, 2020.

The second draft bill is intended to protect and guarantee the acquired rights of a worker. Something that to date was only mentioned in labor principles and jurisprudence. This project, unlike the first, does not suppose a retroactivity to the norm, if not the opposite; makes mention of the inalienable rights and benefits granted, the provisions that try to go against it being null and void.

The norm establishes that “the set of money that the worker receives, in any of its forms, manifestations or modalities, established by agreement or by national legislation, by written or verbal employment contract, commissions, overtime, night work, work on holidays, participation in benefits, monthly salary, biweekly, weekly, wage, commissions for work or production, a percentage, bonuses, snacks or legal and/or voluntary incentives freely agreed between employers and workers, in general all current remuneration received, without any exclusion.”

Undoubtedly the inclusion of protectionist labor regulations will continue as a protagonist in the treatment of the Legislative Assembly of our country, we will be attentive to the development and treatment of the draft laws announced previously in order to provide a more complete and detailed report of the same timely.