Reduction of Working Hours in Mexico, What Are the Pros and Cons?

For two days and until tomorrow, September 22, the reduction of the working day in Mexico has been debated in the Chamber of Deputies. Many questions arise such as when it will come into force and what are its implications. Here we explain .

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LatinAmerican Post

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Leer en español: Análisis: Reducción de jornada laboral en México, ¿cuáles son los pros y contras?

The reduction of the working day to 40 hours per week is part of the reform to the Federal Labor Law of the government of Manuel López Obrador. The reform aims, among other things, to reduce the working day from 48 to 40 hours.

The reform of this law will be debated between September 18 and 22 (all this week) in the Chamber of Deputies.

Background of the reform

Before this reform to the Federal Labor Law was presented, the last achievement of workers in Mexico would have been decent vacations. Since January of this year, private sector workers must enjoy, regardless of their length of service, vacations of 12 days a year.

Although this was an achievement for workers, even with this reform that came into effect at the beginning of this year, Mexico is below the average vacation for workers in the region, which is 15 days. The International Labor Organization (ILO), however, recommends giving workers 18 days of vacation per year.

Pros and cons of reducing working hours

On average, a Mexican works around 2,255 hours a year, almost double that of the average worker in European countries such as Germany or Denmark. This, together with studies carried out in European corporations, has shown that a reduction in working hours does not necessarily reduce productivity.

There are those who have gone so far as to affirm that, on the contrary, it increases it. This would be because workers have more time for themselves and to cultivate their creativity in other areas outside of work.

Read also: Infographic: Working Day, is it Feasible to Work Only 4 Days?

Those in favor of the reform also argue that by avoiding worker exhaustion, reducing the working day can be beneficial not only for their well-being but also for the effectiveness and profitability of companies.

However, there are those who argue that a reduction in working hours may primarily affect small and medium-sized businesses, which would require more employees for their operation. In addition, there are also those who claim that in the long term salaries may tend to go down, which would greatly affect workers, who are the ones the reform wants to benefit.

What is the panorama of the working day in Latin America?

Indeed, Mexico is one of the countries in the region with the longest working hours: 48 hours. These days are also valid in Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. However, in the latter there is a plan to gradually reduce the working day per year.

In other countries such as Brazil, El Salvador and Guatemala, the work day is a little shorter: 44 hours. And finally, in economies such as Ecuador, Chile and some Caribbean islands, the working day is already close to that of European economies: 40 hours a week.

48 hours a week is, in effect, the maximum limit established by the ILO in its working time recommendations.

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