The laws and rights that govern employment in Argentina are primarily the Argentine Constitution, international treaties, the Employment Contract Law, several federal statutes and collective bargaining agreements. The federal government may enact employment and labor legislation to all provinces in Argentina as specified in the Argentine Constitution. These employment laws are enforced by the National Ministry of Labor.
The provisions of the Employment Contract Law (Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, LCT) applies to all employees in the private sector (excluding agricultural and domestic workers). The labor laws specify the minimum standards that employees are entitled to and employers must adhere to, applying to all contracts entered into within Argentine territory, regardless of nationality or location.
Key Factors to Consider When Employing in Argentina:
There are no legal formalities required to enter into an employment relationship, although a written form of offer letter may better define the terms of the agreement. Once an employment contract has been created, the employee is legally entitled to certain rights. Most contracts are assumed to last for an indefinite term unless specified otherwise in the contract. Once an employment contract has been entered into, the employer has an obligation to register any employment relationships in a Special Payroll Book, subject to periodic supervision by the Ministry of Labor.
There are alternatives to the indefinite term contract, which sometimes require a written agreement to specify special arrangements. These include:
- Probation periods – The first ninety days of all indefinite term employment contracts is the probationary period, where the employee may be discharged without just cause and no further payments with 15 days’ notice.
- Fixed-term contracts – These contracts are uncommon and only apply in situations where the term of contract is fixed and certain, between one month and five years’ set employment duration. The contract may be renewed every five years, although are seen unfavorably in court. Termination of a fixed-term contracts are entitled to 50% of the indemnity for payments to indefinite term employees terminated without just cause.
- Contingent-Temporary contracts – These contracts are created to cover specific types of work or a specific service. A similar form of contract is the contingent-seasonal contract, made for employees who provide services for a specific time of the year.
Statutory Working Hours
The Employment Contract Law No. 11, 544 specifies the maximum number of regular work hours as 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week for a 6 day work day. The number of work days may be flexible for an unequal distribution of daily hours. The maximum hours worked may be changed through an individual or collective bargaining agreement.
No employee may work overtime in excess of 30 hours per month or 200 hours per week. At least 12 hours of rest must be taken between two working days.
Overtime during weekdays provide an additional 50% payment based on the employee’s hourly salary rate. Any overtime work on national holidays or during weekends provide an additional 100% payment.
Paid Public Holidays
In Argentina, there are 12 national holidays that are paid for if they do not work on those days. If employees do work on those days, there are entitled to 100% compensation of their regular hourly wage.
Working on Sundays
Working on Sundays is permitted, although employees are not expected to do so. A 100% premium of the employee’s wage is required to be paid. Overtime work, including weekend and holiday work, should not exceed 30 hours per month or 200 hours per year.
Disclosure and Confidentiality of Personal Information
The disclosure of personal data of an employee is only allowed if it is in the interest of the owner of the information and the employee has consented to the disclosure. This consent may be revoked at any time.
There are conditions where consent to disclose personal information is not required:
- Disclosure is provided for by law
- General data processing conditions applies (collected by State, contractual relationship, etc.)
- The disclosure is between governmental agencies
- Disclosure is for public health reasons
- The information is anonymized
Employee Protection and Anti-discrimination Rights
Employees are generally protected from discriminatory practices under local laws. Under the Anti-Discrimination Law No.23, 592, any employees dismissed on the grounds of discrimination due to race, religion, nationality, ideology, political affiliation, sex, financial, social or physical condition may demand to be reinstated, demand for the removal of the source of discrimination or be compensated via mandatory severance payments and damages.
Time Off Work
The employee may request paid special leave of absence in certain cases, and may be extended at the discretion of the employer. Collective bargaining agreements may grant additional days of leave. The conditions are:
- Birth of a child (2 days)
- Marriage (10 days)
- Death of spouse, children or parents (3 days)
- Death of brother or sister (1 day)
- Secondary or university examinations (2 days per exam)
Female employees are entitled to 90 days’ paid maternity leave; 45 days before and after childbirth. The employee may request additional unpaid leave of three to six months.
In the case of illness or accident unrelated to work, employees may take up to three months’ paid leave if he/she has been with the employer for less than five years, and up to six months’ paid leave for those working for longer than five years.
If the employee receives family allowances, the paid sick leave entitlement doubles. Once the paid sick leave period expires, the employee must keep the position open for at least 12 months. If the employee is still unfit for work, severance pay should be granted to the employee.
Any accident or illnesses caused by work-related problems entitles the employee to 12 months compulsory rehabilitation and sick pay under the compulsory employment risk ensurance (Aseguradora de Riesgos del Trabajo).
Accidents and Diseases Not Related to Work
Leave of absence due to accidents or diseases are provided for by the Employment Contract Law. Employees are entitled to up to three months of paid leave for occupation-related accidents or diseases when the employee has been working for less than 5 years with the employer, and up to six months for employment longer than 5 years. Any period longer than the paid leave duration requires the employer to keep the position of the employee for at least 1 year. Any period longer than this may allow either party to terminate without right to severance indemnity.
Annual Leave Accrual Entitlement
Employees have a minimum period of paid annual vacations depending on seniority. They are:
- 14 calendar days for employment less than five years.
- 21 calendar days for employment between five and 10 years.
- 28 calendar days for employment between 10 and 20 years
- 35 calendar days for employment more than 20 years
The number of vacation days may be freely extended by the employer. The vacation must lie between October 1 and April 30 of the following year, with the employee receiving a 45 day prior written notice for the vacation period.
Failure to take vacations are not compensated unless it is collected upon termination of employment. Only a third of the period of vacations may be accumulated in the subsequent year.
Maternity Leave in Argentina
In Argentina, employers are not allowed to employ female workers if they are within 45 days before or after childbirth. Employees taking maternity leave are entitled to cash benefits paid out of Social Security Funds.
It is unlawful for an employer to terminate a female employer during her pregnancy or maternity leave unless on grounds unrelated to the pregnancy. Any dismissal made within 7 ½ months before or after childbirth is presumed to be due to pregnancy, unless the employer can prove there is an unrelated reason for dismissal. Failure to do so entitles the employee to a one year’s salary worth of indemnity.
Employment Termination in Argentina
Under the Employment Contracts Law, either the employer or the employee may terminate their contract in various ways:
- Both employer and employee may terminate through mutual agreement
- The employee resigns
- Employer’s dismissal with or without just cause
- Employee’s death or total disability
- Employee’s retirement
- Employer’s bankruptcy
- Expiration of a fixed-term employment contract
Resignation / End of Service Payment
Termination of the contract due to redundancy provides the employee with a reduced severance payment of 50% of the normal severance pay in the case of regular dismissal. Redundancy is justifiable for the employer if they can prove the dismissal was due to reduction in production outside the employer’s power, or force majeure.
Severance / Redundancy Pay
Severance pay is calculated based on the employee’s highest regular, monthly salary accrued over the last year. The cap for calculation of seniority indemnity must not be less than 67% of the computable best ordinary usual monthly remuneration.
For fixed-term employees with premature termination of their contract, the severance payment consists of the remaining salary that would have been paid until the completion of the contract. Fixed-term employees who have been working for longer than a year are also entitled to 50% of the severance pay that a permanent employee would have received.
There are certain causes where employees may be entitled to additional severance pay, such as employment with union representatives. A special procedure must be followed before the Labor Courts, as employees may only be terminated with just cause. IF the procedure is not followed, the representative may choose being reinstated or receiving a significant severance pay package. Termination due to pregnancy or discrimination also allows additional severance payments.
Termination of Employment
The duration of the notice period depends on certain conditions:
- Three month probationary period – 15 days’ notice
- Less than five years of service – one month
- More than five years of service – two months
Payment in lieu of notice applies in these cases.
Statutory Notice Period Employer With Cause
Termination by just cause is justifiable by the employer if the employee has engaged in activities offensive or prejudicial to the employer, such as insulting superiors, disloyal behavior and theft of company goods. A sufficient cause is determined by the general principles of law and legal precedents. Termination by this method requires a written explanation of the cause, which may be challenged in a judicial proceeding.
Statutory Notice Period Employer Without Cause
The employer may terminate the employment relationship without just cause, which requires a severance to the employee, except in the case of union representatives and workers council representatives, which requires a just cause of termination.
Payment in Lieu of Notice
In addition to the pay in lieu of notice, the employer must also pay a termination indemnity, based on the years of service.
All indefinite term employment contracts according to the Employment Contract Law are subject to a trial period, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. The employer is obligated to provide a 15-day termination notice. The employer may terminate the employee without just cause and are not required to pay additional payments, unless a termination notice is not provided.
During the trial period, the employer and employee may pay social security contributions. Only one trial period can be entered into with the same employer.
All employees working in Argentina must be covered by the Argentine Social Security System under the Retirement and Pension Law No. 24, 241, and that all employees be registered with the social security authorities.
There are two pension systems employees may manage their future retirement:
- Public pension system
- Combination of public and capital-based system
Contributions by the employee may finance some benefits common to both systems, including an earnings-related disability pension and an earnings-related death benefit. Choosing the public pension regime entitles the employee to an earnings-related retirement pension, while the private system entitles the employee to a retirement pension dependent on the mandatory and voluntary amounts contributed to the pension fund.
The social security system provides for the payment of retired men from 65 and for women aged 60, although female employees may work until they are 65. TO be entitled to the social security contributions, evidence of social security payments must be provided for the last 30 years.
There is no limitation on additional benefits an employer may pay to their employee.