September 11, 2019

New Regulations to Protect Domestic Employees

By Pablo Sáenz and Fernanda Magallanes

On July 2nd, 2019 Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (the “FLL”) and Social Security Law (the “SSL”) were amended to include provisions designed to protect domestic employees working in Mexico.  The most relevant aspects of the amendments are summarized below:

  1. The FLL defines domestic employees as those who provide care services, cleaning, assistance or any other activity within an employer’s residence, and such arrangement does not produce a financial benefit to the employer.  Domestic employees may reside inside or out of the employer’s home, or they may work for different employers and not reside at any of them.
  2. Individuals who perform household work on an occasional or sporadic basis or who provide cleaning services, assistance, customer service and other similar activities in hotels, care homes, restaurants, bars, hospitals, schools, boarding schools and other similar establishments are not considered to be domestic employees.
  3. It is illegal to hire children under 15 years of age, and special rules apply to household employees between the ages of 15 and 18.
  4. A written employment contract is mandatory.
  5. Employees who reside in the employer’s home must be allowed to rest a minimum of nine consecutive hours at night, and at least three hours between morning and evening duties, without exceeding eight hours per day.
  6. Domestic employees shall have at least one and a half days per week off, preferably on Saturday and Sunday.  Per agreement between of the parties, half days may be accumulated every two weeks, but employees must always be allowed to have at least one full day off every week.  Further, domestic employees must be allowed to be off work on legal holidays.
  7. Employers must provide food and housing to domestic employees who reside at the same address where they work.  Such domestic employees are also entitled to vacation and vacation bonus pay, and a holiday bonus, paid weekly days off and enrollment in the national health system operated by the Mexican Social Security Institute.
  8. Wages may be paid by direct deposit with consent from the employee. The National Minimum Wage Commission establishes the minimum wages that must be paid to domestic employees.
  9. Domestic employees may terminate their employment by giving notice to the employer at least eight days in advance.  The employer must also provide at least eight-days’ advance notice to dismiss a domestic employee and pay the departing employee legally mandated severance as set forth in Articles 49 fraction IV and 50 of the FLL.

Guidelines to enroll domestic employees with the Mexican Social Security Institute are expected to be released soon.  In the meantime, if domestic employees are not enrolled in such agency, employers will remain liable for medical expenses, paid leave and other services provided by the Social Security Institute.