December 6, 2021

Work-Related Accidents and Illnesses in Mexico

By Pablo Saenz

Pursuant to the Mexican Federal Labor Law (“FLL”), work-related accidents and illnesses are those caused by an employee’s exposure to work activities. Accordingly, a work-related accident is defined as bodily injury or distress, whether immediate or not, death, disappearance caused by criminal actions, occurring suddenly at any place or time, and includes accidents that occur during an employee’s commute to or from home and the workplace; and a work-related illness is a pathological condition caused by ongoing actions arising from work-related activities, or the manner in which the employee must render services. The FLL also provides that the FLL and the Department of Employment and Social Welfare (“STPS” per its initials in Spanish) may designate other work-related illnesses from time to time.

Importantly, an employer is responsible for the safety and hygiene at the workplace and the prevention of work-related accidents and illnesses in accordance with the FLL, its regulations, and applicable official standards. Likewise, employees are also responsible for complying with applicable regulations as required by authorities and employers to prevent work-related risks.

The following consequences may result from a work-related accident or illness:

(i) Temporary disability, which is the loss of the capacity or ability to perform his or her job duties, either in part or completely, for a certain amount of time;

(ii) Partial permanent disability, which is a reduction in the employee’s capacity or ability to work, or

(iii) Permanent total disability, which is the employee’s loss of the capacity or ability to perform any type of work for the rest of his or her life.

The consequences resulting from a work-related accident or illnesses are taken into consideration in determining the level of disability.

The following may be considered in order to determine any disability compensation due to employees with respect to work-related accidents or illnesses: the employee’s daily base salary at the time of the work-related accident or illness, any wage increases corresponding to the position held by such employee until the level of disability is determined, the employee’s salary at the time of death, or the employee’s salary at the time the labor relationship ended. However, if the employee’s salary exceeds twice the minimum wage for the corresponding geographic area, the latter will be considered as the maximum.

An employer will be exempt from paying disability compensation in the following situations:

(i) The employee was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident;

(ii) The accident occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs, unless such were medically prescribed and the employer was provided a copy of the medical prescription;

(iii) The employee intentionally caused the injury himself or with the help of another; or

(iv) The disability was caused by a fight or attempted suicide.

An employer has the following obligations in connection with work-related accidents and illnesses:

(i) Maintain at the work place, medications and equipment necessary to render first aid if needed, and train employees to use such;

(ii) Provide written and electronic notice to the STPS, the Labor Inspector, and the Courts, within seventy-two hours of any such occurrence; and (iii) Duly register its employees with the Mexican Social Security  Institute.