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Thread: Labor Law Question

  1. #1
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    Default Labor Law Question

    Any employer experts here?
    The normal work week is 48 hours (during the day) so 6 days, 8 hours per day makes it.
    Question:
    If the employee goes home for an hour to eat lunch is that hour considered part of the 8 hour day and thus only 7 hours are worked?
    I have assumed NO but now I am getting a different opinion.
    The labor code
    http://mitrab.gob.ni/index/Ley185Nic.pdf
    does not seem to answer this question.
    THANKS!

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    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    If I remember right, if they work half a day on Saturday, they have right to be paid for the whole day, overtime is double.....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Actually,Saturday is referred to as "Septimo/seventh" , in order to earn that septimo,they either HAVE to work Half a day/untill 12 noon on Saturday,or work 10 hours 5 days.
    Most cigar factories go for the 10 hours 5 days,we included.

    If you elect to have your employees to work half day on saturday,you end up loosing 4 hours of production,versus the 10 hours per 5 days.

    Then again,what the hell JW and I know about labor laws :LMAO:.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    If I remember right, if they work half a day on Saturday, they have right to be paid for the whole day, overtime is double.....

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    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    answers below

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnS View Post
    Any employer experts here?
    The normal work week is 48 hours (during the day) so 6 days, 8 hours per day makes it.
    Answer:
    Actually NO,as I explained bellow,you either have your employees work half a day on Saturday or 10 hours on week days


    Question:
    If the employee goes home for an hour to eat lunch is that hour considered part of the 8 hour day and thus only 7 hours are worked?
    Answer:
    Whether they take their lunch break at home or work,is irrelevant,they are entitled to an hour lunch,as you know, folks work 9 hours a day or at least 8.5 to make up for their lunch.
    Then of course it would also depend on the type of work,at our factory 90% of our people,(except supervisor) shorten their lunch break to about 30 mins,to make more cigars in a days work,they do this on their own.

    I have assumed NO but now I am getting a different opinion.
    The labor code
    http://mitrab.gob.ni/index/Ley185Nic.pdf
    does not seem to answer this question.
    THANKS!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by El codigo
    Artículo 17.- Además de las obligaciones contenidas en otros artículos de este código, los empleadores están obligados a:
    a)Pagar el salario por el trabajo realizado en el modo y tiempo convenidos con
    el trabajador;
    You should establish the working time in the employment contract. From 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00 for example.
    "Today is a good day for an airstrike"

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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCigarman
    answers below
    Actually,Saturday is referred to as "Septimo/seventh" , in order to earn that septimo,they either HAVE to work Half a day/untill 12 noon on Saturday,or work 10 hours 5 days.
    Most cigar factories go for the 10 hours 5 days,we included.

    Answer:
    Actually NO,as I explained bellow,you either have your employees work half a day on Saturday or 10 hours on week days

    Question:
    If the employee goes home for an hour to eat lunch is that hour considered part of the 8 hour day and thus only 7 hours are worked?
    Answer:
    Whether they take their lunch break at home or work,is irrelevant,they are entitled to an hour lunch,as you know, folks work 9 hours a day or at least 8.5 to make up for their lunch.
    Then of course it would also depend on the type of work,at our factory 90% of our people,(except supervisor) shorten their lunch break to about 30 mins,to make more cigars in a days work,they do this on their own.
    I am lost - 10 hours per day 5 days is 50 hours.

    It sounds like you are saying that 48 or 50 hours have to be worked during the week or if they work less you pay double for 4 hours Saturday ??


    Quote Originally Posted by gaudali View Post
    You should establish the working time in the employment contract. From 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00 for example.
    OK but how about 48 hours per week & Saturdays??
    Also, the Rivas (for SJDS) said a contract may not be legal if it violates Nica labor laws.

    So again, can I work employees 6 days - 8 hours per day if they agree and not have a problem with the labor board ??
    THANKS

  7. #7

    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Artículo 51.- La jornada ordinaria de trabajo efectivo diurno no debe ser mayor de ocho horas diarias ni exceder de un total de cuarenta y ocho horas a la semana.

    Yes, you can hire employees working 6 days 8 hours per day. You have to know that most of the nicas don't work on saturday afternoon but, If they agree and you're inside the working time range mentioned in article 51, you won't have problems, nevertheless you should visit the MITRAB offices near to you to let them know you are hiring people according to the labor code. I have hired a lot of people in construction and I learned that is less trauma if you meet the MITRAB inspectors before your employees do.
    Saludos.
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    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by gaudali View Post
    Artículo 51.- La jornada ordinaria de trabajo efectivo diurno no debe ser mayor de ocho horas diarias ni exceder de un total de cuarenta y ocho horas a la semana.

    Yes, you can hire employees working 6 days 8 hours per day. You have to know that most of the nicas don't work on saturday afternoon but, If they agree and you're inside the working time range mentioned in article 51, you won't have problems, nevertheless you should visit the MITRAB offices near to you to let them know you are hiring people according to the labor code. I have hired a lot of people in construction and I learned that is less trauma if you meet the MITRAB inspectors before your employees do.
    Saludos.
    I agree G.... it has been several years since I have had "Employees" but I found that I was better off going to MITRAB with the employee and making the contract there to start with......

    It still does not completely avoid problems, but it did reduce them quite a bit for me, at one time I had 60 employees....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Guadali and JPJW are about dead on in terms of what they say.

    I have over 200 employees here and am constantly harrassed, I mean visited, by the MITRAB people. When I did our companies Internal Rule Policy (i.e. Reglamento Interior de Trabajo) as well as their individual labor contracts I had a clause stipulated in there that the employer and employee both agree that in order to avoid working Saturday's it was agreed to work 9.6 hours a day Monday through Friday. Our attorney, a great guy and friend, in his infinite wisdom argued to not include that in the contracts or Internal Rule Policy.

    It took us a year to get our Policy approved and after having the MITRAB folks try and get us to pay over 14 months retroactive overtime due to working more than 8 hours a day it went to some kind of panel and they agreed with the original contracts as that is what the employee's prefered. If I would not have worded it as I did and how I did we would have been forced to pay about $55k in back overtime. I had quite a bit of experience with this kind of labor situation in Mexico and it turned out about the same here. Of course our attorney would not talk about this situation, LOL.

    Anything you want done in the contract, always word it in a way that it appears that the employee is almost requesting it for his/her benifit.

    I don't know what clause it is, but there is a clause in the Nica Labor Law that allows the employer and employee to mutually convene convinient working hours.

    The idea of doing a labor contract at the MITRAB office is an excellent idea. Obviously with the amount of people we hire and turnover that we have this becomes logistically impossible, but if you don't have a ton of employees that is the way to go.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    Guadali and JPJW are about dead on in terms of what they say.
    I respectfuly disagree. I'm just sharing knowledge from my own experience in my own field.
    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    I have over 200 employees here and am constantly harrassed, I mean visited, by the MITRAB people. When I did our companies Internal Rule Policy (i.e. Reglamento Interior de Trabajo) as well as their individual labor contracts I had a clause stipulated in there that the employer and employee both agree that in order to avoid working Saturday's it was agreed to work 9.6 hours a day Monday through Friday.
    It took us a year to get our Policy approved and after having the MITRAB folks try and get us to pay over 14 months retroactive overtime due to working more than 8 hours a day it went to some kind of panel and they agreed with the original contracts as that is what the employee's prefered. If I would not have worded it as I did and how I did we would have been forced to pay about $55k in back overtime. I had quite a bit of experience with this kind of labor situation in Mexico and it turned out about the same here. Of course our attorney would not talk about this situation, LOL.
    It's clear you violated the basics of the labor code, that's why I mentioned It will be a good start IF you keep the working time inside the range.Free trade Zone labor policy is be a difficult field. I'd seen that MITRAB inspectors take Zonas Francas cases in a special department.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    I don't know what clause it is, but there is a clause in the Nica Labor Law that allows the employer and employee to mutually convene convinient working hours.
    Artículo 17.- Además de las obligaciones contenidas en otros artículos de este código, los empleadores están obligados a:
    a)Pagar el salario por el trabajo realizado en el modo y tiempo convenidos con el trabajador;



    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    The idea of doing a labor contract at the MITRAB office is an excellent idea.
    I agree. Given the labor code simplicity there's a lot of chance for interpretation/misunderstanding.

    Best Regards
    Last edited by gaudali; 05-04-2009 at 04:54 PM.
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  11. #11
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    It's clear you violated the basics of the labor code, that's why I mentioned It will be a good start IF you keep the working time inside the range.Free trade Zone labor policy is be a difficult field. I'd seen that MITRAB inspectors take Zonas Francas cases in a special department.
    Gualdali:

    I hear you, but this has gone back and forth. Within the first 3 hours of my first arrival in Nicaragua I purchased "El Codigo Del Trabajo de la Republica de Nicaragua" and I read this sucker page to page before having our company open here.

    Article 63 of said Codigo states:
    "Por acuerdo del empleador con los trabajadores se podra distribuir las horas de trabajo semanales en jornadas diarias de mayor duracion a fin de permitir al trabajador el descanso parcial o total del dia Sabado o cualquier otra modalidad equivalente en el caso que el dia de descanso fuere rotatorio"

    "En estos casos el tiempo execedent de trabajo no podra ser mayor de dos horas al dia"

    "Tambien por mutuo acuerdo, pueden distribuirse las ocho horas de efectivio trabajo diario en periodos descontinuos" END OF ARTICLE.

    To translate the above:
    "By mutual consente the employer and employees may distribute the weekly working hours into longer shifts in order to permit the employee the partial or total free/off time for Saturday o whatever similiar equivalent in the case that the other off day be rotating"

    "In these cases the extra shift time may not be over two hours a day"

    "Also, by mutual agreemente, the eight hours of daily labor may be distributed into non-concurrent shifts"

    Hence, I did not violate the labor law as all employees agreed to the above provision/article of the labor law and our work period is 9.6 hours a day, thus less than the two hour maximum stipulated in this article.

    Additionally, we do provide the 30 minute break time that is required in Article 55., this is something that I would estimate that 98% of Nicaraguan employers ignore or do not know about.

    Our lunch times and other factors are all clearly stipulated in the contract and approved by MITRAB.

    I would recommend that anyone operating a business or that has employees in Nicaragua take the time, a whole bunch of time, to read the Labor Code, page to page. I have found that many attorneys, employers, and most of all MITRAB officials have not truly done so and go by hearsay, innuendo, and speculation as to the real contents of this code. Just my opinion for what it is worth.

    MITRAB has gone over my company with a fine tooth comb and not found any violations in regard to this stuff. Althought they did want us to put salt in the water during the hot months, LOL, I had to get on the internet and show them how this was not too healthy.

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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Thanks folks for all the good advice.

    Accountants and lawyers here do not provide me with similar advice for the same question. In fact the labor board people do not provide consistent answers either. Staying legal is a real nightmare because of the different way the different labor board people interpret the rules.

    According to the facts you presented I have a second problem with a cyber where the two employees requested that they each work a 3 1/2 day approximately 48 hour work week so they have 3 1/2 days off and they signed a labor contract calling out those work hours. I need to go to the labor board and see if this is can be made legal somehow but from the sound of things I may be paying some serious overtime if the workers "change their mind" later because of the long days. Maybe I need to go back to a normal 6 day work week.

    I know one person who agreed upon a basic monthly pay with his people but he backed into a reduced hourly rate so that they overtime pay was included to make that final pay monthly pay. The hourly rate was still more than minimum wage. Does this sound like a solution?

    Thanks again!

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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnS View Post
    Thanks folks for all the good advice.

    Accountants and lawyers here do not provide me with similar advice for the same question. In fact the labor board people do not provide consistent answers either. Staying legal is a real nightmare because of the different way the different labor board people interpret the rules.

    According to the facts you presented I have a second problem with a cyber where the two employees requested that they each work a 3 1/2 day approximately 48 hour work week so they have 3 1/2 days off and they signed a labor contract calling out those work hours. I need to go to the labor board and see if this is can be made legal somehow but from the sound of things I may be paying some serious overtime if the workers "change their mind" later because of the long days. Maybe I need to go back to a normal 6 day work week.

    I know one person who agreed upon a basic monthly pay with his people but he backed into a reduced hourly rate so that they overtime pay was included to make that final pay monthly pay. The hourly rate was still more than minimum wage. Does this sound like a solution?

    Thanks again!
    :LMAO:.....I went all the way to the Presidential Palace, with one labor case in question, to be told in no uncertain terms......

    In any labor case in Nicaragua, make a deal and PAY.......because fighting it for principle, right or whatever......YOU WILL LOSE..
    ....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    :LMAO:.....I went all the way to the Presidential Palace, with one labor case in question, to be told in no uncertain terms......

    In any labor case in Nicaragua, make a deal and PAY.......because fighting it for principle, right or whatever......YOU WILL LOSE......
    That is usually the case south of Brownsville, althought a buddy of mine recently won one in Mexico. I have heard that Nicaragua is not quite a bad, but I would not take the chance. The only real strategy that you can have is to wear them down with delays, meetings and or other strategies.

    One thing you can do, and this is what high paying employers in Mexico do, is have the employee sign a blank "renuncia/liquidation" form. I would be that on a small scale you could get away with it. Just don't abuse it.

    On renuncias or despisdos what our company does, and most companies in Nicaragua don't do this, but I do, I have the employee that is quitting/been fired sign, put his thumb print and have two witnesses sign that he got what was due to him. That way there is no doubt about fraud or cheating. I would also always pay liquidaciones by check.

    There are also ways to pay in a manner that does not accrue vacation or aguinaldo. Which is better in my opinion as it gets more money into the employees pocket weekly and at the end of the deal the liability for the employer is not as much.

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    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Yes there is,and we have applied it as well.
    It's a type of consultant with special traits/knowledge we do this with our QA guys,by their request with a contract presented to mitrab,renewable every year,they don't accrue vacation/aguinaldo nor do they pay INSS,they only get deducted 10% taxes on it,there is NO legal way around the 10% tax on their salary thou.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV AG View Post
    There are also ways to pay in a manner that does not accrue vacation or aguinaldo. Which is better in my opinion as it gets more money into the employees pocket weekly and at the end of the deal the liability for the employer is not as much.

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    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    I take your comment FAP is for professional services rendered? That is what I fall into

    And the 10%, if less than 1000 Cordobas being paid, tax is also taken out?
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    correct on the terminology JW,but I think the bracket is at around 49,000 cordobas yearly or something like that I would have to chech the actual bracket.
    That is what I fall under as well,and the government uses my money for pink posters .

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    I take your comment FAP is for professional services rendered? That is what I fall into

    And the 10%, if less than 1000 Cordobas being paid, tax is also taken out?

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    Former SJDS Bureau Chief, TRN Danpolley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Labor Law Question

    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCigarman View Post
    correct on the terminology JW,but I think the bracket is at around 49,000 cordobas yearly or something like that I would have to chech the actual bracket.
    That is what I fall under as well,and the government uses my money for pink posters .
    I hear they may switch to Baby Blue for the next "election"
    Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.

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