Bill to Reactivate Labor Contracts
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
In Panama, a legislative project was submitted which intends to gradually reintegrate the employees to their companies, which have already restarted their activities and which in 2020 suspended labor contracts due to the crisis caused by the outbreak of covid-19.
According to the legislative body, the bill which legalizes the gradual reintegration of the suspended contract workers to their companies and which will be in force until the end of the year, has been pending in the National Assembly since February 8, after the Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, delivered it to the Presidency.

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"During her presentation, Minister Zapata explained that this draft bill proposes to regulate the gradual reinstatement of workers with suspended work contracts in companies that have restarted their activities, in parallel to a process of extension of the suspension of the effects of the workers' contracts for companies that remain out of business by provision of the health authority and, especially, the process of requesting and authorizing the suspension of the effects of labor contracts, in response to restrictions of citizen mobilization, such as total or partial quarantine, ordered within the State of National Emergency caused by Covid-19", states a press release from the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (Mitradel).

The draft bill states in its articles that: Workers with suspension of the effects of their contracts will be reintegrated to their jobs gradually, the companies that are subject to the application of the measures of restriction of citizen mobilization may execute their activities through labor modalities such as teleworking, paid leave, work on availability and others contained in the labor laws, highlights the official statement.

According to Mitradel, "... this regulation also proposes that, once the companies have been authorized to restart their economic activities, they will reinstate their workers month by month and the extensions of the suspension of contracts may not exceed five months, the companies that maintain suspended workers may not hire new ones, the hiring of workers will be allowed only to perform different functions, it also establishes that any termination of the employment relationship by mutual consent must be in writing and will not imply waiver of rights, among other issues of labor interest that were raised."

The draft bill establishes differentiations in the return, based on the sector of the economy to which the company belongs. In addition, it contains special considerations for companies in the tertiary sector of the economy, the most affected by the pandemic. Likewise, it establishes, with the precedent of Law 157 of 2020, an alternative method of calculation of seniority premium, vacations, thirteenth month and indemnity, as applicable, to which the worker whose contract was suspended or whose working day was modified is entitled, in accordance with the agreements of the Tripartite Table for the Dialogue for the Economy and Labor Development, concludes the statement.
 
More on this topic
Labor Market: Bill Receives Endorsement
February 2021
On third debate, Panama approved the legislative bill that aims at gradually reintegrating employees to their companies, which have already restarted their activities and which in 2020 suspended labor contracts due to the crisis caused by the covid-19 outbreak.
The National Assembly approved on February 24 bill No.542, submitted by the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (Mitradel), which allows the gradual reinstatement of workers with suspended contracts, recognizes the payment of maternity leaves to workers with suspended contracts, the return of disabled people and establishes temporary measures to preserve employment and stability of the companies, details an official statement.
Labor Market: Bill Moves Forward
February 2021
In Panama, the first debate was approved in the first debate of the legislative project that intends to gradually reintegrate the employees to their companies, the same that have already restarted their activities and that in 2020 suspended labor contracts due to the crisis caused by the covid-19 outbreak.
The bill legalizing the gradual reintegration of suspended contract workers to their companies, which will be in force until the end of the year, has been pending in the National Assembly since February 8, after being submitted to the Presidency by the Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata.
Panama: Changes to Labor Code Approved
July 2020
The National Assembly approved in third debate the draft law establishing temporary employment protection measures in companies affected by covid-19.
The initiative presented by the Executive received several modifications in its original content, both in the first and second debate, leaving the deputies with the reservation that these are temporary rules and are not intended to a future reform of the Labor Code, the Assembly reported.
Guatemala: Labor Contracts Suspended
April 2020
Following the state of calamity in the country, the Ministry of Labor created an electronic procedure, through which companies can temporarily suspend the contracts of their workers.
Ministerial Agreement 140-2020
, published on April 7 in the Official Journal, explains that the government measure is temporary and exclusively applicable as long as the circumstances and effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which has been declared worldwide, and its effects on employment contracts persist.
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