As of May 7, 2013, employers in Venezuela must comply with the new wage and hour law established one year ago under Venezuela's employment law reform act, known as the Organic Law of Labor and Workers1 (the "LOTTT", for its Spanish acronym). The LOTTT imposed, among other important provisions, new restrictions for work hours and days of rest, and allowed for an implementation period of one year. Before this one-year window came to a close, Venezuela's new president, Nicolas Maduro Moros, approved new regulations on April 30, 2013 that expanded these restrictions. Given these new restrictions, employers should immediately implement changes to their practices to comply fully with the wage and hour law.
Key Wage and Hour Amendments to the LOTTT under the New Regulations
Workday and Days of Rest
Under the LOTTT, the workday is limited to eight hours and the workweek to 40 hours, to be worked over a five-day period, with two mandatory consecutive days of rest per week. For night shifts (work performed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.), the workday is limited to seven hours, the workweek to 35 hours, and the work must be compensated with premium pay of 30% over the wage paid to employees working during the day shift.
The new regulations establish that the two consecutive days of rest must include Sunday. This arrangement necessarily requires the days of rest to fall either on Saturdays and Sundays, or Sundays and Mondays.
The regulations allow for the following two exceptions to this rule:
Companies with Uninterrupted Operations (Art. 185 of the LOTTT). By private agreement between the employer and the employees or their union, one of the days of rest may fall on a day other than Sunday for companies whose operations cannot be interrupted due to public interest concerns, technical reasons, or other special circumstances, except that the two alternate days of rest must always be consecutive. Operations that qualify under this category provide services in various industries, including telecommunications, energy, hospital, pharmacy, public transportation, hospitality, restaurant, food, and entertainment. Companies with Continuous Shifts (Art. 176 of the LOTTT). One of the two mandatory days of rest can be fixed on a day other than Sunday and need not be consecutive for companies that require 24-hour operation through continuous shifts. When the employee is required to work a six-day workweek, the employee must be compensated by receiving an...