Mexican reform on labor exploitation

June 26, 2024

On June 7, 2024, a reform to the General Law for Preventing, Sanctioning, and Eradicating Crimes Related to Human Trafficking and for the Protection and Assistance of Victims of These Crimes (the “Law”) was published in the Federal Official Gazette (“DOF”). This reform additions the workdays exceeding the maximum legal limit established in the Federal Labor Law (“LFT”) as a new form of labor exploitation, providing also sanctions for the trafficking of persons belonging to vulnerable groups.

Details of the reform

According to the LFT, a workday must not exceed 48 hours per week, and overtime work is limited to three hours per day and nine hours per week. In the event that the overtime exceeds nine hours per week, the employer must pay the employee for the excess time with an additional 200% compensation over the salary corresponding to the hours of the ordinary workday.

The amendment to Article 21 of the Law specifies that anyone who exploits one or more individuals through excessive working hours will be punished with prison sentences ranging from 3 to 10 years and fines ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 days of the minimum wage (USD 84,682.78 to USD 846,827.78). In cases where the victims are indigenous or Afro-Mexican individuals, the penalties increase to 4 to 12 years of imprisonment, with fines ranging from 7,000 to 70,000 days of the minimum wage (USD 121,493.89 to USD 1,214,938.89).

Moreover, the modifications to articles 10, 14, 18, 24, 25, 35, and 42 of the Law extend protection to victims who are under 18 years old, over 60 years old, unable to understand the nature of the act or resist it, belonging to indigenous peoples, being Afro-Mexican, pregnant, or having a disability, and are victims of sexual exploitation and/or mendicancy. Sanctions increase depending on each circumstance.

The reform imposes new obligations on the corresponding authorities, including human rights and gender perspective training for police, justice, and social services personnel. This requirement aims to ensure that human trafficking victims receive specialized and timely care according to their specific needs and cultural contexts.

Conclusions

It is crucial for both employers and workers to understand that, while overtime remains allowed and compensated, exceeding the established legal limits may constitute a crime of labor exploitation. With respect to vulnerable groups, they now have greater protection thanks to the reform to the legal precepts referred to herein.

We believe there are grounds to consider the amendment to Article 21 of the Federal Labor Law (LFT) as violating certain precepts of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States due to deficiencies in its wording, which could result in an imperfect regulation.

In light of the above, in Bravo Abogados we would be happy to answer any question you may have regarding this legal alert.

Jair Bravo Gutiérrez
Socio Administrador / Managing Partner
jbravo@j-bravo.com

52-81-24748538
www.j-bravo.com
Blvd. Antonio L. Rodríguez 3000, Colonia Santa María, 5to piso, Interior 501 Torre Albia, C.P. 64650 Mty, N.L., México T.

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