While half of Europe is preparing to face the challenges of a 4-day, 32-hour workday, in Mexico they are finalizing the details to reduce their workday to 40 hours a week. The measure has the support of the workforce, which would see their family balance conditions improved. The employers’ association and SMEs are the ones that ask for the most caution in its implementation.
The reform of article 123. The Chamber of Deputies is processing the reform of section IV of Section A of Article 123 of the Political Constitution, which establishes the basis for the Federal Labor Law. The amendment proposal is aimed at changing the 48-hour working model to reduce the working day to 40 hours a week. The last time this regulation was modified was after the Mexican Revolution in 1917.
The reduction of the maximum working day to 40 hours is not the only amendment that has been applied to this law during the current financial year. It has also addressed other aspects such as the extension of the vacation rest period, increasing proportionally to the years of seniority in the company up to a maximum of 30 days. The proposed modification to the new law also provides for changes in weekly rest periods that will go from one day of rest every six days worked to two days every five days worked. The approval of weekly breaks is linked to the modification of the working day, so both changes will come into force at the same time.
Pending approval of the chambers. Although the new regulations have already overcome the biggest obstacles in their processing, the proposal still has to be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies, which must approve it in plenary session, and then have the approval of the Senate of the Republic. After the approval of the Senate, the proposal must be submitted to the evaluation of the 17 states of the Mexican Republic.
The exact date of entry into force of the new law that regulates working hours in Mexico is not known, but it is expected that it can be applied from December or early 2024.
Mexico is no longer the leader, and that is good. With the proposed change in the working day, Mexico will leave the first place of the OECD members with the highest average hours worked of the 38 countries that form it. Currently, Mexico tops the list with 2,226 hours worked annually, followed by Costa Rica with 2,149 hours and Chile with 1,963 hours annually. With the new measure, Mexico is committed to prioritizing productivity over presence.
In fact, according to OECD data on the 48-hour work week established in Mexico, only an average of 45 hours per week are truly productive. The rest is time that the employee wastes in poorly optimized processes or simply not doing their job. The 48-hour day, on the other hand, is used in Colombia, with an average of 47.5 hours worked. These are better figures than those of Costa Rica, which, of the 48 hours per week, only 44.5 hours are actually worked.
Annual hours worked Source: OECD.org
40 hours don’t have to be 5 days. Given the new perspective of the working day, the distribution of those hours is also being considered. Some initiatives promoted by senators advocate reducing the number of hours while maintaining five working days, since modifying breaks requires reducing working days. Others, however, advocate implementing a 4-day week with longer days each day, applying the 4×3 model that is applied in Chile, with four days of work and three days of rest.
The cultural change and work habits that would entail combining the reduction of working hours with the implementation of the 4-day work week in Mexico makes some specialists advise against it.
Employees in favor, employers not so much. Changing the day involves modifying other factors such as opening hours, shifts, distribution of the day, etc. Like any change, there are parts in favor and others against.
Employees have welcomed the reform, who see many benefits in family conciliation. However, the employers ask for caution when applying the changes since not all businessmen have the financial muscle necessary to face the change overnight. The situation is similar to that faced by SMEs and the self-employed with the implementation of the 4-day working day in Spain, where their adjusted benefits leave little room for maneuver to change the working day model by expanding the workforce or closing earlier.
Objective: productivity and well-being. The change in the Mexican work day is driven by the desire to bring the hours that are truly productive closer to the work day. Long hours and stress cause workers to become demotivated and increase the number of days on medical leave.
In addition to improving the motivation and health of the workforce, the reduction in working hours seeks to retain talent in companies, promoting the satisfaction of employees who are already part of the workforce, and making companies more attractive to attract external talent, since that the new day is closer to those of Europe and a good part of America and Asia.
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