Rural Worker´s Law

he New Law establishes a detailed legal framework for rural workers.

On October 28, 2011 was published in the Official Gazette Law No 26.727. It establishes the new agricultural labor scheme (“ALR”) and repeals Law No 22.248, its amendments and the regulation decree.

This new scheme eliminates the National Register of Rural Workers and Employers (RENATRE) and instead creates the National Registry of Agriculture Workers and Employers (RENATEA) as an independent agency within the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security.

The new regulation determines the supplementary application of Law No 20.744 of Labor Contract (LCT) in everything that is compatible and does not object to the nature and manners of the ALR.

In terms of contractual arrangements established by this law, the “test period” type of contract is prohibited. The guiding principle is that the rural labor contracts will be understood as a permanent and continuous agreement, except in the cases expressly set forth in this new law, which includes:

  • Temporary Employment contract: takes place when the employment relationship arises in cyclical or seasonal agriculture holding. Workers hired for occasional, incidental or supplementary work are included in this category. This new law intends to promote the employment of temporary workers by providing, for example, a 50% reduction in employer contributions for 24 months.
  • Permanent and Discontinuous Employment Contract: when a worker is hired by one employer in more than one occasion and consecutively. Workers employed by this contract will have the same rights as permanent ones, such as seniority, to be computed for the periods effectively worked.

For all types of contracts, the law prohibits employment of children under 16 years old and those between 16 and 18 should be hired for a part-time work.

Regarding the extinction of employment contracts, the regulation refers to the LCT, except in specific matters such as compensation for seniority in permanent workers, that is equal to two (2) months salary, based on the best monthly salary, normal and usual earned during the last year or during the time of service. For unfair dismissal of permanent discontinuous workers, added to the seniority payment, the compensation has to include damages derived from the premature extinction of the labor contract.

Regarding remuneration, the law stets that it shall not be less than the minimum vital and mobile wage in force and shall be determined by the National Agricultural Work Commission. The law prohibits payment by currency different to the legal tender. Permanent workers receive a seniority bonus that may be up to 1.5% of the basic pay of its kind.

With regards licensing, the law applies analogously the LCT, without eliminating those established by the ALR, among which parental leave for child birth, including salary payment for 30 consecutive days is clearly distinguished. This license that can be enjoyed by the worker 45 days before the expected date of birth and 12 months after birth.

Another point which is analyzed is the working hours of staff included in the RTA. This can’t exceed 8 hours daily and 44 weekly. Working from 13.00 hs of Saturday until 24 pm Sunday it’s prohibited, in case it occurs, the worker should be given a frank within 7 days after.

The workers included in this law shall be entitled to regular retirement with 57 years old and 25 years of service contributions, regardless of their gender.

The executive branch shall issue the regulations of this new system within 60 days form the enactment of the law.

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