On 16 March 2023, the General Confederation of Labor (GCL) representing the workers, and the Argentine Industrial Union (AIU) representing the employers, in the presence of the Federal Ministers of Labor and of Women, Gender and Diversity, signed an agreement ("Agreement") to extend certain obligations and modify certain aspects of Decree 144/22 ("Decree").
The Decree regulated Section 179 of the Employment Contract Law, and provided for the obligation as from 23 March 2023 ("Effective Date"), to provide maternity and daycare spaces for minors under workers' care ("Care Spaces") in the employers' premises or in a nearby location. More details about the Decree can be found here.
In view of the proximity of the Decree's Effective Date, and given that to date there are many sectors that have not agreed on how to replace the obligation to provide Care Spaces with a system of expense reimbursement, the Agreement provides for the following:
- Extends until 31 July 2023 the obligation to physically provide Care Spaces in the employers' premises or within a radius of 2 kilometers from the premises, as foreseen in the Decree as from the Effective Date.
- Relaxes the possibility of making the reimbursement of expenses to beneficiary workers. Under the Decree, the reimbursement option was limited to the following situations: (i) to when it was collectively provided for (for CBA workers); and (ii) for teleworkers (both within and out of the CBA) ("Exceptions"). In all other cases, the Decree required the employer to provide the Care Spaces. This condition does not apply if the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) applicable to the premises had already provided for a system of reimbursements as authorized by the Decree.
- With the Agreement, the reimbursement is authorized without restrictions for all cases, being mandatory as of the Effective Date and until 31 July 2023, and its amount must be at least the amount provided for by the Decree. But this system is transitory, because when 31 July 2023 comes, the original obligation of the Decree to provide the Care Spaces would become effective again, and the option of reimbursement would be limited again to the Exceptions.
- The transitory system of the Agreement also extends to personnel excluded from the CBA. If in the future another reimbursement procedure is defined through collective bargaining, and more than one CBA applies to the premises, the system most favorable to the employee would apply to personnel excluded from the CBA.
- This should not affect the best rights and conditions of benefits already granted unilaterally by the employers, of what has been agreed in the CBA, or of social benefits of the expense reimbursement for this reason, without giving rise in any case to their accumulation.
The Argentine Construction Chamber adhered to the Agreement.
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