Mexico: New risk of fines, penalties and jail sentences for excessive working hours as of 8 June 2024

In brief

On 7 June 2024, a decree was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation amending the General Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes related to Human Trafficking and for the Protection and Assistance to the Victims of these Crimes ("Human Trafficking Law"). Now, exceeding the working day more than what is stipulated in the Federal Labor Law (FLL) may be considered a crime and punished with a prison sentence of three to 10 years and a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 fine days. When the affected workers are Indigenous or Afro-Mexican, the penalties potentially increase to between four and 12 years of imprisonment and from 7,000 to 70,000 fine days. The fine day is equivalent to the net daily income of the sentenced person at the time of committing the crime, considering all their income.


Key points of the amended law

The FLL establishes that the workday shall not exceed 48 hours per week or eight hours per day.

For mixed and night shifts, the workday may not exceed 45 hours per week (7.5 hours per day) and 42 hours (seven hours per day), respectively.

In Mexico, employers may extend the workday under extraordinary circumstances. However, overtime cannot exceed three additional hours per day or occur more than three times in one week. Overtime within these limitations is to be paid at 100% more than the salary corresponding to the hours of the workday (double overtime).

However, workers are not obliged to render their services for a longer period than allowed under the above terms.

If employees work overtime by more than nine hours per week, the employer must pay the excess time with 200% more than the salary corresponding to the hours of the workday (triple overtime).

However, such overtime payment does not exempt employers from being subject to the penalties established by the FLL for exceeding the working day, which includes fines in the range of 50 to 250 times the Unit of Measurement and Actualization (UMA). The UMA is the economic reference in pesos to determine the amount of the payment of the obligations and assumptions set forth in federal laws.

As of 8 June 2024, the Human Trafficking Law establishes that the Crime of Labor Exploitation for working in workdays exceeding the maximum working hours than those stipulated by the FLL will be punishable with three to 10 years of imprisonment, and from 5,000 to 50,000 fine days.

Under the law, labor exploitation occurs when a person obtains, directly or indirectly, an unjustifiable benefit, economic or otherwise, in an unlawful manner, through the work of others, subjecting the person to practices that violate their dignity, such as the following:

  • Dangerous or unhealthy conditions, without the necessary protections according to labor legislation or existing standards for the development of an activity or industry
  • Existence of a manifest disproportion between the amount of work performed and the payment made for it
  • Salary below what is legally established
  • Working day more than stipulated by law

When the workers belong to Indigenous or Afro-Mexican peoples and communities, the penalties may be from four to 12 years of imprisonment and from 7,000 to 70,000 fine days.

Next steps for employers

  • Review current working hours in companies and in preparation for an eventual legal reform for the reduction of working hours
  • Evaluate the potential risk of current work shifts
  • Audit all employment documentation relating to working hours

We invite you to schedule a meeting with Baker McKenzie experts to discuss compliance strategies.

Click here to download this alert in Spanish.

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