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Employment Law in Argentina

Argentina is a federal republic made up of 23 provinces, plus the capital, Buenos Aires, which is classified as an autonomous city. Employment legislation is primarily a federal matter (though as each province has its own courts, the interpretation of the legislation may differ somewhat between provinces).

The Constitution contains various guarantees for employees (such as fair wages, equal pay and protection from arbitrary dismissal) and trade unions, and general provisions on equality. The main piece of employment legislation is the Law on Employment Contracts (no. 20744 of 1976). As well as employment contracts, this deals with issues including remuneration, working time and rest, annual leave, special leave, public holidays, maternity leave, sick leave, equality, training and termination of employment. Other significant laws include the

Law on Employment (no. 24013 of 1991) (this covers matters such as temporary contracts, company restructuring and minimum wages)

Law on Working Hours (no. 11544 of 1929)

Law on Discriminatory Acts (no. 23592 of 1988)

Law ratifying the Federal Labour Pact (no.25212 of 1999)

Law on the Comprehensive Protection of Women (no. 26485 of 2009)

Law on Hygiene and Safety at Work (no. 19587 of 1972) Law on Occupational Risks (no.24557 of 1995)

Law on Trade Unions (no. 23551 of 1988)

Law on Collective Agreements (no.14250 of 1953)

Law on Collective Bargaining Procedure (no.23546 of 2004)

Law on Labour Disputes (no. 14786 of 1958)

Law on Labour Regulation (no. 25877 of 2004)

Law on Labour Reform (no. 25013 of 1998)

Law on the Employment of Women and Minors (no. 11317 of 1924)

Law on Educational Internships (no. 26427 of 2008).

Various aspects of these laws (most of which have been amended since their initial adoption) are regulated in more detail by implementing decrees

Other important sources of regulation of the employment relationship are collective agreements and employment contracts. Pay and conditions for a majority of employees are set by industry-level collective agreements. Employment legislation takes precedence over the provisions of collective agreements, unless the latter are more advantageous for employees. Where an employee is covered by a collective agreement, this takes precedence over the provisions of the employment contract, unless these are more advantageous for the employee. There is a general presumption in employment law in favour of the employee: in the event that there is any doubt about which statutory or agreed provisions apply to an employment relationship, those that are most advantageous for the employee must be applied; and if there is any doubt about the interpretation or scope of the law, and in assessing evidence in particular cases, courts must rule or decide in the most favourable way for the employee.

This topic refers to employment law in the private sector only.

Employment Law in Argentina: Quick Facts
  • There are few statutory restrictions on employers’ recruitment and selection methods and practices. Recruitment and Selection

    Indefinite-term employment contracts are generally, unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, subject to a probationary period of three months, during which either party may terminate the contract without having to pay any compensation or cite any justification. Recruitment and Selection

    An employment contract exists where a person is obliged to provide services, perform acts or carry out work for the benefit of another party, under a relationship of dependency to that party, in exchange for the payment of remuneration. Employment Contracts

    Fixed-term contracts have a maximum term of five years (including any renewals) and are permitted only if the nature of the tasks or of the activity concerned reasonably justifies their use. Employment Contracts

    A part-time employee must not work more than their contractual hours except in the event of serious or imminent danger to people or property. Employment Contracts

    There is a national minimum wage and all employees are entitled to an annual bonus worth one 12th of their annual remuneration. Pay and Benefits

    Employees’ normal working time must not generally exceed eight hours a day and 48 hours per week (though these limits may be exceeded under permitted flexibility arrangements) and they must not generally work more than 30 hours of overtime a month or 200 hours a year. Working Time, Rest and Holidays

    Employees are entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 12 hours and a minimum weekly rest period of 35 hours, usually from 1pm on Saturday until midnight on Sunday.

    Employees are entitled to paid leave for a number of personal reasons, such as their marriage or the death of a close relative. Parenthood and Work-life Balance

    Employees who are unable to work owing to accident or illness are entitled to sick leave on full pay of up three months, rising to six months if they have at least five years’ service — the entitlement is doubled if the employee has a dependent family. Parenthood and Work-life Balance

    Employers must equally all employees in the same situation and not discriminate arbitrarily against them on grounds of sex, race, nationality, age, religion, politics, trade union views/activities, ideology, economic status, social status, physical characteristics, disability, certain specific illnesses and genetic conditions. Equality and Discrimination

    Employers have a duty to prevent sexual and other harassment at work, and to pay employees equally for equal work.

    Trade unions (mainly those recognised as most representative) have various representation and information rights at the workplace, largely exercised through elected employee delegate. Industrial Relations and Collective Rights

    Representative trade unions have a right to hold strikes, though in order for a strike arising out a collective bargaining dispute to be lawful, the union must first follow a statutory procedure. Industrial Relations and Collective Rights

    Employers have a general duty to adopt the measures that are necessary to protect employees’ health and safety, and have numerous detailed obligations in this field. Occupational Health and Safety

    An employer may dismiss an employee for “just cause”, without having to give notice or pay compensation, if the employee commits a serious breach of the employment contract. Termination of Employment

    In principle, an employer is free in most cases to dismiss an employee without having a just cause, as long as it observes the applicable notice period — but in these cases, the employer is required to pay the employee compensation, which normally stands at one month’s pay per year of service buy may be higher or lower depending on the circumstances of the dismissal. Termination of Employment

    An employee may, if the employer commits a serious breach of the employment contract, resign for just cause and claim the compensation payable for dismissal without just cause. Termination of Employment

    When terminating an employment contract (except in circumstances justifying termination with just cause), the employer or employee must observe a minimum statutory notice period. Termination of Employment

    Where the ownership of an establishment is transferred, the new owner takes on all obligations arising from existing employment contracts between the old owner and the employees of the transferred establishment. Other Key Issues

    Employees have a right to vocational training and career development, and to equal access and treatment in relation to these areas. Other Key Issues