Labor guide to Doing Business in Argentina: salaries and working conditions in Argentina
Salaries and working conditions in Argentina may be governed by the Contract of Employment Law No. 20,744 (the CEL), additional laws, collective bargaining agreements, and company or individual agreements.
(i) Salaries and other benefits
Argentina has in place a mandatory minimum salary, set from time to time for the federal government, and effective in all the country. All employees, irrespective of the activity and work location, must earn at least the minimum salary.
However, by collective bargaining, salaries are in practice higher than the minimum salary. Additional benefits are usually granted by collective bargaining agreements (such as attendance or production bonuses), company agreements, or individual agreements (e.g. cars, mobile phones, bonuses, and stock options). Employers must also pay an annual extra salary (aguinaldo or sueldo anual complementario), in two installments (June 30th, December 18th).
Employees are further entitled to healthcare and pension schemes, funded through mandatory social security contributions paid by both employers and employees. Special health and retirement benefits covered by the companies to attract and retain workers are also usual.
Those workers included within the scope of the Collective Bargaining Agreement No. 130/75 (commerce activities) are entitled to additional retirement insurance.
(ii) Social security contributions and withholdings
Employers and employees are obliged to make payments to the social security system for family allowances, healthcare protection, and pension and unemployment benefits. Besides, collective bargaining agreements usually include contributions for unions.
The mandatory social security payments withheld from the employees´ salaries and contributed by the employers are calculated as a percentage of the employee’s salaries, with a certain cap in the case of withholdings from the salaries.
Foreign employees working in Argentina may be exempt from making pension contributions if an international social security agreement applies.
(iii) Working shifts
The normal daylight working hours for employees are limited to 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. The daily working time may be extended up to a maximum of 9 hours per day without paying extra hours.
Night shifts (9 pm to 6 am) must not exceed seven hours. Unhealthy works have a reduced working shift of six hours per day or 36 hours per week.
In the case of rotating shifts of teamwork schemes, working hours may extend beyond 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week, but under no circumstances may they exceed 144 hours every three weeks.
All full-time employees are entitled to overtime payment, except for certain managerial positions. Part-time employees may not work overtime. Overtime is paid at a rate of 50% more than the normal pay; if the services are rendered on Saturdays after 1 p.m., Sundays, and National Holidays, the extra hours must be paid 100% more than the normal pay. Applicable collective bargaining agreements may provide higher payments. Overtime must not exceed 3 hours per day, 30 hours a month, and 200 hours a year.
National holidays must be paid at the normal rate or doubled if the employees effectively perform service.
(iv) Workplace safety
Employers must provide healthy and safe workplaces. They must also hire a collective life insurance and professional diseases and working accidents insurance. Collective bargaining agreements may establish additional insurances. In certain industries, employers must provide employees with cloth, working tools, and protection equipment.
(v) Paid leaves
Employees are entitled to an annual paid holiday period, granted between October 1 and April 30. The length of said annual paid leave varies according to seniority, and may be extended by collective bargaining, or company or individual agreements.
The CEL also sets forth leaves of absence in the events of paternity (two calendar days), marriage (10 calendar days), death of certain close relatives (spouse, living partner, parents, children: 3 calendar days; siblings: 1 calendar day), high school or university examinations (2 days per exam and up to 10 days per year). Collective bargaining agreements usually grant additional days to these leaves or leaves of absence for further events (e.g. relocation).
The CEL also provides for maternity leaves, and non-related-to-work diseases and accidents leaves.
Women employees are entitled to a 90 calendar days’ maternity leave. Pregnant women may not work 45 days before giving birth and 45 days afterward; however, the female employee may choose to reduce the pre-birth leave to 30 days and take the remaining 60 days after the delivery date. Maternity leave is not paid by the employer, but by the social security system as a family allowance. Female employees may request additional unpaid leave after giving birth (between three and six months).
In the case of non-related-to work sicknesses or accidents, employees have the right to a leave paid by the employer, whose length varies according to seniority and the existence of a dependent family. Once the paid leave term has expired, if the employee is still not able to return to work, the employer must keep his/her position for a 12-month term (employment conservation period), but without paying any salary. If during the employment conservation period the employee turns out to be permanently incapacitated to perform his/her usual work, the employer must offer him/her tasks according to his/her abilities; in the case of a total and permanent disability, the employer must pay 100% of the severance compensation for dismissals without just cause.
(vi) Changes in working conditions
Working conditions may not be unilaterally modified by the employer if the change morally or materially harms the employee in any way (e.g. when the employer changes the place of work to a different location far from the current location, causing the employee to incur in greater expenses and time devoted to commuting).
Mario E. Castro Sammartino
Our publications exclusively express the author´s opinion and do not purport to be legal counsel on any case. Should you need it, you must consult with your trusted lawyer.
 Up to 5 years of service: 14 calendar days. Between 5 and 10 years of service: 21 calendar days. Between 10 and 20 years of service: 28 calendar days. More than 20 years of service: 35 calendar days.
 Some companies regularly grant extended paternity leaves to male employees.
 Employees with seniority of up to 5 years and no dependent family: 3 months; with a dependent family: 6 months. Employees with a seniority of more than 5 years and no dependent family: 6 months; with a dependent family: 12 months.
 If the employer cannot grant different work duties, the employment agreement may be terminated by the employer paying only 50% of the severance compensation for is obliged to give him/her work compatible with his disability. If the employer can prove that he is not able to provide the employee with work in accordance with the employee’s disability, the employer can terminate the employment by paying 50% of the severance compensation provided for in dismissals without just cause.
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