With the labor movement at the beginning of the 20th century, the International Labor Organization (ILO) emerged and in response to the demands of the workers, a global standard on the number of daily hours that should be implemented: this is how the eight-hour day began to become popular around the world.
At a time in which new employment modalities have emerged and in which several nations have made adjustments to the hours that their collaborators allocate to daily tasks, Mexico is moving to discuss the possibility of reducing the working day, an issue that is already It has caused a lot of analysis by the public sector, specialists and private initiative.
The ILO maintains that those who have working days longer than 48 hours have a negative effect on employee balance sheet between work and everyday life; maintains that both the number of hours and the implementation of flexible schemes are tools that can improve this situation.
“Paid work is more than simply meeting the material needs of workers; They also need to have the opportunity to fulfill their personal lives. In today’s world, we could say that this means that workers must have a healthy balance between their personal and work lives,” he indicates.
In the report Working time and work-life balance around the worldthe ILO, indicates that more than a third of employees globally tThey work more than 48 hours a week; meanwhile, a fifth have a reduced schedule (part-time) or work less than 35 hours a week.
It is the people who are in the informal sector who are more likely to have longer or shorter hours.
He adds that the number of hours worked, the way they are organized and the availability of rest periods can significantly affect the quality of work, but also life outside of it, since they tend to have a direct impact on the physical and mental health of employees.
This issue even impacts their safety during the journey to their homes, he assures.
For firms, the ILO maintains that working time has implications for both productivity and competitiveness, so discussions around this issue must be relevant to them, in order to reach agreements that increase growth. of industries, employment levels and even the organization of public services.
Thus, at the center of the discussion, adjustments related to working time are raised in the various labor reforms that have emerged around the world. Thus, various proposals arose in the country to reduce the working day to reach the 40 hours a week.
How much do you propose to reduce the working day in Mexico?
The proposal that will be proposed by legislator Susana Prieto, from Morena, proposes going from 48 to 40 hours of work per week, with two days of rest for every five days worked. The initiative has generated a lot of expectations among the working sector and various comments from the country’s businessmen.
The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) considered that it was not the time to discuss the reduction of working hours, since the private initiative has faced various salary increases, to achieve the largest increase in more than three decades.
Added to this is the approval of the increase in vacation days after the first year of work, which since January 1, 2023 went from six to 12 days and which they say has represented a significant impact on employers’ burden.
“Surely later we can see, but right now it has already put more stress on the part of that labor package that has been made over these years, I think it would not help much,” said Francisco Cervantes, president of the business leadership.
The LFT currently establishes that the maximum duration of the day will be: eight hours during the day, seven hours at night, and seven and a half hours during the mixed day.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicates that by 2022, Colombia was the country with the most hours of work per year, reaching 2,405 hours on average; Behind them are Mexico, with 2,226 hours a year; Costa Rica, 2 thousand 149 hours; Chile, 1,963; Korea, 1,901; Israel and Greece, with 1,891 and 1,886 hours per year, respectively.
Due to the commotion that the initiative caused, even President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke out on the matter and asked that the issue not be resolved in the legislative period that is about to end on December 12 and that all parties involved be taken into account.
“There’s time; I would respectfully propose that the 12th does not become a fatal date, that time is given and that everyone is even invited and what is happening in other countries is reviewed,” considered the federal executive.
After expectations about what would happen, the Chamber of Deputies indicated that the issue will be discussed next year.
How long will it take Mexico to reduce the work day?
For the consulting firm Manpower Group, the reduction in working hours should carried out gradually, just as the business sector has requested.
“The reduction is a good idea, but it must be implemented in a cautious, precise and exact manner. It should not be from one day to the next, because what we want is to take advantage of the opportunities we have; The important thing is to think about the well-being of the workers, not just the hours they work,” said Mónica Flores, president of the consulting firm for Latin America.
Along the same lines as President López Obrador’s recommendation, the consultant maintains that to make adjustments to the country’s work environment, it is necessary to compare the cases in which changes have already been made and that these are proportional to the situation in Mexico. .
Thus, they suggest that they be based on cases such as that of Colombia, where on July 15 the first of four adjustments to working hours were applied, to reach 42 hours a week. Or the one of Chiliwhich in April 2023 also approved a 40-hour work day.
“Employers are facing many challenges: finding the right talent, employers’ burdens have increased with the increase in vacations or the minimum wage, which are good decisions, but they have increased the employer’s cost.
What we want is to be competitive to increase the investment that is coming and that which is already there. We must continue to advance in these types of measures but with caution, all moving forward to be able to lead the worker to better solutions,” said the representative.
For Beatriz Robles, Director of Operations and Key Accounts at Manpower, the gradual change will ensure that there is also a increase in productivity of workers and that this requires investing in research, development, training and technology.
“We had a historical debt in our country with the workers. Vacations were the best figure in the world but it is important to point out that it has to be sustainable because most of the jobs are generated through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and there are already several changes in legislation and several salary increases that generate an important impact,” he shared.
The consulting firm indicates that after the implementation of the increase in vacations there was a increase in direct costs close to 2.5 percent and that in the case of the working day (depending on how the schedules are configured) they could increase from 25 to 55 percent in costs.
The Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) stated that the reduction in the working day will take all of 2024 and that the change would take several years.
“To understand and lay the foundations gradually, the experience of other countries speaks of numbers of three to five years,” considered Alberto Alesi, general director of Manpower Group for Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
Manpower indicates that the change implies two things: on the one hand, justifying the absences that already exist due to vacation issues and on the other, examining new shifts for its collaborators; Furthermore, they proposed that the initiative itself contemplate making modifications, since the proposal of two days of rest per week prevents the application of a gradual regulation, as has happened in the Chilean and Colombian cases.