What is the minimum Salary


The mínimum salary has been something not everybody understand as it is for some of the expat a foreign concept..

In Guatemala the employer-employee relationship is protective, this means that the law protects workers against employer and sets minimum employment benefits for the worker, the employer must meet mandatory obligations.

According to the legal framework in Guatemala , as son as an employer hire an employee verbaly or with a contract starts the relation , despite contracts being mandatory.

Among the benefits that every employer must comply are : ordinary salary and bonuses, Aguinaldo , working hours, holidays , dismissal and severance , Individual employment contract and rights of the pregnant woman .

So you might wonder why nobody in your surrounding  pays the mínimum salary to their employe(es)…

Well there are several facts that I have detected since I’m doing property management and work with expats…and often I hear the following...

It is a third country so labor has to be cheap…

The first thing people think is that because Guatemala is a third world country the salary are notably cheap… and indeed if you ask around specially outside the cities you find out that the salaries are low… but still all the families have the same needs like foods, education, health.. and you have to ask yourself if what you pay is enough to cover their basic needs.

Not knowing the labor law…

Most of the expats don’t speak spanish neither have ever open a guatemalan law book… therefore the ignorance or the lack of learning give space to a grey área that allows to not respect the guatemalan legal frame. It is like people are living in a now rules country where they can't do pretty much what they want because they don't realise or want to realise what is the legal frame of their hosting country.

Because my employee is happy with what I’m paying him….

Indeed he knows that is better  off  with some money than no money and in a country where
almost half the population is under 19, you will always  find another person willing to work for less. But the problem is not about wanting to be paid the mínimum salary, it is that to fight to get the employee to pay it will take financial ressources they don’t have and also very often they don't know the laws made to protect them. So it is more by resignation than free acceptance. And not paying the legal mínimum salary deprives him of much needed resource to send kids to school, eat better or be able to face medical emergency.

Life is cheaper outside the cities  people are paid less…

It might be the case in some áreas and a fact that for example often they don’t pay rent or don’t have  a budget for transport as people living in big cities  but still their needs are the same  and the cost of the basic food basket  according the Institute of statistic of Guatemala (INE) is of  Q 3,358 per month. This basket is composed of 26 products that reflect the need of a family of 5.3 members.

We can’t give a raise every year as they would get use to it.…

Like we don’t live in a dynamic world where all year long we see prices going up
and cost of living increasing. It is like you don’t know that if, at least, you don’t keep up with inflation you are losing buying power every year.

Most of the expat choose to live in a foreign country because of a better quality of life. At one moment or the other they provide jobs to the local community which run from building, gardening, house keeping for example.
Sometimes some also give to locals charity or give off their time to the local community.
Still it is important to know the legal frame of the country you choose to
settle  as being a guest you would think that you want to behave as you would like foreigners to behave in your own countries.

The object of  Minimum Salary

The minimum amount that must be paid to a person for work done within a given period, calculated whatever form , and it can not be decreased in the employment relationship , which is guaranteed by law to cover the minimum needs of the worker and his family.

Who decides the minimum wage ?

The Executive Agency , after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers and other organizations representing the National Wage Commission and the Joint Commission Minimum Wage and the Monetary Board and the Guatemalan Social Security Institute .

When the minimum wages are fixed ?

The minimum wages are set from the month of January each year .

Definition of the fault?

Art 269.  the infractions or violations by action or omission committed against the provisions of this code or of other labor laws or Social Security, are punishable by fine.

A very important things to know when you termine your relation ship with your employee and viceversa…

Art 261  Actions to terminate the contract worker

The rights of the workers to declare  finished and with good cause their working contract terminated prescribe in the term of twenty working days from the time the employer gave him cause for separation or indirect fired. It means that past these 20 working days the worker can’t claim compensation.

Art 262 .Acciones del empleador contra retiros injustificado

The rights of employers to claim against workers who retire from his post without notifying his employer prescribed in the term of thirty working days from the separation moment. Meaning that after 30 days you can’t demand your employee for abandoning his job.

And one more thing when you have employe working for you permanently and they have worked one year then they are entitled to vacations.. and you can't pay them the vacation .. they have to take them.. 

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