Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
Judicial Judgment on the Use of Foreign Currency
Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency
Authors: Richard G. Ruiz Fernandez, Associate and Vanessa Raidi, Associate – Littler
The Civil and Social Chambers of the Supreme Court of Justice ratified in their decisions that using foreign currency (dollar, euro, pound, yuan, etc.) to enter into contracts or make labor payments is valid and legal, despite the Bolivar being Venezuela’s legal currency. Payments in foreign currency can be made both in foreign currency and in Bolivars based on the official exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Venezuela applicable at the time. This rate is updated daily and allows the value of transactions to be readjusted. The current exchange agreement allows the use of foreign currencies as the sole and exclusive currency of payment.
The use of foreign currency in commercial transactions, and even as currency for the payment of wages and labor compensation, results from the hyperinflation in the Venezuelan economy due to the accelerated loss of value of the Bolivar.
Proposed Bill or Initiative
Author: Gabriela Arevalo, Senior Associate – Littler
The Ministry of Labor announced that this year the National Assembly may approve a teleworking law as a COVID-19 measure. If approved, the law will regulate work activity from home, including working hours, the right to disconnect, rest hours, as well as determination of wages, responsibility for connectivity, performance evaluation, and the organization of workers.
To date, employers in Venezuela have implemented work from home based on the Organic Labor Law. Although these provisions do not establish specific rules on teleworking, they do require employers register those working from home, pay the related expenses (such as electricity, internet, phone, maintenance of machines and work tools), as well as grant economic benefits that cannot be lower than those provided by law for those working in the workplace.
Employee Performance Evaluation During Pandemic
Author: Daniela Arevalo, Senior Associate – Littler
After the pandemic situation in Venezuela and due to the monthly extension of the quarantine by the Executive Power, employers are facing the challenge to assess employee performance during remote work. An important recommendation to help employers with this situation is to adapt the company’s processes towards an evaluation by establishing a policy in writing, with objective parameters, and making it known to workers through the electronic means available. This policy may include incentives or bonuses for goals achieved so that workers are incentivized to carry out the proposed work.
In this sense, this option can be very favorable if the employer cannot verify that the worker is complying with their working hours. It is important to notify workers in writing about the result of the evaluation, which may be done through electronic means as corporate mail, and if possible through a video call or teleconference so that the worker can know the strengths and weaknesses and can correct them. Within the remote work framework, employers have several options for methods and formulas to achieve productivity and success. The policies and solutions will vary based on the conditions of each employer and workplace.
Employee Vaccination Should Be Combined with Biosecurity Compliance
Author: Daniel Jaime, Associate – Littler
Given the surge of COVID-19 infections in Venezuela during mid-May and June 2021, companies have sought to join the Ministry of Health to vaccinate their employees to reduce risks and finally return to work. The priority of the Ministry of Health has been to vaccinate health employees first, then vaccinate (i) employees providing essential services (e.g., food, pharmacy industry, healthcare system, among others), and (ii) the general population, prioritizing the most vulnerable. The government has been supplying the Sputnik and Chinese vaccines, requiring the eligible groups to register and make an appointment on “Patria,” an online platform commonly used by the government to give financial aid.
Even if a company may vaccinate its employees under the government’s plan, employees can refuse to get vaccinated. Accordingly, it is highly advisable to obtain the employee’s written consent prior to the vaccination. Additionally, even if most employees get vaccinated, employees can return to work only if the company meets all government standards on biosecurity (e.g., use of masks, social distancing in the workplace, sanitary practices, etc.). Implementing these measures would prevent transmission of the virus to unvaccinated workers and protect the company from risks should it be subject to a government inspection.