Littler Global Guide - Venezuela - Q1 2022

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Minimum Salary and Meal Benefit Increase

New Order or Decree

Author: Daniela Arevalo, Associate – Littler

Through Presidential Decree N° 4.653, published in Official Gazette N° 6.691 on March 15, 2022, the minimum salary has been increased by 1,857.14% from VES 7.00 per month to VES 130.00 per month (approx. USD 29.54), while the minimum salary for apprentices was increased from VES 5.25 per month to VES 97.50 per month (equivalent to USD 22.15 at the official exchange rate). These payments correspond to a daily work schedule of eight hours. The payment of a lower salary and/or when it is not paid promptly in the respective week or fortnight, will entail a fine that ranges between the equivalent of 120 tax units and 360 tax units.

Likewise, the food benefit (Cestaticket) was increased by 1.5%, from VES 3.00 per month to VES 45.00 per month (approx. USD 10.22). This increase was effectuated through Presidential Decree N° 4.654, published in the same Official Gazette. According to the Socialist CestaTicket Law, employers must provide healthy food during the workday to its employees. This benefit may be granted through coupons or electronic debit cards or be credited through payroll, in which case the employer must notify the employee of the meal amount paid. This benefit is not deemed part of the employee’s salary. All benefits are effective from March 15, 2022.

Commission to Investigate Delivery Companies’ Compliance with Labor Law

New Order or Decree

Author: Gabriela Arevalo, Associate – Littler

As a byproduct of the COVID-19 quarantine measures in effect since 2020, an increasing number of delivery companies have emerged in Venezuela during the last year. These companies have implemented independent contract regime. In this sense, President Nicolas Maduro ordered on March 2, 2022, to investigate the companies within this industry to verify compliance with the labor laws.

The president has been reported as noting that national and international delivery companies rendering services in Venezuela must comply with Social Protection, Labor and Constitutional Law. To that end, he has commissioned the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Labor to investigate this situation and issue a memorandum with recommendations to amend any breach of the law. The outcome of this investigation is still pending, and its conclusion may result in new labor law measures being established to apply to delivery companies.

Quarantine Flexibilization

New Order or Decree

Author: Gabriela Arevalo, Associate – Littler

On November 1, 2021, President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro ordered the total suspension of the COVID-19 quarantine and relaxed the biosecurity measures within the labor and commercial activities context. The quarantine was put in place on March 13, 2020, when the State of Alarm was declared due to the pandemic. As a consequence, there was a general confinement in the country and the remote work regime was applied.

However, in October 2020, the government relaxed the lockdown, by establishing a general quarantine consisting of periods of seven days of quarantine, followed by seven days of relaxation. Notwithstanding this relaxation, there is still the obligation to wear face masks in public places and comply with the biosecurity measures to avoid contagion. Vaccination is available for the population, but it is not mandatory.

Judicial Judgment on Foreign Currency

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Daniela Arevalo, Associate – Littler

On December 8, 2021, the Social Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice published Judgment No. 269, by which the Court allowed the payment of employee’s single bonus agreement in foreign currency (USD) since such agreement was subscribed to and approved before the Labor Inspectorate to be paid in foreign currency. Hence, employers would be obliged to pay a benefit in foreign currency when it has expressly been agreed to by the workers. Otherwise, the company may be released from its obligation by paying the equivalent in bolivars. In addition, payments in dollars may be considered as part of the salary depending on the regularity and free availability of payment.

Likewise, the Court determined that the defendant company must pay default interest for late payment. However, it specified that the interest rates set by the Central Bank of Venezuela cannot be applied to amounts established in dollars for the calculation of interest on arrears. For this, it ordered that the dollars be converted to bolivars at the official exchange rate at the time the payment takes place and on this amount the interest rates would be applied from the date when the company should have paid, to obtain an amount to be paid in bolivars and it may be optional for the company to pay such interests in dollars. Lastly, and regarding indexation, the decision contemplates that the adjustment for inflation does not proceed for cases in which payments are ordered in dollars or its equivalent in bolivars at the official or reference rate at the time of payment.

Declaration of Net Income Tax

Upcoming Deadline for Legal Compliance

Author: Gabriela Arevalo, Associate – Littler

The Venezuelan Net Income Tax must be filed by March 31, based on the new monetary expression set forth in Official Gazette N° 42.185, Presidential Decree N° 4.553. As of October 1, 2021, prices, salaries, and other benefits of a social nature, as well as taxes and other sums in national currency contained in financial statements or other accounting documents, or in credit instruments and in general, any operation or reference expressed in national currency, must be expressed in accordance with the bolivar in its new scale. The period for the declaration of Net Income Taxes cannot be extended. Late filing of declaration may lead to fines with interests.

The bolivar resulting from this “new expression” will continue to be represented with the symbol Bs. Consequently, all amounts expressed in national currency before October 1, 2021 must be converted to the “new unit” by dividing by one million (1,000,000). Except for any special provision to the contrary, all those who refuse to make the new monetary expression, or who fail to comply with any of the obligations established in the decree, will be administratively sanctioned by the Central Bank of Venezuela, in accordance with the provisions of Article 135 of the Decree with rank, value and Force of Law of the Central Bank of Venezuela, which establishes sanctions up to 1% of the paid capital and reserves.

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.