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Venezuela Announces Increases to the Minimum Wage and Meal Benefit
New Order or Decree
On May 2, 2017, Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, by order of decree, increased the monthly minimum wage by 60% and the “meal benefit” calculation base to 15 tax units per day. Although the meal benefit (known as “Cestaticket Socialista”) must be paid out in cash or credited to workers’ payroll accounts, the electronic meal cards that have already been issued will remain valid until December 31, 2017. Both increases, which apply to the private and public sectors, became effective on May 1, 2017. The new minimum wage has been set at 65,021.04 Venezuelan bolivars (VEF 65,021.04) per month and 2,167.37 Venezuelan bolivars (VEF 2,167.37) per day. The minimum wage for apprentices has been set at 48,354.96 Venezuelan bolivars (VEF 48,354.96) per month and 1,611.83 Venezuelan bolivars (VEF 1,611.83) per day. The new calculation base for the payment of the "meal benefit" is 450 tax units per month (i.e., the equivalent of 15 tax units per day times 30 days per month). Failure to comply carries steep penalties.