29 Sep 2017

The legislative branch of the Honduran government recently enacted the Law on Labour Inspections (the ‘Law’) to bolster compliance with rights such as maximum working hours, social security, minimum wage, adequate conditions of helath and safety for employees, respect for collective agreements and the right to free union.

By Julia Sandoval, GUFA Law

The legislative branch of the Honduran government recently enacted the Law on Labour Inspections (the ‘Law’) to bolster compliance with rights such as maximum working hours, social security, minimum wage, adequate conditions of helath and safety for employees, respect for collective agreements and the right to free union. All of the above are rights that have been ratified by the State of Honduras through the International Labour Organisation.

The Law creates the Simplified National Registry of Employers. It also establishes that the labour authority may order the practice of extraordinary inspections at any time, including non-working days and hours. The authority will pursue cases involving danger or imminent risk, as well as complaints of non-compliance with labour legislation. Extraordinary inspections shall be carried out without prior notice to satisfy their primary objective of immediately detecting offences or misconduct.

The Law imposes huge fines – as high as US$13,000 (approximately £9,800) for breach of the right of employees to join a union. Repeat breaches will result in further fines, with a 25% increase for the first reoccurrence, 30% in case of a second and a 40% increase for each successive breach until compliance with the labour provision is reached. The fine will be waived if the employer corrects the cause(s) for which it is penalised within 10 working days of notification of the fine.

Fines must be paid within 15 working days. The decision to impose a fine may be challenged through an appeal that must be submitted within 10 working days of notification of the fine.

Comment

Prior to the creation of the Law, the shortcomings of labour inspections were notorious. The Law should strengthen the powers and support the modernisation of labour authorities. In turn, employers will need to carefully consider their legal obligations to avoid large fines.

© 2017 GUFA LAW

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