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Considerations when hiring domestic workers in Mexico

Hiring domestic workers is common in Mexico. Foreigners often hire housekeepers, gardeners, tradespeople, drivers and cooks, to name a few of the useful support professions that make life in Mexico an upgrade. Learn how to protect your workers and yourself in matters of litigation, social security, etc.
The Mexican social security system provides the following services for registered workers that are in the system:

  • Medical care
  • A government housing loan system
  • Retirement pension
  • Disability pension and coverage
  • Maternity pay and care
  • Basic dental care
  • Marriage, divorce and death support and funeral costs
  • Plus other benefits

Mexican labour law protects the worker and ensures that the worker’s rights are being respected.

If you have someone working for you, you should consult an expert to see which type of the following two scenarios are best in your situation, to protect yourself from litigation and to protect your workers:

  • If you are hiring someone for odd jobs, periodically (even if for one day) or someone that has another job, is retired under the social security system or is possibly under the age of majority, find out if you should be registering them as a domestic or other worker or if you should have a contract with that person that states that they are not your employee, what your rights and obligations are and what theirs are, a contract may be the way to go
  • If you have regular workers such as a cook, driver or maid that works with you on a regular basis, also have a contract drawn up that clearly specifies tasks, entitlements (if they live in your home for 20 years, are they entitled to inherit?), what the salary and benefits are, etc. and you should likely be making social security payments/remittances on their behalf

A few things to keep in mind when hiring temporary or regular workers in Mexico

  • If you have people that you pay a regular salary to, whether for periodic, weekly or daily work, it is the law in Mexico to provide that worker with statutory holidays off and one day off per week, typically Sunday, as well as 6 days of holidays per year
  • It is also the law to provide them with a Christmas bonus of two weeks of salary or what is more customary is to pay them 4 weeks of salary, that is paid to them at the beginning of December or before the 15th of December
  • Vacation pay is also due to them, you can typically pay them their regular salary for the vacation time, many workers will just take a day off here and there rather than several days in a row
  • They are due regular cost-of-living increases
  • Take into account their transportation costs (bus fares increase from time to time)
  • If a worker stays late, comes to help on a day off or comes or goes in heavy rain, it is polite to provide taxi money, whether the employee will use it for a taxi or take a bus and pocket the money
  • Services in Mexico are typically paid weekly for regular workers and at the end of a job for odd jobs, though it may be necessary to pay a deposit or pay for materials for an odd job to be done
  • In Mexico, it is not common to pay for something in advance, and typically paying for something in advance does not yield the best results
  • It is not very common for workers to mix with a family socially so you may find your workers feeling uncomfortable if you invite them to eat with you or have a beer with you after finishing a job and so on, they may also feel uncomfortable if you treat them and their family members as family of yours or as house guests, Mexico is still a classicism culture and these systems go back many generations
  • Ensure that any work performed by the workers is done with the necessary permits, in Mexico you need permits for cutting down trees, digging in your yard, building, etc.

In conclusion, be sure to avail yourself of professionals (lawyers, notaries, tax professionals) to ensure you and your workers are protected.

As a side note, be sure not to perform odd jobs for money yourself unless properly registered with the immigration or tax department.

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