Find out the legal ways to adapt your employee schedules and tasks during Covid-19
It is important to guarantee stability for workers during the sanitary emergency in Ecuador. For that reason, the Ministry of Labour has emitted two resolutions (see below) allowing employers to reduce, modify or suspend worker schedules in the private sector during the sanitary emergency.
Also, the Ministry has declared that any employment that can be performed outside the workplace has to continue with the same working conditions (schedules and salary) through telework. The employer who is switching to this modality has to register it in the SUT platform of the Ministry of Labour’s website.outside
Here are four ways to adapt your employee’s schedule or tasks without having to lay them off.
Reducing working hours.
In agreement with the worker, work hours can be reduced up to 30 hours per week for a period of 6 months. The salary will be proportional to the reduction. If the employee consents to this measure, there is no illegal dismissal. This period can be renewed once.
Modification of working hours.
A worker’s schedule can be modified to include Saturdays and Sundays at a maximum of 8 work hours per day. However, even with a modified schedule, you need to guarantee rest for two consecutive days.
Suspension of the work schedule.
During the sanitary emergency, a worker’s schedule can be suspended with the guarantee that when the emergency is over, the worker can recuperate their hours.
The employer can determine how the worker(s) will recuperate this time, which must satisfy a maximum of 12 additional working hours per week, and/or, 8 hours on a Saturday.
During the suspension of work, the employer and the worker(s) can agree on different modalities of paying the worker(s)’ salary during the sanitary emergency.
It is important to note that worker’s rights, such as salary , are indisputable and non-negotiable, therefore, the worker can not renounce earning her/his salary during the emergency.
During the emergency it is also possible to legally discount any accumulated holidays an employee may have, or, to anticipate the worker’s holidays during the emergency. This former option has to be done with the worker’s consent.
How to implement these measures.
A worker will have to fill a form that is integrated in the SUT platform on the Ministry of Labour’s website in order to obtain a digital authorization from the Regional Directorate of Labour.
The employer will communicate to the employee approval and thus, the implementation of the measure.
Note that both resolutions from the Ministry of Labour, promote a dialogue and agreement between the employee and the worker in order to fulfill work tasks and schedules during the emergency, and avoid unnecessary layoffs.
Stay up-to-date with my next post that will provide more information on how the Covid- 19 has changed sectors of the economy, education, health and international relationships.
Resolutions of the Ministry of Labour
Contact me if you want to read the resolutions.
Res. Acuerdo No. MDT-2020-076, March 12th 2020. Res. Acuerdo No. MDT-2020-077 , March 15th 2020. Res. Acuerdo No. MDT-2020-080, March 28th 2020.