The STPS creates a controversy in regard to the status of workers upon companies stopping activities.

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, we find that a controversy has arisen in regard to the interpretation of companies’ obligations toward their employees at the moment of suspending work.

The problem arose as the result of a document released on Thursday by the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), headed by Luisa María Alcalde, called “The employment situation in face of Covid-19”. It is said that the employer can suspend work, without the need for a declaration of a health contingency, as long as it continues paying the workers’ salaries and benefits. So far, few within the ranks of the PI question the need for providing support to their employees during the contingency, but as deadlines to control the pandemic are extended beyond April 30, a date defined yesterday, many companies will seek to adhere to the provisions of the law on these matters, particularly after the collapse of income. Maybe large companies have some leeway, but this is not the case of micro SMEs.

2009 provided a learning experience, with the AH1N1 influenza, and in 2012 two new articles were added to the Federal Labor Law, 427 and 429, in order to specify employment obligations during a health contingency. For example, the interruption of activities doesn’t even need to be approved by the Conciliation and Arbitration Board. Additionally, a compensation of one day of salary for each day of the suspension, for a period not to exceed one month, is provided for. Up to last night, the STPS stated that this was not yet applicable, since a health contingency had not been declared. Yesterday, Gustavo de Hoyos’ Coparmex [Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic] took the bait and requested that this status be declared.

However, in the opinion of labor experts Oscar de la Vega and Eduardo Arrocha the health contingency already existed de facto, since the General Health Council acknowledged the epidemic and approved the measures for its control, which were then published by Health, headed by Jorge Alcocer, in the DOF [Official Gazette of the Federation] on March 24.

It is made known, in any case, that what is required, in accordance with the provisions of Article 429, Section Seven, is to declare the suspension of work, as it has already been done in Sonora by Claudia Pavlovich, which is the reason that the maquila industry companies have already stopped working.

There are warnings of the very serious consequences that may arise as a consequence of the statements made by the STPS, not only in the case of companies, but also negatively affecting workers, by remitting them back to the lack of definition of the times before Articles 427 and 429 were added, with zero accountability in regard to the payment of salaries and benefits and even in regard to the conservation of jobs. In other words, a risk of future trouble for not abiding by the Rule of Law.

SAT still not expediting VAT refunds

Even though a few days ago the SAT [Tax Administration Service] headed by Raquel Buenrostro announced that it would expedite VAT refunds in order to help in solving the flow problems faced by companies due to the emergency, the reports from tax specialists say that there is no change in the status of this matter up to this moment, which means that support to working capital has not arrived, even from this source.

Pfizer to Relieve Puga next week

Rodrigo Puga left the helm of Pfizer México on January 31 after being appointed vice-president of Global Marketing for this company. Tanuj Mehta, commercial regional director for LA, steps up as the interim head. Nevertheless, it is expected that there will be news in regard to the new head of the pharmaceutical company by next week. We’ll see.

Interjet’s aircraft seizures add up to 11

Specialized media reports indicate that it was not only four airplanes that were seized from Miguel Aleman’s Interjet by different lessors. In reality, and according to Airfinance Journal, four units were seized first, and then another seven. The firms that recovered the airplanes, due to a lack of confidence in the direction in which the airline managed by William Shaw is headed, are GECAS, AerCap, ACG, Aircastle and Wings Capital.

Opinion Article “Nombres, nombres y… nombres” published in El Economista, Opinión [Opinion] Section by Alberto Aguilar.