Reducing the workday to 6 hours will decrease productivity and increase inflation: specialist

Note published on August 16 in Milenio, Negocios [Business] Section by Silvia Rodríguez.
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Many companies would have to hire more personnel, which would raise costs that would be transferred to the price, to the detriment of the consumer.

Even though it is legally viable to reduce the workday from eight to six hours, it is advisable to have an open dialogue with the parties involved, as this could result in a decrease in productivity and make it necessary for companies to hire more personnel to cover shifts, which would lead to an increase in costs which would end up being transferred to prices and would create inflation, warned the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm.

“Companies require productivity; reducing working hours, which means fewer man hours at the service of the company, will surely affect the results that certain industries had planned as well, particularly in the maquila industry, which works on 24-hour shifts”, pointed out Héctor de la Cruz, a partner at the Firm.

“Upon adjusting the maximum working hours to six hours, this will lead to a reconversion of the way of working in companies, it could even lead to the point of needing more people to perform certain tasks in order to deliver goods and services, this will have an impact on companies’ costs. At the moment in which the cost increases as a result of having to increase the number of workers, the cost will be transferred to the final product or to the service that is being provided, to the detriment of the final consumer”, he stated.

“Therefore, it is not only a matter of dignification of the worker’s labor life, but it also has an impact on the productivity of companies”, he told MILENIO.

The lawyer explained that the focus of discussion of working hours is centered on the dignity of work; that is, that the worker can have more time at his disposal for personal matters, to be with his family, spend more time at home and is related to other regulations, such as the reform on teleworking matters or NOM 35.

“It is part of a set of laws that seek a better quality in the worker’s personal life (…). But it is possible that the debate will center on the worker’s human right to a dignified life and also to the right of companies of obtaining the most out of their businesses. It is highly probable that, if this reform is approved, many companies will say: you will work less time and, therefore, I will reduce your salary, which will have an impact on the worker’s income and that would bring about a social problem”, he said.

In this sense, Héctor de la Cruz warned that the matter of salary would have to be “cast in iron” so that the worker is not affected, but this also affects productivity; it would be useful to make a call for public dialogue in order to hear all opinions, reach a consensus and bring it into a Mexican reality.