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Reduction, Suspension and Modification of Labor by the State of Exception due to COVID-19

As of March 28, 2020, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labor for the reduction, modification or emergency suspension of working hours in the private sector, during the Emergency Declaration, have been amended in the following terms:

How does the reduction, modification or emergency suspension of the working day proceed?
  • Permission to reduce working hours for a period not exceeding six months remains authorized. This period can be renewed for up to six more months in a single occasion.

  • The employer is allowed to modify in an emergent way, the working hours of its workers including Saturdays and Sundays, for up to 40 hours per week. The mandatory rest of two consecutive days is guaranteed. 

  • In cases in which, due to the nature of the business, it is impossible to continue working by teleworking, reduction or modification of the working day, the suspension of the working day is maintained. This does not imply the end of the employment relationship.

  • The employer can request the suspension, reduction and modification of the working day electronically in the registry in the Unitary Work System to obtain the approval of the competent authority.

  • In addition, the parties may agree to suspend the employment relationship without remuneration in the form of unpaid leave. To proceed in this way, it is necessary for the worker to express his/her consent in writing (an email will suffice).

How will the emerging workday be recovered?
  • It must be done once the declaration of sanitary emergency has been completed, with all the rights and obligations in force before the declaration.

  • The form of recovery may be freely determined by the employer, at times of up to 12 hours per week and on Saturdays 8 hours per day.

How should the remuneration be paid in the event of suspension?
  • No overtime and overtime surcharges will apply.

  • The worker’s remuneration is non-waivable. However, the employer and worker may freely agree on a payment schedule for as long as the emerging suspension of the working day persists.

  • Workers who do not recover the suspended working hours will have to return the unduly payed salaries received from the employer and/or will not have the right to receive the salaries as agreed upon the payment plan with the employer.

How does the vacation scheme operate?
  • The employer may set the start and end dates for the use of the accumulated vacation period to which the worker is entitled.

  • Additionally, upon agreement with the worker, the employer may allow the enjoyment of early vacations.

Working arrangements to be agreed
  • Considering the circumstances of the workplace and business, employer and worker may freely agree on work modalities that respond to specific situations. This does not imply a waiver of the workers’ rights.

For the application of this and any other Labor Regulation during the State of Exception, you can contact us at lmaldonado@tzvs.ec.

You can access the full text of the Ministerial Agreement No. MDT-2020-080 of March 28, 2020 in the ‘DOWNLOAD RELATED MATERIALS’ section (Spanish version only).