Employees entitled to minimum employment rights
All employees, whether local or foreign.
The working week consists of 5 days. Employees are entitled to 2 continuous rest days per week.
The limits on daily and weekly hours differ depending on whether the shift is a regular daytime shift, a regular nighttime shift or a mixed shift.
- On a regular daytime shift, work is performed between 5:00am and 5:00pm. This shift cannot exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
- A regular nighttime shift consists of any work scheduled between 7:00pm and 5:00am. It cannot exceed 7 hours per day and 35 hours per week. Nighttime shift hours must be paid at least 30 percent above the rate applicable to daytime shifts.
- Mixed-shift work is performed during both daytime and nighttime shifts, but a mixed shift of more than 4 hours during a nighttime shift is regarded as a nighttime shift. A mixed shift employee cannot work more than 7.5 hours per day and 37.5 hours per week.
Employees are entitled to a daily break of at least 1 hour during their shift and cannot work more than 5 consecutive hours. If the employee must remain at their workstation during the break, at least half of the break will be deemed as time worked.
Employers with continuous operations that involve multiple shifts may exceed the daily and weekly limits. However, the hours worked in a reference period of 8 weeks may not exceed an average of 42 hours per week. A 6-day working week must be compensated with an additional day of vacation per 6-day week, to be added to the employee’s annual vacation entitlement.
The following employees are exempt from the general rules about working time:
- Employees holding managerial or top-level positions
- Employees with monitoring, surveillance and inspection duties that do not require prolonged efforts and
- Employees with on-duty waiting time periods (eg, employees who are meant to relieve another employee where needed), or employees with intermittent or discontinued activities, that involve long periods of inactivity, but must remain on call at their posting.
Although the general working time rules do not apply to these cases, they must observe a limit of 11 hours per day and an average of 40 hours per week within an overall reference period of 8 weeks.
Overtime work (ie, any work performed in excess of the regular working shift) may only be done if authorized by the Labor Ministry. If, as a result of unforeseen and urgent circumstances, the employer cannot request authorization for overtime work, it must notify the Labor Ministry the day after the overtime was performed and must provide evidence of the reasons for the overtime.
Working shifts including overtime cannot exceed 10 hours per day. Employees cannot work more than 10 overtime hours per week and more than 100 overtime hours per year.
The employer must keep a register of overtime hours concerning who worked overtime, the specific tasks carried out during such time and what compensation was paid for overtime work.
The Venezuelan president sets the minimum statutory wage paid to employees. The minimum wage is adjusted periodically. The latest minimum monthly statutory wage published in the local official gazette was set at VES130 (equivalent to approximately USD6.34 at the official exchange rate in force as of January 20, 2023).
Employees are entitled to receive 15 working days of paid vacation if they have worked for more than 1 year, plus 1 additional working day for each additional year of employment up to a maximum leave period of 30 working days per year.
Additionally, employees receive a vacation bonus equal to 15 days of salary after 1 year of employment, plus 1 additional day of salary per additional year of employment up to a maximum vacation bonus equal to 30 days of salary per year. Such bonus must be paid to the employee at the time the employee takes their vacation. The employer must keep a registry of vacation days for all its employees.
Employers are required to ensure that their employees effectively take their vacation every year. Vacation may be accrued for up to 2 years.
Sick leave & pay
Employees may take leaves for sickness or labor-related incapacity for up to 52 weeks. In order to claim sick pay, employees are required to provide a medical certification, as issued by the Venezuelan Social Security Institute.
During the first 3 days of sick leave, the employer must pay the employee’s full salary. Thereafter, the employer must pay 33 percent of the employee’s salary, and the remaining 66 percent will be paid by the Venezuelan Social Security Institute. Some employers pay the employee´s full salary during sick leave, as payments by the Social Security Institute are often severely delayed.
Maternity/parental leave & pay
Employers must grant maternity leave of 6 weeks before birth and 20 weeks after birth. Employees on maternity leave are entitled to receive 33 percent of their salary from the employer with the remaining 66 percent paid by the Venezuelan Social Security Institute, for the entire duration of leave.
Adoption leave of 26 weeks is available if a child is adopted at the age of 3 years or younger. The Venezuelan Social Security Institute pays the employee a portion of the employee’s salary (66 percent) during this period, and the remainder (33 percent) is paid by the employer.
Employees are entitled to 14 days’ paternity leave. The Venezuelan Social Security Institute pays the employee’s full salary during this period.
Other leave/time off work
During the first year of the child's life, parents are entitled to 1 day of paid leave per month for the child’s regular health checkups. In support of this, they must submit a medical certificate issued by the health center to the employer.
Venezuelan labor law allows unpaid time off from work for reasons such as when:
- The employee is required to render civil or military service.
- The employee is involved in a collective conflict that has occurred following the procedures established in the labor laws.
- The employee is party to a criminal proceeding, as long as it does not result in a conviction.
- The employee needs time to care for his or her spouse or close relatives up to the first degree of consanguinity.
- The employee carries out studies or take leave for other purposes of interest to him or her.
- Acts of God or force majeure occur that result in the temporary suspension of work (in these cases, authorization must be requested to the Labor Inspectorate within 48 hours from the event).
In such cases, the employee is not entitled to pay, but during the time of the leave (i.e., suspension from work) their seniority continues to accrue. During the leave, the employer must also continue to pay:
- Provision of housing and food to the employee.
- Contributions to the Social Security System, Housing, and job training institute.
- Benefits agreed in the Collective Bargaining Agreements.