Argentina post Covid

Argentina takes action to face the decrease in employment decrease and economy caused by the pandemia

Argentina, like all countries in Latin America, has suffered a sharp decrease in its economy due to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus. The Government of Alberto Fernandez has had to promote measures to mitigate the decrease in employment, as well as the closure of companies.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) defined coronavirus as a pandemic, the suggestion of staying at home has forced companies to request all their personnel that could work in this mode to do home-office.

The Argentine legislation does not consider home-office in its legal frame as such. Instead, several labour laws cover this activity, the main being the Employment contract act (LCT by its Spanish acronym, Act 20,744 of 1976) and the regulatory framework (Act No. 25,800), which confirm the ILO (International Labour Organization) Agreement No. 177.

Faced with this reality, the Argentine government is proposing a bill to regulate home-office, defining it and setting the minimum requirements and conditions for its implementation, such as enabling a place to work remotely, regulating the working time agreed in writing, thus preventing connection outside the agreed working hours and during a leave.

“The bill considers a reversibility clause, which would allow a worker to return to work in person, and the text empowers the worker only to withdraw their consent for remote work. This part of the project has been criticized by some specialists in labor law since it violates Articles 64 and 64 of the Law on employment contracts, which provides that the powers of organization and management of the company belong to the employer”, says Darío Diaz, director of Englobally Argentina.

The home-office Law introduced by the executive power, which consists of 20 articles, also addresses voluntariness in its article, where it states that the change of a person from working in-person to a remote modality, except in accredited cases of force majeure, must be voluntary and established in writing.

The same bill establishes three months (90 days) for regulations to enter into force after the end of the exceptional regime’s validity period, taken by the executive power, of social, preventive, and mandatory isolation.

Regarding other measures to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, the Argentine government decreed the postponement or reduction of property taxes for employers to SIPA (Argentine Integrated Pension System) by up to 95%; a complementary salary charged to the state office for employees depending on the private sector; zero-rate loans for self-employed workers; and economic benefits for unemployed people with a minimum amount of AR$ 6,000 and a maximum of AR$ 10,000.

Companies of all sizes, especially micro, small, and medium-sized companies, have faced difficult times because of the pandemic. The federal public revenue administration (AFIP by its acronym in Spanish) has taken measures to help them by extending the deadline before adherence to the moratorium 2020 until July 31st, allowing regularizing tax commitments, for both social security and customs.

Post-pandemic measures

Reactivating the economy and generating employment are the goals that the Argentine government has proposed with the package of 60 measures to address the post-pandemic situation.

This includes comprehensive help for businesses, companies, SMEs, self-employed people, and single-taxpayers aimed to provide ease to those with tax debts or reschedule plans.

To promote the consumption of goods, it is evaluated to reinstate the plan Ahora 18 for purchases in 18 installments, and to encourage the inflow of capital that is abroad and that has a specific production investment purpose.

A further extension, for the third time, of the emergency family income, as well as the employment and production assistance plan are included in the economic recovery plan (ATP by its acronym in Spanish). This ATP will be extended until the end of the year for companies with up to 600 employees who suffered a negative turnover during the last 12 months, until June 2020.

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