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Since the Constitution of the Republic of El Salvador was enacted in 1983, our legislators had a debt with the population, in the absence –as established in Article 38 ordinal 12– of a law that determines “the conditions under which employers are obliged to pay, their permanent workers who resign their jobs, a financial benefit whose amount shall be fixed in relation to wages and hours of service.”

After the Supreme Court of Justice, through a resolution dated February 1, 2013, ordered the Legislative Assembly to fulfill its constitutional duty and work to pass a law regulating the payment of an allowance to workers who quit their job, on December 18 2013, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador adopted the Economic Benefit for Voluntary Resignation Law, which, as stated in the Constitution, provides an economic benefit or rather a kind of “compensation” to those workers who, having more than two consecutive years working for the same employer, resigned their job.

As noted by the Law in question, its enforcement starts the first day of January 2015. From that day on, if a worker who already has over 2 years of service decides to resign, he or she will have the right to receive from their employer an amount equivalent to 15 days’ basic salary for every year of service, not being able, for calculation purposes, exceed the basic salary of two minimum wages. Moreover, he or she has also the right to receive the Christmas bonus and annual vacation bonus full or proportionate, as the case may be. The employee, to qualify to receive such compensation, shall comply with giving notice to his or her employer at least 15 days in advance before the date on which the resignation will be effective in the case of employees whose positions are: directors, managers, administrators, headquarters and skilled workers; and 15 days when employees have not been appointed in such positions.

It is important to notice that said Law, clearly states that if an employer refuses to pay the economic benefit, it will be presumed that this is an unfair dismissal and therefore, the employee is entitled to complain before the Ministry of Labor and the Labor Courts, to obtain full compensation according to what is stated in the Labor Code.

Written by: Erwin Haas, Partner.