Viewing cable 06GUATEMALA593
Title: GUATEMALAN COURT ADDRESSES DOMESTIC LABOR ISSUES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06GUATEMALA5932006-03-23 22:32:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #0593 0822232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 232232Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9241
INFO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
UNCLAS GUATEMALA 000593 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB PHUM PGOV GT
SUBJECT: GUATEMALAN COURT ADDRESSES DOMESTIC LABOR ISSUES 
 
REF: A. 05 GUATEMALA 56 
 
     ¶B. 05 GUATEMALA 280 
     ¶C. 05 GUATEMALA 341 
     ¶D. 05 GUATEMALA 577 
 
¶1. Summary:  Guatemala's Constitutional Court suspended two 
articles of the Guatemalan Labor Code that exempted domestic 
laborers from standard legal protections.  The International 
Labour Organization (ILO) has had a standing recommendation to 
Guatemala to reform these articles for more than seven years. 
End Summary. 
 
¶2. On March 22, the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended 
Articles 164 and 165 of the Labor Code, which specifically 
exempted domestic workers from protections officially enjoyed 
by other workers.  Article 164 exempted domestic workers from 
regular limits on hours in a work shift and consecutive days 
worked, instead requiring only that domestic workers receive 
10 hours off per day, eight of which must be continuous and at 
night.  Article 164 also allowed six additional hours off on 
Sundays and holidays. 
 
¶3. Article 165 guaranteed the right of an employer to fire a 
domestic employee if she had a contagious illness or any other 
illness that incapacitated the worker for more than a week. 
Under such a condition of dismissal, the employer would be 
obliged to pay severance of no more than four months salary, 
regardless of the length of service of the employee, and no 
other severance benefits of any kind.  (Note:  Article 165 
also guaranteed the right of the employee to resign if the 
employer had a contagious illness, but this had no meaning as 
all employees have the right to resign at any time.  End 
note.) 
 
¶4. Those interested in the Guatemalan Labor Code are 
encouraged to consult its text, available on the Department of 
Labor funded website:  leylaboral.com/guatemala. 
 
¶5. Comment:  For good or ill, the Constitutional Court has 
been the only method of reforming Guatemala's Labor Code since 
2001, when the last significant revision was enacted by 
Congress (see Refs A-D, regarding the removal of sanction 
authority from the Labor Inspectorate).  Legislative proposals 
to reform the code -- as recommended by the ILO -- to protect 
domestic workers and child laborers and to codify restrictions 
against sexual harassment have languished in the Tripartite 
Committee.  Ironically, one of the ILO recommendations is that 
all Labor Code reforms must be vetted by the Tripartite 
Committee.  Thus, each committee member has veto power over 
all proposals, leaving judicial review as the only effective 
method of labor law reform. 
 
DERHAM