On January 23, Executive Decree No. 39/2021 was published in the Official Gazette, which orders:
- Extending the state of exception in occupational matters until December 31, 2021.
- Extending for 90 calendar days the ban against dismissals without just cause and dismissals and suspensions grounded on reduced or decreased workloads and force majeure.
- Extending the duplication of severance payments until December 31, 2021.
- Extending the presumption that the COVID-19 infection is an occupational disease.
With respect to dismissals without just cause, the Decree maintains as an exception the ban against suspensions pursuant to Section 223 bis of the Labor Contract Law. Dismissals and suspensions in breach of the Decree will be null and void, have no legal effect, and maintain in force any existing labor relations and their current conditions.
On the duplication of severance pay, in cases of uncontested dismissals without just cause, affected employees are entitled to receive twice the corresponding severance pay under the terms of Decree No. 34/19 and in no case may that duplicated severance pay exceed five hundred thousand pesos.
Similarly, the Decree extends for 90 calendar days the presumption that the COVID-19 infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is an unlisted occupational disease, with respect to employees who have performed their tasks in the workplace, i.e. outside their homes.