New work-from-home (WFH) regulations, that come into effect in six months, have just been announced by Mexico's Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS).
Back in 2022, a Bank of Mexico study showed that while 22% of jobs in the country could be done remotely, only 11% of them actually were. With the opportunity to work from home not widely available, new regulations – known as NOM-037 – hope to close that percentage by laying down several key requirements.
Aiming to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of remote workers, the regulations are seemingly cracking down on what employers can ask of their employees, as well as the requirement to cover some of the costs related to teleworking.
New Regulations for Mexican Remote Workers
The new standard for telework safety conditions states that employers must ensure those working from home have all the tools they need to do their job effectively. This includes ergonomic chairs, computers, tablets, smartphone, printers and ink.
The new regulations define telework as those who are working remotely for 40% of the time or more.
Employers must cover the costs proportional to the electricity and internet used while getting the job done. In addition, environmental factors also come into play, with the regulations stipulating that there must be adequate ventilation and lighting in an employee’s home for them to work there. If not, it would be considered unsafe.
A Better Work-Life Balance for All
A “right to disconnect” has also been established as part of NOM-037, which means employers cannot obligate anyone to work more than their contracted hours when working from home.
This regulation aims to respect the employees’ right to disconnect at the end of the working day, helping to resolve a long-running complaint that many Mexican employees have.
Pay also comes into play under these regulations, with the rules stating that remote workers cannot be paid less than those who go to an office. They must also have set work hours.
Together, these stipulations should help create a better work-life balance that is globally considered to be the main benefit of working from home.
Plus, as well as increasing employees’ quality of life, the STPS has estimated that remote positions could save companies more than 86,000 pesos per employee, per year.
At a time when many firms are going back on their remote work policies, Mexican authorities are trying to secure the option for those who want to work from home.
Checks in Place to Ensure Compliance
Developed by a team of government and business experts, along with members of labor unions, the regulations were sent to the Mexican government for evaluation and approval. The aim has always been to address both workers’ and employers’ rights.
“It is a norm that derives from the reform to the Federal Labor Law that was enacted in 2021. It is very important because it clearly regulates and establishes the obligations of both employers and the workers themselves in this modality,” – Luisa María Alcalde Luján, Head of the STPS.
To ensure compliance, employees may be asked to show documentation proving their home meets the new requirements. Similarly, employers may be asked to carry out inspections to confirm this.
Employers are also required to talk to their employees about the potential risks of working from home, such as burnout and lone working. In fact, it has been recommended for employers to create a policy promoting face-to-face communication channels, where possible, to avoid social isolation.
These regulations are a milestone for both employers and employees in Mexico. However, it’ll take some time for the practical effects to show and potentially inspire other countries to create similar legislation.