The General Labor Inspectorate is an agency of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in charge of verifying compliance with labor and occupational health and safety standards in the workplace.
With the recent amendments to the labor laws by the Congress of the Republic, the penalties for employers who do not comply with the obligations established by the Labor Code, labor regulations and even provisions of the International Labor Organization have been increased, ranging from 2 to 18 minimum wages for each obligation that has not been complied with, for example, not having an Internal Labor Regulation duly registered and authorized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, not having in force and registered individual employment contracts or not having up to date wage books, among other obligations.
It is worth explaining that these sanctions imposed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, through the General Labor Inspectorate, will increase over time as the minimum wage increases from year to year.
In other words, these are progressive fines, in which a single sanction of this nature can represent up to 48,680 Quetzals, taking into account that the current minimum wage is Q.2,704.80 for agricultural and non-agricultural activities, without including the Incentive Bonus.
Therefore, it is necessary for employers to keep everything in order so that at the time of a review carried out by the General Labor Inspectorate, either through a summons or a visit to the workplace, they can verify that they have fully complied with the law.
The General Labor Inspectorate may issue such citations or visits due to a complaint filed by a worker, and they have the power to physically arrive at the workplace and, in accordance with the Labor Code, they must be given all possible cooperation.
There is an administrative and judicial procedure that allows the employer to defend itself against such fines, but if the employer does not present the resources to make this defense effective within the established term, the fines will become final, which means that they can be collected, so it is necessary to act immediately upon receipt of a notification from the labor administrative authority and thus initiate the defense processes.
That is to say, within the labor contingencies there are not only those arising from workers' claims, but it is also necessary to take into account these sanctions imposed by the General Labor Inspectorate that can represent, if preventive and reactive precautions are not taken, a great contingency for the employer.
However, it is important to emphasize that the sanctioning regime of the General Labor Inspection is not only applicable to employers; therefore, workers who fail to comply with the provisions of the Labor Code and other labor regulations may also be sanctioned.
In conclusion, it is important to know the scope of the General Labor Inspection, to understand that a contingency of great magnitude can be mitigated with an internal labor order, but if a sanction is imposed and it is certain that it is not fair and it is not appropriate, it is essential to present the pertinent arguments to revert the decision that implies the imposition of a fine.