In a brief overview, we look at work shifts and their foundation in and treatment under Mexical Federal Labour Law.
What is a work shift under Mexican labour law?
Pursuant to Mexican Federal Labour Law, a work shift is the time in which an employee is subject to the direction of the employer. That is, the time that the employee is dedicated to work under the supervision and subordination of the employer. The maximum duration of a work shift is 8 hours during the day (6am-8pm), 7 hours during the night (8pm-6am) and 7.5 hours on a mixed shift which includes a portion of hours in the day and night, with no more than 3 hours in the night shift. Any shift that exceeds 3 night-time hours is deemed a night shift. For all shifts an employee is bound to work 6 days a week; the work may be distributed in a way to allow flexibility but cannot exceed the maximum number of hours allowed.
Work break rules
In Mexico, all employees are entitled to a daily break of at least 30 minutes for meals and rest during a continuous work shift. Federal Circuit Courts have defined continuous work shifts as those during which the corresponding break may be enjoyed outside the employer’s facilities and do not surpass 60 minutes. Discontinuous work shifts are those in which the break period lasts more than 60 minutes and the employee is allowed to leave the employer’s facilities.
Federal Circuit Courts have ruled that an employee’s 30-minute break shall be considered as part of the work shift, as it is a minimum prerogative acknowledged by FLL in favour of employees. Therefore, the 30-minute break shall be included in the employee’s ordinary salary regardless of whether it is enjoyed inside or outside the employer’s facilities. Therefore, daily breaks are important regarding overtime calculation and pay, so employers must take care employees do not exceed the maximum amount of working hours allowed by FLL.
Reduced work shifts
In contrast, the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice has ruled that when work shifts last less than the maximums provided by law (reduced work shifts), granting employees the 30-minute break is not mandatory because its sole purpose is to avoid the employees’ excessive fatigue.