Work schedules that exceed the legal limits and their link with labor exploitation
Work schedules that exceed the legal limits and their link with labor exploitation

On June 07, 2024, the Official Gazette of the Federation, [in Spanish: el Diario Oficial de la Federación], published amendments to the General Law to Prevent, Punish, and Eradicate Crimes in matter of Trafficking in Persons, and for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of these Crimes [in Spanish: la Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar los Delitos en Materia de Trata de Personas y para la Protección y Asistencia a las Víctimas de estos Delitos]. 

In the amendments is added the crime of labor exploitation, with regard to work schedules that exceed those stipulated by law.  This amendment penalizes from 3 to 10 years in prison, along with fines ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 days, those who abuse one or more persons in the workplace. For people who belong to indigenous or Afro-Mexican communities, the prescribed penalty will be from 4 to 12 years in prison with fines from 7,000 to 70,000 days, pursuant to Article 21.

As per Article 21, labor exploitation is determined in the following cases:

  • When an unjustifiable or economic benefit is obtained directly or indirectly, or from any other of a similar nature.
  • When the benefit is obtained in an unlawful manner.
  • When it concerns extraneous work.
  • When it submits a person to practices that may pose a threat to his/her dignity, such as:

I. Dangerous or unhealthy conditions, without the requisite conditions, in compliance with labor laws or existing regulations in order to perform an activity or skill. 

II. The existence of a clear disproportion between the work that is carried out and the payment made for such. 

III. A wage that is below what is legally established.

IV. Work schedules that exceed what is stipulated by law.

Regarding the final point, we understand that labor exploitation is when the work schedule exceeds that which is in accordance with existing legislation, and therefore, must not be confused with an employment relationship that is regulated by the Federal Labor Act, [in Spanish: la Ley Federal del Trabajo], in which limits and penalties are established for exceeding the maximum number of work days. With regard to labor exploitation, an unjustifiable benefit must exist which was obtained in an unlawful manner and through extraneous work, wherein it poses a threat to the dignity of the persons involved.

Independently of the analysis performed, we caution that a different interpretation regarding the application and scope of the Human Trafficking Law, [in Spanish: la Ley de Trata de Personas], will always exist, whether from administrative or judicial authorities, workers, or unions. As such, it is of vital importance that companies perform a thorough review of their work structures, processes, and supporting documentation, in order to comply with all laws and regulations. 


Thank you for your time and attention. We would like to remind you that our team in JA del Río will gladly assist you in matters concerning compliance in your company, as well as offer you options and solutions to help address these provisions.  


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