A telecommuting law seeks to modernize the labor code in Panama

A bill passed by Parliament that regulates, for the first time in Panama, the remote labor task, intends to open the way to modernize the Labor Code in order to attract more foreign investment and generate jobs, its proponent told Efe.

This is Bill 76 approved on Thursday in the third and final debate by the plenary session of the National Assembly (AN), which establishes and regulates teleworking, a modality that is not contemplated in the Panama Labor Code but which It certainly is exercised in the country.

In the explanatory statement, the proponent of the initiative, the independent deputy Raúl Fernández, points out that telecommuting "is not something new" in Panama, but that "just as it is old, so is its clandestinity or characteristic informatics" .

For the deputy it is "essential" that there is a general regulation that protects the worker and defines the rules that the employer must keep in mind, making the labor relationship contemplated in the 1972 Labor Code less "strict."


The rule, which awaits the sanction of the Executive, which already vetoed it last October due to the inconvenience of some of its articles, defines teleworking as the form of organization or performance of distance work carried out by a person partially or completely in sites other than the establishment of the employer, including the worker's own domicile, through the use of information and telecommunications technologies (ICT).

The parties are responsible for the beginning of the employment relationship and agree to the provision of work under the modality of teleworking, and the teleworker shall have the right to the recognition by Social Security of the accidents occurred in the provision of services in said modality whenever they occur in the period consigned contractually to execute its work.

The rule covers other details, but does not mention the trades or activities in which telework could be applied, which is subject to free agreement between the employee and employer, but "tacitly" recognizes that the link can be created through ICT and multinational companies that are based in the country.


Deputy Fernández told Efe that the spirit and reason of this law is to "regulate teleworking in Panama, which many companies practice but under legal uncertainty," and said that it will have positive effects on the teleworker.

There will be a "substantial improvement" in your personal quality of life, in the economy and in health, "since you would not have to waste between four to six hours (in moving daily) to fulfill your daily work" as is the case of those They live on the periphery of the capital, which in turn will impact job performance.

Fernández said that the motivation that led him to propose this initiative was to contribute to the update of the Labor Code with the new times and modalities, such as the payment by electronic transfer of funds for the teleworker, which in fact made "under uncertainty. legal "multinational companies based in Panama.

He stressed that this uncertainty also involves the teleworker because the Labor Code establishes "taxatively" that the employee has to carry out his work for eight continuous hours in the employer's offices, but now with this law he becomes more flexible. "

"I said it from the (electoral) campaign that I was going to work to modernize our Labor Code, which is from 1972 and needs brushstrokes (of changes) in order to attract foreign investment and generate more jobs."


The Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, said that the entity will ensure the rights of the worker in this modality of teleworking in terms of, for example, the payment of overtime, so it will analyze "how it will be given regulation of these works ".

"This is a new modality that we would be implementing in Panama, and as a new modality of course we have to review each of (the stipulations) of what is established in the Labor Code," Zapata said.

Deputy Fernandez has taken the floor to the Minister of Labor and is optimistic that this regulation of the law is given in about a month after its sanction by the Executive.

Fabio Agrana


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