Venezuelan labor rights may not be waived by the parties, that is, they are rules of public policy and the Labor Law’s provisions must be applied even over the will of the parties. In addition, the principles of favor, non-waivability, intangibility and progressiveness of labor rights are a warranty to prevent a retreat in achieved workers’ rights.
In this sense, such principles in one way or another limit the will of the parties in an employment relationship, which is why, if a worker voluntarily abstains from accepting the warranties that the labor legislation grants her/him, such wish will be deemed null and void. In fact, under Venezuelan labor legislation the principle of progressiveness provides that employment benefits shall become more favorable over time.
Moreover, pursuant to the Law on Prevention, Working Conditions, and the Work Environment, employers must ensure that workers actually take their annual vacations and that they in fact rest after each day’s work and holidays.
1. Vacation and Vacation Bonus
- Workers are entitled to take 15 working days per year of paid vacation upon completion of one uninterrupted year of service, plus one additional working day for each subsequent year of service, up to a maximum of 15 additional working days.
- Workers are also entitled to receive, when taking their vacations, a payment of 15 days of salary as a “vacation bonus” upon completion of the first uninterrupted year of service, plus one additional day’s salary for each subsequent year of uninterrupted service, up to a maximum of 30 days of salary.
- During vacation, workers have the right to receive the nutrition benefit.
- Payment of the vacation, the vacation bonus, and the nutrition benefit must be made before the vacations start.
- The opportunity to enjoy the annual vacations must be agreed between the worker and the employer, and may not be postponed for more than three months, counted as of the date that the right occurred, except for accumulation or postponement for family reasons. The accumulation of a vacation period is permitted to allow the enjoyment of up two continuous vacation periods, when the purpose of such accumulation is convenient for the worker who so requests.
- Vacations not enjoyed by workers cannot be forfeited; on the contrary, they have to be accrued for the worker’s next year vacation.
- If there is any remaining vacation days entitlement at the end of the employment relationship, the employer has to compensate the worker.
2. Holidays and Rest Days:
- Workers are entitled to paid public holidays and weekly rest days as prescribed by the Labor Law, the Law of National Holidays, and as declared by government, state or municipal authorities.
- The following days and dates are holidays for the purposes of the Labor Law: Sundays, January 1, Monday and Tuesday of Carnival, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, May 1, and December 24, 25 and 31; the days listed in the Law of National Holidays, including April 19, June 24, July 5, July 24 and October 12; and those days declared holidays either by the Government or the State or Municipal authorities, up to a maximum of three days per year.
- Holidays are compensated by the payment of one working day’s salary. When a monthly salary has been agreed upon, the payment of holidays and the required weekly rest days are included in the salary.
- When a worker works on a holiday for four or more hours, the worker is entitled to be paid for that day plus a 50% surcharge.
- A worker who works on a mandatory weekly rest day for four or more hours is entitled to a paid compensatory rest day during the following week. If the worker worked for less than four hours, the worker is entitled to a paid half compensatory rest day during the following week.