This post was contributed by Yanet C. Aguiar, Partner, Norton Rose Caracas and Valentina Albarrán, Associate, Norton Rose Caracas.

In the modern age, work has become an increasingly important part of a person’s life. From the standpoint of western civilization, work is not only viewed as an activity people do in order to subsist, but as a true form of personal development.

From a very early age, children are taught to think about their future, questions such as; what do you want to be when you grow up, and school activities such as Career Day, send an important message about the value that we put into work and our professional lives. Our jobs have become not only our means for survival; but have merged into a true form of self expression. People want to achieve more, and faster.

The modern world is used to people working over time, weekends, and holidays to achieve professional development, wealth and excellence. However, such sacrifices come at a cost, those rich entrepreneurs and business tycoons, have had to give up something in their lives so they can fit in those demanding work schedules.

It is challenging for the average man to have a successful career and maintain in perfect harmony other aspects such as personal life, family life and individual fulfilment. In Venezuela, with the recent change in the labour legislation, the work schedule has been reduced from 44 hours a week to 40 hours a week and from 6 available working days to only 5 working days.

The aforementioned, has been linked to a policy regarding the importance of having a personal life that is as fulfilling as the professional one. Other efforts have been put front regarding a person’s ability to work from their own home.

The New Organic Labour Law contains a series of norms recognizing and regulating the work developed by people who have to work from their own homes, but under the subordination of an employer. This category of workers have the same labour benefits and duties as those employees working within the employers’ facilities, specially regarding working schedule, salary payment, vacation days, profit sharing and many others.

In fact, the Labour Law establishes among other requirements that:

  • Homo-workers’ salary must be equal to those rendering services within the employer’s facilities, as long as performance is equivalent.
  • Home-workers are entitled to be paid expenses or costs for using their domestic utilities (e.g. phone, electricity, etc) and maintenance of machines or work tools owned by the worker and used to render the service.
  • Employers with home workers must keep a registry and give them a book which must be sealed or stamped by the Labour Inspector Office.

It is expected for the legislative power to create a special law to further regulate such type of specific work, specially, when it comes to health and safety in the work place and the extent of the employers’ responsibility for household accidents.

Furthermore, it has become common among private entities to implement corporate policies allowing employees to render services not only from home, but also part time and flexible working-hours under special situations. In those cases, the labour benefits should be adapted to fit the special conditions of the employee. In that sense, Venezuelan legislation allows employers to adapt the employee’s salary to their actual working hours and conditions.

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