On July 26, 2017, a forum was held in Panama called, “Labor immigration flexibility or restriction, what do we need?” organized by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives. Said forum served as a platform to discuss issues of national interest on legal and practical aspects of work and residence permits for aliens, legalizations and mechanisms in place for immigration control, labor immigration and their effect on human resources management, among others.
Morgan & Morgan was one of the principal sponsors of the event, with outstanding presentations from experts in the labor and immigration fields such as Maria Teresa Mendoza, partner in charge of the Labor Law Department of Morgan & Morgan.
Mr. Jose Carrizo, partner in charge of the Litigation Department, participated as well in his capacity as Chairman of the Juridical Matters Commission of the Association.
On June 21, 2017, the conference on “Risks in hiring job candidates” was held in Panama City, organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Mexico-Panama (Camexpa).
María Teresa Mendoza, partner in the Labor Law Department of Morgan & Morgan, took part as speaker with the theme “Legal aspects in the process of selecting candidates for a job”.
The event brought together a large number of professionals from different fields who are actively involved in the selection and recruitment of human resources in Panama.
Mediante la Ley No. 27 de martes 23 de mayo de 2017 se crea la licencia de paternidad para trabajadores de empresas privadas y servidores públicos.
- La Licencia de paternidad aplica para trabajadores, cuya esposa o conviviente en condiciones de singularidad y estabilidad, se encuentre en estado de gravidez.
- Para acogerse a la licencia de paternidad, el trabajador debe comunicar a su empleador, con una semana de anticipación, la fecha probable del parto.
- La licencia de paternidad será por un término de tres (3) días hábiles, que serán computados como tiempo efectivo de servicio, periodo en el cual el beneficiario no podrá laborar para otro empleador o por cuenta propia.
- El inicio de la licencia se computara desde la fecha de nacimiento del hijo o hija.
- El trabajador queda obligado a presentarle a su empleador el certificado de nacimiento que lo acredita como padre del menor.
- Está Ley está vigente desde el 25 de Mayo de 2017 (día siguiente a su promulgación).
María Teresa Mendoza Vallejo, Partner, Labor Law, Morgan & Morgan
On May 24, 2017, Act 27 of May 23rd, 2017 was published in the Official Gazette No. 28285-B of May 24th, 2017, which establishes the Paternity Leave, applicable both to employees of private sector, as well as to public servants, effective since May 25th, 2017.
This Act, whose initiative was promoted by the Ministry of Labor, is based on the duty of the Panamanian state to protect the family, sacred in our Constitution. Family protection includes paid compulsory leave for pregnant women, known as maternity leave, which in addition to taking care of the mother’s health, seeks to ensure the child’s survival in the last weeks of gestation, as well as guaranteeing she is cared for and tended to by her mother.
This protection for the child has been extended, taking into consideration that the international trend is to promote the participation of men in family responsibilities and child development, with the creation of the Paternity Leave. A recent study entitled Paternity Leave and Parental Leave in Latin America and the Caribbean; Indispensable Tools to Encourage More Parent Involvement in the Care of Sons and Daughters states: “In most Latin America and Caribbean countries, institutional reform is necessary to encourage the incorporation of women into the labor market and to promote greater participation of men in the care of their children. In order for both partners to work in a remunerated way and, in turn, perform parental functions in a shared manner, it is necessary to extend to the male workers the care guarantees that are not linked to the exclusively procreative biological function of women: pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. In this sense, paternity leave and parental leave are useful tools to advance, from the work environment, towards overcoming the old model “male provider and female housewife.” ((1) Lupica)
Paternity leave is more common in developed economies from Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. However, it has begun to be adopted in Latin American. Countries, such as, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. Panama, with this new Act, is in tune with the world trends, since until now this concept only existed in some collective bargainings.
Characteristics of the recently approved Paternity Leave in Panama
- Paternity leave applies to male employees and public servants, whose wife or cohabiting partner, in conditions of singularity and stability, is in a pregnant state.
- In order to qualify for paternity leave, the employee must inform the employer, one week in advance, of the probable date of birth.
- The paternity leave will be for a term of three (3) business days, which will be counted as an effective working time, during which period the employee benefited with the license will not be able to work for another employer or for himself.
- The leave will start from the date of birth of the son or daughter, meaning that the employee cannot legally postpone the enjoyment of that leave.
- The employee is obliged to submit to his employer the birth certificate certifying him as the father of the child.
It is important to note that since days of paternity leave are considered according to law, effective working time and, there is no subsidy from the Social Security Fund, it must be the employer who assumes the payment of the salary corresponding to the three (3) business days corresponding to the leave.
This law constitutes a great advance in the subject of gender equality and also benefits the parents, since it allows them to develop a closer relationship with their children from very early on, something that was previously reserved to a greater degree for the mother.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the text of the Act is really short and leaves some gaps. Among the questions that can arise in the implementation of the leave, is how to prove the condition of singularity and stability of the couple when they are not legally married. The Act does not establish a period of time to determine the stability of a couple, nor what means of proof would be adequate to demonstrate coexistence under conditions of singularity. For example, situations may arise where a legally unmarried couple may have some time living together but they do not meet the requirements for their union to be registered as a de facto marriage or even if they do meet the stability requirement by being together for several years one of the members of the couple may be still legally married to another person.
These gaps should be corrected, in the regulatory decree, which we hope will be issued promptly in order to facilitate the implementation of this Act.
- Lupica, C. (2016). Licencias de paternidad y permisos parentales en América Latina y el Caribe. Herramientas indispensables para propiciar la mayor participación de los padres en el cuidado de los hijos e hijas. Masculinities and Social Change,5(3),295-320. doi: 10.17583/MCS.2016.2083.