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Increase in Vacations Will Boost Country's Productivity

By Francisco Martínez Domene - Adecco


By Felipe Martinez | Business Development Director - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 10:00

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On a global level, Mexico was among the countries with the fewest vacation days. In Latin America, it ranked last. However, this has changed thanks to the approval of the "dignified holidays" reform, which was published in December in the nation's official gazette and notes the right for all workers to 12 days of vacation from their first year of employment.

Without a doubt, this is great news, not only from a social point of view, but also from a productivity perspective for the country and the companies in Mexico. It was an issue that had been pending for a long time and has been  a key demand among Mexican labor unions; even more so considering that Latin American nations, such as Brazil and Nicaragua, grant workers 30 days off in their first year of work.

We are still below what the International Labor Organization (ILO) recommends as a minimum rest floor, which corresponds to 18 days for each year of work, but the important consideration is that a great step has been taken regarding dignity of work in Mexico. It seems to me that we should celebrate this from the point of view of labor justice; especially considering that since the pandemic, 36 percent of workers globally have suffered exhaustion, or burnout, due to overwork.

According to data from the Global Workforce of the Future study, carried out by Grupo Adecco in 25 countries, including Mexico, 24 percent of Latin American workers believe  their well-being has worsened in the last 12 months because of their work. This should concern companies as an exhausted workforce is detrimental to the business in terms of productivity as well as fostering toxic environments that lead to an inefficient and costly labor market.

Given this, we can say that specific actions are being carried out to combat job burnout for the benefit of Mexican workers, of which 42 percent correspond to the millennial generation, 40 percent are Generation Z, while Generation X and baby boomers make up  32 and 20 percent respectively.

However, it is also important to point out that these actions in favor of workers will cause certain complications in the internal functions of employers due to the fact that, in most companies, budgets are organized  and authorized at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year (between October and November), which implies that the costs of actions like providing  decent vacations or increasing the minimum wage have been left out of that plan.

This means that companies have to adjust the initial budget for  labor and human resources issues to match the increase in labor cost that these actions imply, which is not a minor issue.

To face these labor and fiscal obligations, other benefits for staff must be left out. These may include training, support for secondary benefit programs for workers or any other action that the human resources area had planned  to implement in 2023.

It is clear that companies will have a difficult start to the year as they work  to fully comply with these new provisions, which, as I have mentioned, we must applaud because they will create positive momentum in the Mexican market in general. Having healthy and happy employees means that productivity will  increase,  which can also result in an improvement in the Mexican work culture.

By this, I mean that these initiatives can be the beginning for the Mexican labor market to not only improve in terms of benefits for workers, but also in terms of the level of labor competitiveness. We can, in turn,  our ranking on labor efficiency where our associates are more effective compared to the number of hours worked.

It seems to me that we are facing an unbeatable opportunity to take advantage of all these positive drivers to improve as people, companies and as a country to generate a new social contract that allows the growth of the Mexican labor market.

Within this new social contract, we must consider the three fundamental pillars for the growth and development of any economy or country: the government, the private sector and educational institutions. Working together, these entities must create a work environment of the future to improve people's working conditions.

On the one hand, educational institutions must ensure that their knowledge offer is focused on the real needs of industry to narrow the gap between what has been learned and the skills and knowledge required in the future. The government must work to improve the necessary conditions for companies to generate greater job opportunities while also supporting training, continuously and free of charge, in those skills that the new labor market demands. Finally, the private sector must promote the generation of new job opportunities, based on the new economic dynamics that are taking place globally, with the clear objective that jobs are of better quality and with a future of significant growth for the person carrying out the work.

These actions, by each of the three relevant participants in the economy, will naturally generate  jobs that are decent, formal and with a better salary than those currently generated.

Photo by:   Francisco Martinez

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