Bolivia: Employment & Labour Law (3rd edition)

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This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to employment laws and regulations that may occur in Bolivia.

This Q&A is part of the global guide to Employment & Labour Law. For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/practice-areas/employment-and-labour-law-3rd-edition/

  1. Does an employer need a reason in order to lawfully terminate an employment relationship? If so, describe what reasons are lawful in your jurisdiction?

    In Bolivia an employer needs a legal reason to terminate an employment relationship according to the labour law in the 16th article, which means that the employee has to make, for example:

    • Damage in work materials.
    • Reveal industrial secrets
    • Actions that affect the industrial security.
    • Leave work for more than six days whit out permission.
    • Breach of contract
    • Renounce the work
    • Stealing in the place of work.
  2. What, if any, additional considerations apply if large numbers of dismissals (redundancies) are planned?

    It would have to make agreements between the parties, which are framed in the law.

  3. What, if any, additional considerations apply if a worker’s employment is terminated in the context of a business sale?

    All social benefits would have to be paid, including eviction, which means the value of three additional salaries.

  4. What, if any, is the minimum notice period to terminate employment?

    Currently in the legislation of Bolivia, there is no deadline to notify a dismissal. Before there was a period of 3 months, however, article 12 of the General Labour Law was repealed by law, and that period was left without legal effect.

  5. Is it possible to pay monies out to a worker to end the employment relationship instead of giving notice?

    There is no notice in our legislation, but, regarding payment, the payment of the eviction could be granted, which is relative to three 3 months of salary.

  6. Can an employer require a worker to be on garden leave, that is, continue to employ and pay a worker during his notice period but require him to say at home and not participate in any work?

    It does not apply to our legislation.

  7. Does an employer have to follow a prescribed procedure to achieve an effective termination of the employment relationship? If yes, describe the requirements of that procedure or procedures.

    Yes, a procedure to conclude the labour relationship must necessarily be followed. In Bolivia, every worker has job stability, according to Article 48 of the Constitution of the State, so, the employer, before dismissing the employee must perform an internal summary prior to dismissal, in accordance with Constitutional Judgments No. 1262 / 2013 of August 1, 2013 and SC 0079/2015-R of October 14 and with other related regulations, the right to due process and the legitimate defence of the worker must be guaranteed.

  8. If the employer does not follow any prescribed procedure as described in response to question 7, what are the consequences for the employer?

    In case the employer does not perform the procedure described in question seven, the employee will have the right to choose, between collecting the payment of their social benefits including the eviction, or request the reinstatement to their source of work, in accordance with the Decree Supreme 28699. So the consequence for the employer could be:

    • That the worker demands the reinstatement of labour.
    • That the worker demands the payment of all his social benefits, including the fine of the eviction, being able to accede before a labour judge in case of breach in the payment.
  9. How, if at all, are collective agreements relevant to the termination of employment?

    There are no such collective agreements in our legislation.

  10. Does the employer have to obtain the permission of or inform a third party (e.g local labour authorities or court) before being able to validly terminate the employment relationship? If yes, what are the sanctions for breach of this requirement?

    It does not apply in our legislation.

  11. What protection from discrimination or harassment are workers entitled to in respect of the termination of employment?

    In Bolivia there is Law No. 045 of October 8, 2010 "Law Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination". so the Bolivian worker is legally protected in this regard.

    Regarding the termination of the work, because of discrimination or harassment, the worker could:

    • That the worker demands the reinstatement of labour.
    • That the worker demands the payment of all his social benefits, including the fine of the eviction, being able to accede before a labour judge in case of breach in the payment.
  12. What are the possible consequences for the employer if a worker has suffered discrimination or harassment in the context of termination of employment?

    In addition to those indicated in the answer to question 11, you could sue the employer in criminal matters.

  13. Are any categories of worker (for example, fixed-term workers or workers on family leave) entitled to specific protection, other than protection from discrimination or harassment, on the termination of employment?

    Yes, there are workers who have reinforced job stability or commonly known as immobility, these are:

    • Those parents who have a child under 1 year of age.
    • Those who have the legal status of physically "disabled".
    • Those that belong to the directory of a union.
  14. Are workers who have made disclosures in the public interest (whistleblowers) entitled to any special protection from termination of employment?

    It is not legislated in our legal system.

  15. What financial compensation is required under law or custom to terminate the employment relationship? How do employers usually decide how much compensation is to be paid?

    The labour regulations establishes the type of benefits that a worker must have who has concluded a work relationship with the employer. In order for these social benefits to be activated it is necessary that the worker had more than three (3) months old, in the case of a worker being employed and one (1) month, in case of being a worker. These benefits vary according to the time worked and if the worker has voluntarily resigned or if he has been dismissed. Let's see:

    In case of resignation, it would correspond:

    • Compensation (one salary per year)
    • Aguinaldo (one salary per year)
    • Vacation (in case of having more than 1 year old)
    • Prima (in case the company has obtained profits at the end of the accounting management)

    In case of dismissal, it would correspond:

    • Eviction (equivalent to three salaries)
    • Compensation (one salary per year)
    • Aguinaldo (one salary per year)
    • Vacation (in case of having more than 1 year old)
    • Premium (in case the company has obtained profits at the end of the accounting management)
  16. Can an employer reach agreement with a worker on the termination of employment in which the employee validly waives his rights in return for a payment? If yes, describe any limitations that apply.

    It can reach an extra-legal agreement, but in which the worker does not renounce his labour rights, but declares to have received the same, since in Bolivia labour rights are inalienable by law.

  17. Is it possible to restrict a worker from working for competitors after the termination of employment? If yes, describe any relevant requirements or limitations.

    It is not possible to restrict the right to work, since it is established in the Constitution of the State.

  18. Can an employer require a worker to keep information relating to the employer confidential after the termination of employment?

    Yes, you can, as long as the worker signed a confidentiality commitment document.

  19. Are employers obliged to provide references to new employers if these are requested?

    Yes, whenever the employer is obliged to issue a work certificate to the worker at the conclusion of the work relationship

  20. What, in your opinion, are the most common difficulties faced by employers in your jurisdiction when terminating employment and how do you consider employers can mitigate these?

    The labour regime in Bolivia is quite biased in favour of the worker, so it is very complicated to legally dismiss an employee. It is necessary to apply due process prior to dismissal, which guarantees due process and the legitimate defence to the worker to be sanctioned or dismissed.

    It is important and basic for the employer, that in the workplace there is a suitable employment contract and that the memoranda that are issued have the corresponding legal effectiveness.

  21. Are any legal changes planned that are likely to impact on the way employers in your jurisdiction approach termination of employment? If so, please describe what impact you foresee from such changes and how employers can prepare for them?

    Under that concept, there is no current change plan.