The recent reforms to the Labor Code approved by the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador through Legislative Decree Number 244, dated February 14, 2019, are based on the constitutional recognition of jobs as a social function protected by the state, as well as the a public good that related to the health of the population as a whole.

In this respect, the approved reforms aim to grant employment stability to individuals suffering from chronic disabling diseases that require frequent medical treatments and rehabilitation, or that need specialized technical and medical attention, along with prior validation of their doctor, in order to guarantee favorable working conditions.

This reform prohibits employers from making distinctions, exclusions, or dismissals of workers who are diagnosed and certified through the official institutions related to the health sector as suffering from the relevant health conditions. The decree also recognizes that workers have the right to maintain their positions under identical conditions to those they had before a medical certification of their health conditions without any reductions to pay due to their health conditions.

The reform prohibits employers from assigning pregnant workers and workers with the relevant health conditions to jobs that require physical efforts incompatible with their condition, as of being diagnosed and until they no longer have the condition.

The reform guarantees affected workers job stability from the issuance of a medical diagnosis until three months after medical treatment has been concluded. The duration of job protection applies without prejudice to the termination of the employment relationship for a reason regulated in Article 50 of the Labor Code.

Finally, the reform requires the Salvadoran Social Security Institute to cover the entire daily disability subsidy to workers during the time required for their treatments, as well as the time required for recovery.

In conclusion, the reform aims to improve the quality of life for workers with chronic disabling diseases and their families by ensuring employment stability for the period established by law, provided that official institutions certify the diagnosis.

Written by Karlo Vásquez of Arias and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins

© 2019 Arias and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, P.C.