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Aguinaldo in Mexico: annual employee bonus could double

Many countries in Latin America have a statuory annual employee bonus. This is called an aguinaldo in Mexico, and may soon increase from 15 to 30 days of pay.
Mexican flag to illustrate article on aguinaldo in Mexico. By Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

In Mexico, one of the benefits employees receive is an annual bonus, known as the “aguinaldo,” which currently stands at 15 days of a standard monthly salary, but could soon rise to 30 days.

The initiative to double the aguinaldo in Mexico was presented by Deputy Manuel de Jesús Baldenebro Arredondo, who represents governing party Morena in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.

The aguinaldo in Mexico is a right established in the Federal Labor Law, but has not been adjusted for more than 50 years since it emerged as a benefit in 1970.  

Deputy Manuel de Jesús Baldenebro, who presented legislation designed to double the annual employee bonus, or aguinaldo in Mexico.
Manuel de Jesús Baldenebro Arredondo. Source: X

Baldenebro Arredondo, who is also president of the Labor Commission of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, delivered the initiative to reform the first paragraph of Article 87 of the Federal Labor Law to the Permanent Commission of the Congress of the Union.  

That paragraph states: “Workers will have the right to an annual bonus that must be paid before December 20, equivalent to at least fifteen days of salary”. 

The proposed reform to double the aguinaldo in Mexico is under consideration for now and parliament will debate it before a vote. 

While doubling the aguinaldo in Mexico may seem a significant increase, it would actually only place the country on par with many other Latin American nations, including the likes of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, to name a few, where the statutory annual bonus for employees already stands at one month of a standard salary.

Visit the Serviap Global knowledge base to get a better idea of annual bonuses and other statutory benefits for employees throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

Increasing the aguinaldo in Mexico is not a new idea

The initiative was presented on August 9 and aims to close the gap between the bonus received by workers in private industry and those in the public sector, who enjoy a 40-day bonus.  

According to prominent newspaper El Economista, this initiative to double the amount the aguinaldo in Mexico had previously been promoted by senators Gabriela Benavides, Alejandra Lagunes, and María Graciela Gaitán of the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico in February 2023.  

According to the senators, this increase would help the national economy to flow and benefit not only employees but also companies, because the increase in income would help boost consumption.  

A year before, in March 2022, Deputy Alfredo Aurelio González Cruz, also of Morena, had proposed to increase the aguinaldo in Mexico to 40 days’ salary. 

In December 2021, Deputy Reynel Rodríguez Muñoz, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, had already presented a project to equalize the bonus for private sector workers with that of bureaucrats at 40 days of salary, in addition to incorporating gradual increases linked to seniority as is the case in other countries in the region, such as El Salvador

What happens next? 

To make the doubling of the aguinaldo in Mexico from 15 to 30 days a reality, the Congress of the Union, a committee made up of deputies and senators who create and modify the current regulatory system, must approve the proposal to amend the first paragraph of article 87 of the Federal Labor Law. 

The initiative must be submitted to a vote to enable private sector workers in Mexico to enjoy a 30-day annual bonus. Two-thirds of those present, both deputies and senators, must agree with the modifications or additions, and the majority of the state legislatures must approve them. 

How is the aguinaldo in Mexico usually paid? 

In addition to the fact that the aguinaldo in Mexico must be equal to at least 15 days of a standard salary for private sector employees, it must also be paid before December 20, according to Article 87 of the Federal Labor Law. Likewise, it cannot be exchanged for any other benefit, such as additional paid time off.  

Image of the Palacio de Artes in Mexico City DF to illustrate article on the aguinaldo in mexico. By Carlos Aguilar on Unsplash.
Palacio de Artes in Mexico City

The same legislative article indicates that even workers who have not completed one year of service, regardless of whether they are working or not on the date of payment of the bonus, will have the right to receive a payment proportional to the time served during that calendar year. 

Additionally, all subordinate employees, which related to anyone who works standard full time hours, regardless of their contract type, are entitled to receive a payment proportional to the time served during the year.  

In case of non-payment of the aguinaldo in Mexico, the Federal Labor Law indicates that an employer may pay a fine ranging from 4,811 Mexican pesos (US $280) to 481,100 MXN (US $28,000), an amount fixed by the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare after verifying the non-compliance. 

The aguinaldo in Mexico compared to other countries 

Mexico has one of the smallest statutory annual bonuses for private sector employees in Latin America, where this type of bonus is very common. At 15 days of a standard monthly salary, the bonus is also smaller than those enforced in other countries around the world.

Furthermore, according to the National Occupation and Employment Survey, four out of every ten workers do not even receive an aguinaldo, due to working in atypical or informal conditions.  

In Guatemala, for example, the annual bonus is not only mandatory but corresponds to a month’s salary paid at the middle and end of the year. In European countries like Austria, an extra month is offered as a 13th-month salary, typically as a Christmas bonus. In Asia, especially in China, the compensation may be paid as an extra month’s salary during the Chinese New Year (February) or spread evenly throughout the payroll. 

In the United States, bonuses are not mandatory. It is up to companies to offer a bonus to their employees, usually in the form of a Christmas bonus or gifts in kind, such as food vouchers, gasoline, or even travel. 

Annual bonus in Mexico compared to other selected countries: 

CountryCurrent statutory annual bonus for private sector employees
ArgentinaOne standard monthly salary
AustriaTwo standard monthly salaries divided into two bonuses
BrazilOne standard monthly salary
ChinaOne standard monthly salary
ColombiaOne standard monthly salary
Costa RicaOne standard monthly salary
GuatemalaOne standard monthly salary
Mexico15 days of a standard monthly salary
United StatesNot mandatory
The aguinaldo in Mexico compared to other nations

Serviap Global offers global hiring solutions 

At Serviap Global, we assist clients global hiring in more than 100 countries worldwide, having started out in Mexico more than a decade ago. Our expertise in Latin America and other regions that we have grown into has seen us earn  a reputation as experts in helping companies to recruit talent in emerging markerts. 

Our services include international PEO / EOR services, independent contractor hiring, and global talent acquisition for companies seeking top talent to hire directly.  

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you. 

If you were interested in this article on the aguinaldo in Mexico, check out the rest of our coverage.

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