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Last updated on: December 28th, 2023

Labor Requirements

The Guatemala workforce consists of an estimated 1.93 million individuals employed in the formal sector and roughly 4.47 million individuals who work in the informal sector, including some who are too young for formal sector employment. The Labor Code sets out employer responsibilities regarding working conditions, especially health and safety standards, benefits; severance pay; premium pay for overtime work; minimum wages; and bonuses.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The ordinary working day shift day cannot be more than 8 hours a day, nor exceed one total of 48 hours a week. Daytime work is the one that runs between 6 and 18 hours on the same day. The normal weekly work day will be 45 hours of effective work, equivalent to 48 hours for the exclusive effects of salary payment. They are excepted from this provision, agricultural and livestock workers and of the companies where he works a number less than 10, whose normal weekly day labor will be 48 hours of effective work, except custom more favorable to the worker. But this exception should not be extended to companies where 500 or more workers work. Labor Code, §116.



Effective work executed outside of the limits of time that determine the previous articles for the ordinary day, or that exceeds the lower limit that contractually, it is agreed, it is an extraordinary day and must be remunerated with at least fifty more than minimum wages or higher wages to those who have been prompted by the parties. Labor Code, §121.


Maximum daily: Including Extraordinary

The ordinary and extraordinary days may not exceed a total of 12 hours a day, except in very qualified exception cases that are determined in the respective regulation or that by sinister occurred or imminent risk, people, establishments, are in danger, machines, installations, plans, products or harvests and that, without obvious harm, it is not possible to replace workers or suspend the work of those who are working. Employers are prohibited from ordering or allowing their workers that they work extraordinarily in tasks that for their own nature are unhealthy or dangerous. Labor Code, §122.

Night Work

The ordinary working night shift cannot be greater than 6 hours a day or exceed a total of 36 hours a week. Effective working time is that in which the worker remains at the employer’s orders. Night work is the one that runs between 18 hours a day and 6 hours the next day. Labor Code, §116.


Every worker has the right to enjoy one day of paid rest after each week of the job. The week will be computed from 5 to 6 days according to, custom in the company or workplace. Those who work by a unit of work or by a commission, are will add one-sixth of the total salaries earned in the week. Labor Code, §126.


Whenever a regular ordinary day is agreed, the worker has the right to a minimum break of 30 minutes within that day, which should be computed as effective work time. Labor Code, §119.

Work On Rest Days

In the companies in which they are executed works of a very special nature or of a continuous nature, according to the determination that the regulation must make, or in specific highly qualified cases, as determined by the General Labour Inspection, you can work during days of rest or weekly rest, but in these assumptions the worker has the right to it, without prejudice of the salary that for such break or weekly rest is canceled the time worked, comparing it as work extraordinary. Labor Code, §128.


Payment Method for Work Performed

Payment of weekly rest days or of holidays must be done in accordance with the daily average of ordinary and extraordinary salaries that the worker has accrued during the immediate week previous to the rest or break in question. It is understood that when the salary is paid per fortnight or per month, implicitly includes the payment of the days of weekly rest or of holidays that are not worked. Labor Code, §129.

Public Holidays

The Guatemalan Labor Code recognizes the following dates as the public holidays with paid leave:

      • January 1: New Year’s Day
      • March / April Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Easter, Holy week
      • May 1: International Workers’ Day known as Labour Day
      • June 30: Army Day
      • September 15: Independence Day
      • October 20: Revolution Day
      • November 1: All Saints Day
      • December 24: Christmas Eve (Noon award)
      • December 25: Christmas Day
      • December 31: New Year’s Eve (Noon onward)
      • The local holiday (usually a patron saint)

The employer is obliged to pay the weekly rest day, even if one or more days coincide in the same week of holiday, and also when a day of holiday coincides paid and a weekly rest day. Labor Code, §127.

Annual Leave


An employee is entitled to paid vacations of 15 consecutive days per year after completing 12 months of continuous work with the same employer. The worker must have worked at least 150 days in the last year to be entitled to the license. There is no provision in the law that shows that the vacation premium increases with seniority. The amount that the worker is entitled to receive for an annual leave is an average of his ordinary and extraordinary remuneration in the last three months (for agricultural workers) or last year (for other categories of workers).


The amount of the annual vacation payment must be paid to the worker before he or she enjoys this permit. The employer is required to indicate to a worker the proposed calendar of annual leave within 60 days of qualifying the annual vacation. When planning the annual vacation, the employer must give priority to the good running of the company and the effectiveness of the rest periods and not overload the workers who will stay to work. The Labor Code does not allow the division or accumulation of annual leave in general cases. However, if the work is of a special nature, where the long absence cannot be allowed, the annual vacation can be divided into more than two parts. Work is prohibited during the annual leave. A worker cannot receive compensation for annual leave, except in the case of termination of the contract before the holiday. A worker is entitled to compensation for a proportional vacation if there is a termination before completing a year of service. Labor Code, §130-137.

Special Leave

Sick Leave

According to the Labor Code, workers are entitled to sick leave for up to 6 months, provided that the insured worker has made contributions for 3 months during the 6 months before the sick leave begins. Two-thirds of a worker’s average income are paid as sickness benefit, up to a maximum of 180 days; It can be extended to 39 weeks. The combined maximum benefit for several periods of disability is 52 weeks in a 24-month period. The maximum benefit is GTQ 2,400. §28 & 31 of Decree no. 295, National Profile of the ISSA.


Grant of Leave with Pay 

      • When the death of the spouse, or parent or child, three (3) days.
      • When the worker got married, five (5) days.
      • Birth of son, two (2) days.
      • When the employer expressly authorizes others permits or licenses and has indicated that these will be also paid.
      • To answer a judicial summons for the court to take the appearance and as long as it does not exceed half a day within the jurisdiction and one day out of the department in question.
      • For the performance of a union function, provided that this is limited to members of the Executive Committee and does not exceed 6 days in the same calendar month, for each of them. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the employer must grant leave without pay to the members of the aforementioned Executive Committee that they request it, for the necessary time to attend the attributions of his position.
      • In all other cases specifically provided for in the collective agreement or agreement of conditions of the job.

Labor Code, §61(o).

Maternity Leave

Women workers are entitled to a maximum of twelve weeks (84 days) as maternity leave. The general duration of maternity leave is 30 days before delivery and 54 days of post-natal leave. Maternity leave may be extended in case of an illness caused by pregnancy or childbirth, provided that the period does not exceed 3 months, starting from the moment the license was taken (In essence, it is an extension of 36 days after making use of the 54 days post-natal). Labor Code, §153.


Right of lactation

All workers during breastfeeding may arrange in the place where the worker works, break of half an hour twice daily during their work in order to feed their son. The worker during lactation may accumulate the two half hours to get right and enter an hour after the start of the day or leave an hour before it ends, in order to feed your youngest son or daughter. Labor Code, §154


Any employer who has at his service more than 30 workers are obliged to prepare a room for the purpose for mothers to feed their children without danger under three years and so they can leave them there for working hours, under the care of a suitable person designated. Labor Code, §155.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.