The government on Tuesday issued a decree forbidding dismissals and layoffs "due to force majeure or the lack or diminishment of work” for the next 60 days.
The extremely brief text of the decree, signed by the entire Cabinet, reads: “Within the framework of the public emergency in economic, financial, fiscal, administrative, pension, utility rate, energy, health and social matters (now extended to April 12) all dismissals without just cause and for reasons of lack or diminishment of work and force majeure are forbidden for the period of 60 days counting from the date of the publication of this decree in the Official Gazette. (March 31).”
This decree is a response to pressure from the CGT umbrella labour grouping. Italian-Argentinian engineering conglomerate Techint’s decision to terminate the contracts of almost 1,500 workers – a move strongly criticised by President Alberto Fernández over the weekend – was a further catalyst.
In order to ease the situation of companies now required to pay workers with often zero cash inflow due to the quarantine instead of firing them, the government also transferred 30 billion pesos to the Argentine Guarantee Fund, which will be available to MiPyMEs (micro-, small- and medium-sized companies) registered at the Productive Development Ministry.
Furthermore, the Repro programme of the ANSES social security agency is to pay a full minimum wage (16,875 pesos) to all companies employing 25 workers or less and half a minimum wage to companies employing more than 60 with those in between qualifying for three-quarters of a minimum wage.