The business sector proposes to set differentiated minimum wages and the Ministry of Labor confirms the idea of ​​regionalizing them

This should be by geographic district, productive sector and maintain a relationship with productivity, said the president of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (Cacif), Hermann Girón.

The businessman said this Friday, December 17, that the idea of ​​having different minimum wages in different productive and geographical sectors of the country is an excellent start and that from the business sector represented in that organization, they propose that remuneration be set in relation to productivity . “Only by achieving this alignment will we be able to generate more formal employment in Guatemala,” he added.

Cacif considers that the generation of formal jobs, with the protection of social security and the labor benefits that it entails, is the best way to contribute to social development in Guatemala, because due to the informality that exists in the country, few people in the stage productive of their life access to the minimum, added the manager.

When asked about the productive sectors that should define the above, he explained that each one has its own dynamics, so it is difficult to answer specifically. Currently, the wage setting mechanism recognizes the difference between agricultural, non-agricultural and maquila / export activities. However, he insisted that a system with more diversity of sectors and geographic constituencies would be more effective.

“In addition, the part-time work methodology is still under development, which will allow people who currently cannot work full-time, to access the protections of a formal job,” he explained.

The employer sector had asked in the joint commissions and in the National Salary Commission (CNS) that the minimum wage for next year did not have increases and that the current one remain in force, while the labor sector proposed raising it to Q150 per day.

However, President Alejandro Giammattei, decided an increase of 4.75% for the salaries of the three activities, an aspect that was made official with the publication of Governmental Agreement 278-2021 in the Diario de Centro América.


This percentage is within the range estimated by the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat) at the request of the CNS, when applying a formula that the commission established since 2012 to calculate the minimum wage and that with updated data, reflected the possibility of an increase that it would range between 4.26% and 7.26%. When the Minister of Labor, Rafael Rodríguez, was asked why an increase in the low range of these possibilities was decided, he explained that it was a proposal, which includes a formula not yet accepted by the three sectors (government, labor and employer).

This would take into account the population increase, economic growth, the inflationary level and a percentage for productivity. However, on this occasion the inflationary level criterion was used, plus 1.5% considering that no wage increases had been made for several years.

Rodríguez said that he asked the CNS to discuss the issue in 2022, within a salary policy, if that formula or others are used to serve different activities or economic districts.

Regional salaries, in process and analysis

The Ministry of Labor (Mintrab) announced last year the intention to implement regional salaries through economic districts based on article 105 of the Labor Code and during 2021 several proposals were handled ranging from 10 of these districts to only two, called the Central Zone, made up of the department of Guatemala, and the Regional Zone, which will be made up of the urban and rural areas of the rest of the country’s departments.

Rodríguez explained that the issue is still under analysis, but the expectation is that before the end of this year, the economic districts will be established so that in 2022 the minimum wages for 2023 can be discussed for each of these.

Apart from establishing these zones, the joint commissions for each zone must be convened in each of the three current economic activities (agricultural, non-agricultural, as well as export and maquila) or any other that is defined. “It is a novel way of applying the minimum wage, because although it exists in the Labor Code, it has not been used,” added the official.

It may interest you: The regional minimum wage would be based on the following indicators and factors

The union and labor sector has opposed this intention, arguing that what is sought is to lower minimum wages in different regions, affecting workers. In this regard, the ministry has indicated that the salary that is in force when the decision is made will not be lowered, but that this will be the basis for applying the new salaries, different for each constituency.

  • “(Set salaries by constituencies) It is a novel way of applying the minimum wage, although it exists in the Labor Code, it has not been used”, Rafael Rodríguez, Minister of Labor.
  • “The idea of ​​having different minimum wages in different productive sectors and geographies of the country is an excellent start. From the business sector represented in Cacif we propose that the salary should be set in relation to productivity ”, Hermann Girón, president of Cacif.

New writing

On the other hand, the government decided to make a modification in the aforementioned government agreement and establish the minimum wage per day and that to make hourly work payments, the amount has to be calculated proportionally, according to economic activity and working hours.

The wording of the articles was that way, to avoid confusion about how the salary should be applied to the different days, the authorities added.

This proportional calculation per hour is also the one that must be applied to part-time employment contracts in cases where full-time positions are based on the minimum wage.

In article 5 of the agreement, which refers to special cases of contracting and payment, it is established that workers, in no case, may have a lower salary than that established in said agreement.

However, for part-time, the payment will depend on the hours worked and the day in which the employee works, authorities explained.

In general, verifications will be made of the payment and of non-compliance, the sanctions range from 8 to 18 non-agricultural minimum wages (which would be between Q23 thousand 673 to Q53 thousand 266) for each worker who is paid less than what is stipulated.

In addition, the Mintrab reported that on December 16 operations began to verify compliance with the payment of the Christmas bonus by employers.

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