Working in Argentina

Working hours, salaries and labour regulations

Depending from where you are coming to Argentina, it might take some time to adjust to the working culture, hours and salaries. Besides paying a lot of attention to your appearance, this section will tell you what else to take into account when working in Argentina.

Working Hours & Salaries

Salaries in Argentina took a downfall after the crisis. Recently wages are rising again. In September 2005 the minimum wage in Argentina was raised from AR$ 350 to AR$ 450/month. The average wage in Argentina in 2005 was AR$ 539/month. The amount of wage varies according to the level of education you have.

In 2004, average monthly wages were as follows:

  • People with an academic degree AR$ 813
  • High school diploma AR$ 539
  • High school not completed AR$ 388
  • Primary school completed AR$ 353
  • Primary school not completed AR$ 279

Many people in Argentina work without having a contract, they earn on average AR$ 305/month. Average wage levels vary according to geographical location. In 2004, the averages for the city of Buenos Aires (AR$ 881.5) and the Ushuaia – Rio Grande (AR$ 852.5) where the highest in the country. Corrientes (AR$ 329.4) and Salta (AR$ 356.9) had the lowest averages in Argentina. In 2004 the annual gross salary for an engineer in Buenos Aires was US$ 10,500. The annual gross salary for an industrial skilled worker in Buenos Aires in 2003 was US$ 5,100.

The legal maximum working time is 8 hours/day and 48 hours/week. However, the regular working week cannot exceed 44 hours/week for daily work, 42 hours/week for night work or 36 hours/week where work is performed in hazardous or unhealthy environments. Work is normally not permitted on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, although the authorities do make exceptions depending on the occupation. Overtime rate is 50 percent extra, for work performed from Monday until 1 PM on Saturdays, and 100 percent extra for work performed thereafter and/or on public holidays.

Any worker aged over 18 had the right to earn the minimum wage. This is set by collective agreement, which varies depending on the occupation and industry. In addition to regular pay, an employee is entitled to a bonus ( aguinaldo) equalling one month’s pay per year. It is calculated on the basis of the annual average pay; half is paid in June and the other half in December.

Labour regulations

The LCT ( Ley de Contrato de Trabajo/Law on Contract Employment) is a law that regulates employment contracts, rights, employer/employee obligations and wage protection. However, According to the September 2005 data of the Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC), 4.8 million Argentineans are not formally registered by their employers.

Contracts of employment are generally signed for an unlimited time-period. Fixed-term contracts are allowed but have to be written and cannot exceed a period of 5 years. Contracts for work for an undetermined duration are also possible, as are contracts for internships.

When an employee terminates a contract the notice period is 15 days. When an employer terminates an employment contract, the length of notice depends on the employee’s length of service.

  • 15 days when the employee has less than three months of service
  • one month when the worker’s length of service is between three months and five years
  • two months when the length of service is more than five years, except in small enterprises where the notice period is never more than one month.

Paid leave is granted to employees who have completed at least 6 months of service with the same employer over a period of 12 calendar months. Its length depends on the workers seniority: it is:

  • 14 calendar days when the worker has less than 5 years of service
  • 21 days from 5 to 10 years of service
  • 28 calendar days from 10 to 20 years of service
  • 35 calendar days when the employee has more than 20 years of service.

It is forbidden in Argentina to employ female workers between a period of 45 days before and 45 days after childbirth.

Disputes

If you are treated illegally, it is possible to sue your employer. This can also be the case with work which has not been registered. You can also sue in the case of Child labour or if the Ley de Contrato de Trabajo (Labour Contract Law) is broken, for example if you are not paid. If you have a problem with your employer, call the national government number 0800-666-4100 or email .

There are also regional offices all over the country. A list can be found here .

Further reading

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Other comments

  • Daniel, 24 May 2011 Reply

    Update 2011 needed

    Thanks for this great article!

    However, since the salaries mentioned refer to the status quo in 2004, I was wondering if anyone could help out with an update for 2011?

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