Recent Jurisprudence – Half Hour Rest Break in Reduced Workdays

January 16, 2010
Recent Jurisprudence – Half Hour Rest Break in Reduced Workdays

The Second Chamber of Mexico's Supreme Court published in the Judicial Weekly of the Federation case decision number2a./J.150/2009, the title of which reads "Half Hour Rest Breaks in the Workday to Continue as Set forth in Article 63 of theFederal Labor Law. Treating such according to reduced work days is inapplicable." In its decision the Court establishes thatthe half hour rest break provided in article 63 of Mexico´s Federal Labor Law, for cases involving a full continuousworkday, continues to exist in order to avoid excessive fatigue of the employee while providing labor during the day whensuch workday continues for the maximum permissible time allowed under law. As such, as a general rule, when anemployee works a reduced work schedule that is understood to be a time period less than the legal time period allowed, theintermediate rest break shall be considered unnecessary and not legally required. The above applies given that in a reducedworkday, the workplace risks are decreased or eliminated, and such mandatory rest break is not justified. On the contrary,according to the court it would be extreme to suppose that a half hour rest break should be required in a work day lastingtwo or three hours, which would be in conflict with the equilibrium sought in Mexican labor rules and article 2 of theFederal Labor Law. Notwithstanding the above, the Supreme Court signaled that the general rule could have exceptionssince the current law provides for the possibility of establishing shorter maximum workdays, in accordance with the natureof the work, which could be extremely taxing physically or mentally on an employee, requiring each case to be reviewedindividually in order to determine the necessity of said rest breaks during the workday.

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