The Third Collegiate Court of the Twenty-Seventh Circuit recently published legal opinion number XXVII.3o. J/30 (10a.) titled: Promissory Notes. Even in the Case of a Default Judgment, the Court has the Obligation to Protect and Safeguard the Human Right to Freedom from Usury.” In this legal opinion, the Court found that the failure to respond by a defendant leading to a default judgment does not constitute a legal impediment to analyzing the factors listed by the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SJNC) in another legal opinion as a guide for evaluating the excessive nature of an interest rate in an objective manner. The foregoing takes into account that the Court has the capacity and obligation to protect and safeguard the human right to freedom from usury, in accordance with that established by the Federal Constitution, and in the American Convention on Human Rights, further considering that from a practical point of view, some of the factors referenced by the First Chamber of the SJNC are disclosed in the information contained in the lawsuit (such as the specific facts of the case). Moreover, other relevant facts in these cases do not require introduction of evidence by the parties as they are disclosed on official printed or electronic materials as they relate to financial indicators.
On December 14, 2015, the Agreement to Establish the System for Notices of Work Related Accidents was published, and the forms to be used by employers, workers or their family members for the filing of such notices of work related accidents and deaths due to work related accidents or illnesses with the Department of Labor and Social Provision (“STPS”), were promulgated. Employers or their representatives shall, whether electronically or in writing, file notices of work related accidents or deaths with the STPS. In order to file the notices electronically, employers must register with the SIAAT, which is the electronic system created for the purpose of facilitating the filing by employers of the referenced notices with the STPS. All employers with work places located in Mexico can access the SIAAT when they have knowledge of a work related accident or death. Employers who choose to file the notice of work related accident by means of the SIAAT must use their electronic signature and possess a valid digital certificate issued by the Mexican Taxpayer Administration Service, the public and private codes, and shall follow the procedures indicated in the SIAAT user’s manual. Once the SIAAT receives a notice, it will issue an electronic acknowledgement of receipt as proof of delivery. The STPS will make the following forms available on its website for those employers who elect to file in writing: (i) notice of work related accident, to be used by employers who elect to deliver the notice of work related accident in writing; (ii) supplemental information to the notice of work related accidents, to be used to supplement the information entered on the notice form for work related accidents; and (iii) notice of work related accidents, to be used by workers and family members when the notice is filed by the injured workers or their family members in situations where the employer did not file the notice within 72 hours following the accident.
On February 4, the Decree for the promotion of strategic duty-free areas was published, in addition to the regime for strategic duty-free areas (Decree), by means of which various benefits are established for Mexican strategic duty-free areas in order to promote their creation and operation. Currently, only 12 strategic duty-free areas exist. The Decree came into effect on February 5, 2016, and it establishes the following benefits for taxpayers who obtain authorization to place merchandise in strategic duty-free areas: (i) tax incentives for such taxpayers; (ii) reduced customs duty rates; and (iii) administrative facilitation, including among others, importation by means of any customs office, special time frames for importation of machinery and equipment, correction of the country of origin in customs declarations and preferential rates of importation tax. Finally, the Decree makes the process for designating real property as a strategic duty-free area more flexible.
Mexican Standard NMX-R-025-SCFI-2015 on Labor Equality and Anti-Discrimination (Standard) was published mid last year. It was the result of the joint efforts of the Department of Labor and Social Provision (“STPS”), the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres) and the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred). Despite the efforts of various institutions over more than a decade, various forms of discrimination persist in the labor arena, the same which represent obstacles for the full enjoyment of human and labor rights. According to studies by the International Labor Organization (“ILO”), the wage gap between men and women in Mexico is between 15% and 20%. Furthermore, there are currently employers that consciously or unconsciously permit discriminatory practices in the following areas, among others: job offers, personnel recruitment and selection processes, and promotion policies.
The Standard is not mandatory as are Mexican Official Standards. It is a mechanism that may be used voluntarily to certify workplaces that prove implementation and compliance of processes and practices that are conducive to labor equality and inclusion. The Standard sets forth a point system to obtain the certificate. Among all the requirements, there are five that are deemed critical: (i) a labor equality and non-discrimination policy; (ii) a committee that coordinates efforts and oversees compliance; (iii) a recruiting and hiring process that is free of discrimination and affords equal opportunity; (iv) perform an internal audit; and (v) gauge the work environment through a perception poll. There are also non-critical but important requirements such as, to guarantee wage equality, utilize inclusive language, workplace accessibility and a training and sensitizing program on labor equality and non-discrimination, among others.
The Standard sets forth five critical requirements, as well as measures of leveling, inclusion and affirmative action, the same which include having 40% of workers of one gender, having 40% of women in management positions, having 5% of personnel with different abilities, having an Ombudsman and conducting events focused on promoting equality. If the workplace complies with the requirements set forth in the Standard and, additionally, affirmative actions are implemented, then, of the 4 existing levels, a higher level of certification can be attained.
Based on the Federal Constitutional amendments of June 2011 and the amendment to the Federal Labor Law in November 2012, the courts in Mexico have issued resolutions of transcendence in which they have ruled based on perspectives of gender, on human rights, equality and antidiscrimination, as well as based on international agreements that supersede the Mexican federal laws. Independently of the fact that the Standard is not obligatory, it does set the tone for ensuring compliance with international agreements and standards, as well as for maintaining a favorable work environment that fosters the development of people.
If you would like to know more about the requirements and process for certification, please contact one of our labor experts.
Sources of information and disclaimer: The following sources of information, among others, have been used in preparing this document: Official Journal of the Federation, the Bank of Mexico, Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Department of Finance and Public Credit. The CCN MéxicoReport ™ does not constitute legal or tax advice and should not be used for purposes other than as purely informative for the general public. For more information on the CCN MéxicoReport ™, any of the issues mentioned therein or to inquire about legal services, please contact Robert M. Barnett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mario Melgar (email@example.com), phone (210) 222-1642.
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