Issue #
October–November 2019

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Preventing Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Workplace

October 31, 2019

Mexican Official Standard NOM-035-STPS-2018 (“Standard 035” or the “Standard”) entered into force on October 23, 2019 in order to establish rules to identify and prevent psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, as well as to achieve a positive work environment in all workplaces.

Standard 035 defines psychosocial risk factors as those that may cause anxiety, sleep problems, severe stress or adjustment disorders resulting from an employee’s job duties, work hours or exposure to traumatic events or workplace violence.

The Standard sets forth numerous obligations for employers, some of which are mandatory from the time the Standard entered into force, and others that will be mandatory beginning in October 2020.  The following is summary of the most relevant obligations.

Mandatory obligations beginning in October 2019.

• Establish a policy to prevent psychosocial risk factors; post such in a visible place and distribute.

• Implement measures to prevent and manage psychosocial risk factors.

• Identify employees who have been exposed to severe traumatic events at the workplace, using a questionnaire that is included in the Standard.

• Establish safe and confidential mechanisms to receive complaints from employees.

• Inform employees as to the prevention policy, measures and actions to prevent and manage risk factors, as well as regarding potential health effects due to exposure to risk factors and the procedures to submit complaints.

Mandatory obligations beginning in October 2020.

• Identify and analyze psychosocial risk factors and assess the company’s organizational environment.  For such purpose, employers must take into consideration work conditions that require a significant effort to adjust, work-loads, work hours and rotating shifts, as well as duties that interfere with employees’ family life, among other factors.

• Conduct medical exams and psychological evaluations for employees who have been exposed to workplace violence and/or psychosocial risk factors.

• Keep records of results of assessments and evaluations, corrective measures implemented and of employees who are clinically evaluated.

It is important to undertake the necessary steps to comply with the obligations set forth in Standard 035, as it is expected that labor authorities will soon begin to verify compliance with the new requirements.

Evidentiary Value of Unsigned Electronic Paystubs under Mexican Labor Law

October 28, 2019

Mexico’s Sixth Collegiate Court on Labor Matters of the First Circuit recently published opinion I.6o.T. J/48 (10a.) entitled, “Paystubs issued electronically without the employee's signature. Such electronic paystubs are valid for proving the items and amounts reflected therein.” In its opinion, the Court held that paystubs issued electronically, which are not signed by the employee receiving pay or salary, are valid to prove the amounts and items stated in the electronic paystubs and concluded this was consistent with Mexican customary law and practice. To reach such decision, the Court considered that the need to avoid making cash payments has caused employers to rely on direct bank deposits to pay their employees. Based on the foregoing, unsigned electronic paystubs will be considered valid for evidentiary purposes if no other proof exists to the contrary.

Amendments to Mexico’s General Law of Import and Export Tariffs, Decree for the Border Region and Northern Border Region, PROSEC Decree and IMMEX Decree

October 18, 2019

On September 20, 2019, a new Decree was published in the Official Journal of the Federation which serves to amend numerous federal laws, including the Decree Amending the General Law of Import and Export Tariffs, the Decree establishing a General Import Tax for the Border Region and Northern Border Region, the Decree Establishing various Sector Promotion Programs (PROSEC for its Spanish acronym), and the Decree for the Promotion of the Manufacturing, Maquila and Export Services Industry (IMMEX for its Spanish acronym), effective as of September 22, 2019.The new amendments are mainly aimed at the steel sector, and feature the following highlights:The 15% tariff on the importation of various steel products remains in place. It should be noted that this new provision aims to renew the previous measure established in the Decree published on March 25, 2019 in the Official Journal of the Federation to continue to protect Mexico’s domestic steel industry.The amendments contain a tariff relief schedule for 228 tariff codes ranging from 10% by September 22, 2021, 5% - 7% by September 22, 2023 and either a full exemption or 3% tariff by August 22, 2024.Similarly, the amendments create 82 new tariff codes (70 codes with full exemptions, 10 codes with a 5% tariff and 2 codes with a 15% tariff). Meanwhile, 25 codes are amended and 21 codes are eliminated.In addition, the IMMEX, PROSEC, Border Region and Northern Border Region Decrees were amended to include or eliminate tariff codes in accordance with the changes made to the General Law of Import and Export Tariffs.Finally, an explanatory note was added to Chapter 72 of the General Law of Import and Export Tariffs to clarify that alloy steel should be considered and classified as tool grade steel.