Christmas Bonus is obligatory in Mexico


Spread Holiday Cheer by Paying Christmas Bonus

By Tara A. Spears

It’s time to put up the holiday decorations and stuff an envelope with the Christmas pay bonus for your employees. Mexican Labor law states that the Christmas bonus must be equivalent to at least 15 days wages. The purpose of this pre-holiday pay is to help workers to cover extra expenses, such as presents and additional food that they need for the festivities of December.

With the low Mexican daily wage, without the Christmas bonus, the worker may not be able to cover holiday expenses for the festivities with their regular salary. The law also states this holiday pay must be given by the 20th of December. Because many of us have domestic help on a part-time basis, it requires a little math to determine the correct amount. Mark your calendar for the day you need to give your Christmas bonus.

In addition, the Mexican government and business leaders agreed to raise the country’s minimum wage starting on December 1, 2017, to 88.36 pesos from 80.04 pesos. The 10% raise is good news for 24.7 million Mexicans who work either one or two minimum wage jobs

According to Investopedia, Mexico (and other Latin American countries) has a special wage process called aguinaldo.  This is an annual Christmas bonus that Mexican businesses- and individual employers- are required by law to pay to their employees. The Aguinaldo pay bonus is required to be paid by December 20 of each year. The government has established a law that this extra payment is equivalent to at least 15 days wages, and maybe pro-rated if the employee has been with the employer for less than a full year.  Most importantly, many minimum wage earners would not be able to celebrate the holidays without this bonus.

Under Mexican law, all employees (including part-time workers in your home such as maids, gardeners, cooks) are entitled to receive the extra Christmas pay. Paying the aguinaldo also creates and keeps a positive relationship with your employees. Article 87 of the Federal Labor Law (LFT) states that “The employer is obliged to keep receipts for payment of the aguinaldo for a one-year period.”  So be sure to have the employee sign a receipt for the cash bonus. The aguinaldo payment is mandatory and failure to pay can lead the authorities to impose fines of 3 to 315 times the Legal Daily Minimum Wage in force for the geographic area where the offense has been committed.        

Depending on how personal your relationship is with your part-time employees, giving the cash in an envelope with a note thanking the worker for their help/service during the past year and wishing them a Feliz Navidad is a nice way to handle the situation. Some employers also include a small gift like Tequila, perfume, candy, or flowers along with the Christmas bonus. 

Since the very affordable domestic help makes our time in Mexico so comfortable, paying the extra Christmas salary is a simple way to show your appreciation and enhance the holidays for local families.


The Mazatlan Post