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Panama

January 26, 2021

By Vivian Holness 

Back to International Employment Law

Panama

KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2020


 

New Minimum Wage Rates

As of January 2020, new minimum wage rates will be applicable to all workers in the Republic of Panama. The amount depends on the economic activity being carried out and the region in which employees are working.


 

Enactment of New Law Regulating Work From Home

On 18 February 2020, Panama enacted Law 126 regulating work from home. This Law permits an employer and an employee to agree that the employee will provide his/her services from home, provided that this is possible in light of the employer's business and the employee's duties. In order to do so, the parties must execute an amendment to the employment contract which provides that the services may be rendered from home on a permanent or temporary basis. The employer must provide the employee with all of the necessary equipment for the provision of the services, and agree which expenses incurred by the employee will be covered by the employer. The employer may unilaterally decide when it is appropriate for the employee to return to the workplace.

 

KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2019


 

New legislation to combat harassment and discrimination

Panama’s first anti-discrimination law (Law 7 of 14 February 2018) came into force on 15 February 2018. This law regulates all matters related to the protection of the honour, dignity, or physical or psychological integrity of individuals who are victims of acts of discrimination, and sets forth a new obligation on employers to implement internal policies to prevent, avoid, discourage and penalize discriminatory acts such as sexual or other harassment as well as bullying, racism and sexism in the workplace. Employers and/or other superiors will be subject to stringent fines, criminal penalties and civil liabilities if they fail to comply with these regulations.


 

Draft Data Protection Bill

On 24 October 2018, the National Assembly of Panama approved Bill No. 665 the Draft Data Protection Bill, for the protection of personal data.

The Bill includes measures to protect an individual’s personal information by preventing data being transferred to third parties without the express consent of the individual or a court order. Additionally, under Article 289 and 290 of the Panamanian Criminal Code, it is a criminal offence to unlawfully access personal data. Once approved, the Bill will be extremely important as it will fill gaps in the current legislation and provide a framework for the flow of personal data.

 

KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2018


 

Key Developments in Paternity Leave

Executive Decree N° 83 of December 27, 2017, published in the Official Gazette of Friday, January 5, 2018, grants paid paternity leave for private sector employees and public servants throughout the national territory. Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid paternity leave.


 

Key Developments in Minimum Wage

As of January 2018, new minimum wage rates will be applicable to all workers in the Republic of Panama, the amount depends on the economic activity being carried out and which region employees are working in.

With thanks to Vivian Holness of Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega for her invaluable collaboration on this update.

Contributors

Image: Suzanne Horne
Suzanne Horne
Partner, Employment Law Department

Image: Kirsty Devine
Kirsty Devine
Associate, Employment Law Department

Image: Aashna Parekh
Aashna Parekh
Associate, Employment Law Department