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Employers in El Salvador must pay the first three days of medical leave

Issues Health Safety & Environment

Some employers in El Salvador do not consistently pay for the first three days of leave when an employee goes on medical leave. Article 307 of the Salvadoran Labor Code states that when the employment contract is suspended due to an employee’s common illness or accident, the employer is obliged to pay the employee until the employee is recovered, an amount equal to 75 percent of the basic contracted wage. A provision in the Salvadoran Constitution establishes that employers are exempt from obligations in favor of workers that are provided by secondary laws if those obligations are covered by the Salvadoran Social Security Institute. However, the ISSS daily subsidy for a worker on temporary medical leave does not begin until the fourth day of leave.

In recent years, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare has issued several case-by-case legal opinions which confirmed that the employer is responsible to pay for medical leave that is three days or less and due to common illness. While some factories have adopted the payment of the first three days of medical leave as an internal policy, others have not. Since 2015, the FLA has deemed the first three days of medical leave a required subsidy by the employer and has documented non-payment of this subsidy as a non-compliance in at least three factory assessment reports.  In addition, two Third Party Complaints led by unions on this issue were completed by the FLA and the determination was made that the employer was responsible for payment of these days of leave.

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