Mexico Raises its Game in Number of Vacation Days, But Lags Behind Brazil

Mexico’s labor reforms increase the number of annual holidays from six days to 12, but the country still remains well behind other countries and below the World Labor Organization’s recommendation of 18 days per year

Mexico is currently debating a labor reform that would increase the number of paid holidays for workers from their first year at a company.
November 21, 2022 | 11:48 AM

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Mexico City — Mexico is one of the countries with the fewest paid vacation days in the world, but the labor reform that will increase the number of vacation days for workers from their first year of employment will increase the number of days and improve the country’s ranking in this regard compared to other countries.

The labor reform that increases vacation days in Mexico was approved on November 3 in the Senate and was passed to the lower house, or Chamber of Deputies, where it is pending discussion and eventual approval for it to come into effect.

The reform to Articles 76 and 78 of the Federal Labor Law regarding the number of vacation days to which workers are entitled proposes increasing the number of days from six to 12 workers from their first year of employment in a company, and would break a 50-year inertia during which the vacation law had not been modified.

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So, will Mexico be one of the countries with more vacation days with the reform or would it continue to be one of the countries with fewer vacation days?

If the Qatar 2022 World Cup were a contest of vacation days, the vacation labor reform would move Mexico up a few places, but it would not be enough to place it among the countries with the highest number of days.

Table of holidays by World Cup groups

Thirty-two countries from five continents are participating in the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and of those countries, Mexico is in 31st place, almost last, with the lowest number of paid holidays, according to data compiled by the World Policy Analysis Center.

With the reform, vacation days in Mexico would increase from six to 12 from the first year worked, so Mexico would rise to 27th place among the 32 countries competing for the World Cup in Qatar.

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Mexico would be placed above countries such as Japan, Costa Rica and Canada that grant their workers 10 paid holidays in the first year of work; however, it would still be below countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, which are middle-income economies like Mexico.

Mexico is in Group C of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, which it shares with Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Poland; and of those, Saudi Arabia has the most vacation days, with 21.

Of the 32 countries in the World Cup, France, Spain and Brazil are the ones with the most holidays, each with 30 days of paid vacation.

Brazil is one of the favorites to win the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The United States is the only one of the 32 countries in which there is no paid vacation by federal legal mandate, so it ranks last in the table, however, this does not mean that workers have no vacation, but that in that country the private sector sets the number of holidays with its employees.

Data from the World Policy Analysis Center, which ranks 189 countries by paid holidays, show that there are nine countries with vacation in the five-to-nine-days range, and Mexico is one of those countries, along with China, Nigeria and the Philippines.

In addition, out of the 189 countries, there are 12 countries, mostly middle-income, where there is no paid annual leave, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.