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In the early 20th century, Uruguay was the first country in the world to adopt the eight-hour workday and, to this day, its advanced labor law positions it as an attractive option for people wishing to emigrate.

Workers' rights include, among others, limited working hours, leaves of absence, salary supplements and severance pay. In addition, workers must enter the social security and health system that covers disability, retirement, illness, work-related accidents, maternity leave, unemployment, and death.

Under national law, foreign workers have access to the same rights and obligations as national workers, and employers are obliged to comply with the labor and social security laws in force as if they were national workers.

Rosaly Jiménez

The process for getting my residence papers was really quick. In less than a month I was the proud holder of provisional residence card, and 15 days later I started my first job as a systems engineer. It’s important to stress that you never actually forget or stop missing your culture, but Uruguay definitely embraces you, adopts you and makes that whole messy process as painless as possible.


Country of origin: Cuba

Year of arrival: 2017

On the Ministry of Labor and Social Security`s website you can find updated information on labor laws related to:


  • Work-related accidents and illnesses: All the information regarding the procedure to follow and the different types of compensation for each case.

  • Annual Supplementary Bonus or 13th salary: It is calculated as one twelfth of the total salaries paid in cash by the employer in the twelve months prior to December 1st of each year. Half is paid in June and the other half in December.

  • Weekly rest: It is mandatory for workers in all commercial and industrial establishments and their subsidiaries, regardless of their nature. The duration is different in industry and commerce. In industry it is 24 hours and in commerce 36 hours.

  • Intermediate breaks: These are regulated according to the industry of activity.

  • Layoffs: The country has laws adapted to different types of layoffs according to the type of activity and position held.

  • Procedural clauses: Information related to protecting citizen's exercise of their right to work, and the requirement to make an attempt at conciliation before initiating lawsuits before the court.

  • Differential payments on holidays: The legislation provides for variable calculations according to the type of holiday (working or non-working) and the days of the week on which the holiday falls in the annual calendar.

  • Working hours: There is a double limitation on the working day, employees may not work more than 8 hours a day, nor more than 44 or 48 hours a week, according to whether they work in commerce or industry. 

  • Overtime: Overtime is considered to be that which exceeds the legal or conventional limit of work hours, as applicable to the activity and labor category.

  • Leave or vacation: The country has a broad legislation on leaves ranging from the general annual leave regime to seniority leave, gynecological medical examinations, blood donation, maternity, paternity, sickness, study, marriage, and bereavement, among others.

  • Maternity and paternity leave: Current laws regulate maternity leave which includes a rest period of at least 14 weeks, salary during leave, parental care allowance, and other related topics.

  • Vacation pay: All employees in the private sector and non-state public entities shall receive from their employers an amount for the better enjoyment of their vacation leave equivalent to 100% of the liquid vacation pay, which must be paid before the beginning of the leave and proportionally to the corresponding days. 

  • Salaries: The salary is the compensation or profit, provided that it can be evaluated in cash, set by agreement or by legislation. The salary can be fixed: by amount of time worked (monthly, daily or hourly); by production (commission, piecework, incentive part, ensuring, as a minimum, the achievement of a normal salary, for 8 hours of work); by a mixed system (minimum wage by time, and upon reaching a minimum production, a percentage is established by commission or production).

  • Unemployment insurance: All employees usually working in any profitable activity are entitled to unemployment insurance. In all cases, the minimum required employment relationship time must be the 12 months immediately prior to the date on which the grounds for unemployment arose.

  • Sick pay: Beneficiaries will receive the equivalent of 70% of all their income on certain conditions that must be met.

  • Employment Promotion Law: The purpose of the Employment Promotion Law is to stimulate the generation of employment, promoting the creation of new jobs by means of a salary subsidy aimed at hiring new workers who are unemployed. 

  • Talent Attraction Law: It was created as a policy to attract IT-oriented professionals from abroad to settle in Uruguay and meet the sector´s demand. Through this law, IT professionals can access tax incentives. 

Source: Ministry of Labor and Social Security

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Learn about the personal income and tax system.


Which taxes must be paid? Which are the benefits? Check it out here:

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