At the beginning of the 20th century, Uruguay was the first country in the world to adopt the eight-hour working day and, until today, its advanced labor legislation positions it as an interesting option for people who wish to emigrate. 

Workers' rights include, among others, limited working hours, permits, salary supplements and severance pay. In addition, workers must enter the social security and health system that covers risks for disability, retirement, illness, occupational accidents, maternity, unemployment and death.

According to national legislation, foreign workers have access to the same rights and obligations as nationals, and employers are required to comply with current labor and social security laws as if they were national workers.

Rosaly Jiménez

The process to get my resident papers was really fast, in less than a month I could already show off my own resident card in process, and 15 days later I started in what was my first job as a systems engineer. It is important to know that you never forget or stop missing your culture, but Uruguay definitely embraces you, adopts you, and makes the whole messy process as painless as possible. 

Country of origin: Cuba

Year of arrival: 2017


All updated information on labor legislation related to these issues can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security:


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

  • Annual Supplementary Salary or Bonus: this is one twelfth of the total salaries paid in money by the employer in the twelve months prior to December 1 of each year. Half is paid in June, and the other half in December. 

  • Weekly rest: it is obligatory for the workers of all commercial and industrial establishments and their dependencies, whatever their nature. The duration is different in industry and commerce. In the former it is 24 hours and in the latter 36 hours.

  • Intermediate breaks: the system of breaks during the working day is regulated according to the sector of activity.

  • Dismissals: the country has legislation adapted to different types of dismissals according to the area of activity and type of job. 

  • Procedural provisions: information related to the protection of citizens in the enjoyment of their right to work, and the willingness to make an attempt at conciliation, before initiating proceedings before the Judiciary. 

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

  • Working hours: there is a double limitation of the working day, one cannot work more than 8 hours a day, nor more than 44 or 48 hours a week, depending on whether one works in commerce or industry. 

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

  • Leave of absence: the country has a wide range of legislation on leave of absence, from the general annual leave regime to leave of absence due to seniority, gynecological medical examinations, blood donation, maternity, paternity, illness, study, marriage and bereavement, among others. 

  • Maternity and paternity leave: the country has current legislation to regulate maternity leave that includes a rest period of at least 14 weeks, salary during the leave, parental allowance for care, and other associated issues. 

  • Vacation pay: all workers in the private sector and public non-state employees will receive from their employers a sum for the best use of the leave equivalent to 100% of the liquid vacation pay, which must be paid before the beginning of the leave and in proportion to the corresponding days. 

  • Wages: The salary is the remuneration or profit, provided that it can be evaluated in cash, fixed by agreement or by legislation. The salary may be fixed: by time worked (monthly, daily or by hour); by production performed (commission, piecework, to the part by incentive, ensuring, at least, the achievement of a normal salary, by 8 hours of work); by mixed system (basic salary by time, and when reaching a minimum of production a percentage by commission or production is established).

  • Unemployment insurance: all workers habitually employed in any paid activity are entitled to unemployment insurance. In all cases, the required minimum employment relationship must have been fulfilled in the 12 months immediately prior to the date of the cause.

  • Health insurance: beneficiaries will receive the equivalent of 70% of all their income, with certain conditions to be met. 

  • Youth Employment Law: this instrument encourages the hiring of people between the ages of 15 and 29 and promotes the creation of new jobs, work and training practices and the reduction of working hours for study purposes by means of salary subsidies. 

  • Law to promote work for people with disabilities: private employers with 25 (twenty-five) or more permanent workers, in all new personnel produced as of November 18, 2018, must employ people with disabilities, who meet the conditions and suitability for the position. 

Source: Ministry of Labor and Social Security

Go back to the main webpage of WORK section

costo de vida.png

Learn about the personal income and tax system.


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