On August 13th, 2021, the Ministry of Employment, through Ministerial Agreement MDT-2021-219, issued new regulations governing the procedure to be followed for the approval of Employment Termination with Cause (known as and hereinafter, “Visto Bueno”). The new process will be effective as of September 24, 2021.
The main features of the new procedure are as follows:
1. Jurisdiction: The competent employment inspector to handle requests for Visto Bueno is that of the territorial circumscriptions of the place where the employment agreement was executed or that of the place of the employees’ domicile.
2. Appearance: The parties may appear in person or by proxy, accompanied by a defense attorney, who may act by legal proxy or by simple written authorization.
3. Notifications: The Visto Bueno request must be notified to the employee by ballot delivered to his/her workplace or domicile. The latter may be received by an employee’s relative or be posted on the door of the domicile in case there is no one to receive it, or if the employee refuses to do so.
If it is impossible to locate the employee, he/she may be notified by e-mail, provided that there is a document whereby the employee states its clear and express acceptance to be notified by such mean.
Notification by the press: If it is not possible to notify the employee by any of the means described above, it may be done through a single publication in one of the newspapers with the largest circulation in the place where the Visto Bueno process is carried out. For this purpose, the employer must carry out a statement before a Public Notary that he/she does not know the employee’s domicile. After 20 days since the publication, the employment inspector shall set a date and time for an investigation hearing.
4. Suspension of the employment relationship: Before or after filing the Visto Bueno the employer may request the suspension of the employment relationship. To this end, a certified copy of the employee’s payroll corresponding to the last full monthly remuneration must be attached and the relevant amount must be deposited in the account designated by the Ministry of Employment to this effect.
5. Response to the Visto Bueno request: The employee shall answer to the Visto Bueno request within 2 working days of being notified with the procedure. Failure to do so will result in the inspector continuing with the proceedings in absentia.
6. Investigation hearing: Once the term to submit the response to the Visto Bueno´s request has lapsed, the inspector shall, within the following 3 working days, set a date and time for the investigation hearing.
The investigation hearing may be held at the inspector’s office or, if necessary, at the place where the facts leading to the Visto Bueno occurred.
The inspector may, exceptionally, and for the purpose of clarifying the facts of the dispute, suspend the investigation for up to 3 days. The inspector may not formally require public or private entities in order to obtain evidence.
Once the investigation hearing has concluded, the inspector will have 3 working days to issue a resolution.
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