Monday, August 8, 2011


To be precise: 672 jobs. That's the total of hourly positions approved under controversial legislation passed in 2010.

Juan Orlando Hernandez, the head of the Honduran Congress, told us that a new part-time work law would create 600,000 jobs in the next three years. He then pushed such a law through Congress. It was published in La Gaceta in November, 2010. How's it doing?

It took the Labor Ministry under Labor Minister Felicito Avila until February to publish the regulations under which companies could register and be certified to have hourly workers. So, in the six months it's been in effect, the new law officially has generated 672 jobs.

Juan Orlando Hernandez says Avila is holding up implementation of the law. Avila points out that the law requires regulations, and that each company that wants to employ part time workers must register and be approved for hiring part time workers.

The workers' unions say the regulations are not working. Employers are going ahead and hiring hourly workers but failing to register their contracts. The unions estimate that more than 22,000 workers are already working hourly, just not legally.

And as predicted, there are complaints of abuses being filed with the Labor Ministry. One high-profile complaint was made by Lennys Fajardo, a Radio Globo reporter who claims he was fired, then offered to be rehired on an hourly contract.

Felicito Avilla says the law wasn't designed to create thousands of jobs, merely to support supplementing existing jobs with part time ones. Think part-time seasonal help and you'll have what he says the Labor Ministry had in mind when it crafted the regulations.

So: we have a law that is doing precisely what critics thought it would do-- encouraging employers to transform existing full time jobs with benefits into part time contracts without benefits. Meanwhile, the Labor Ministry gets criticized for keeping the number of officially approved hourly jobs low.

What no one seems to be addressing is the disconnect between the rhetoric about the hourly law that suggested it would create more jobs, when logically, all it ever promised to do was split existing full time jobs into more part time positions. Not precisely a success to celebrate.

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