Labor relationships in the Dominican Republic are governed by the Dominican Labor Code (Law 16-92), which is characterized by its strong protection of the rights of employees.
Territoriality of Dominican Labor Laws
Dominican labor laws are territorial in nature. Any work carried out on Dominican soil is subject to the provisions of the Labor Code irrespective of the nationality or residence of the parties involved.
Mandatory Nature of Dominican Labor Laws
Dominican labor laws are mandatory to the parties in an employment contract. Employees cannot waive any rights that would lessen their benefits under the Labor Code. Any such waiver is automatically considered null and void.
The Employment Contract
Any relationship in which one person obliges himself or herself to provide any form of service to another in exchange for remuneration and under the direction or supervision of the latter is considered to be an employment contract and, as such, subject to the provisions of the Labor Code. Company managers as well as workers are considered employees under Dominican labor laws.
Employment contracts may be verbal or written. Any party to an employment contract can require the other to sign a written version of a previously verbal agreement. If in writing, any amendment to the employment contract must be in writing as well. Written agreements are recommended in all cases since they foster a clear and sound work relationship.
A private contractor agreement, even if agreed to in written form, may be considered an employment contract if the elements of direction or supervision by one party over the other is present. The Labor Code expressly states as a fundamental principle that the terms of the employment contract are those that reflect the real facts and circumstances of the relationship between the parties, and not necessarily those contained in a written contract, which may hide the true nature of that relationship.
Working Hours and Shifts
Normal working hours may not exceed eight hours a day nor 44 hours a week. Employees in executive or managerial positions are exempted from this rule.
Daytime work hours range from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. A work shift is considered a daytime shift as long as no more than three hours exceed the 9:00 p.m. limit; otherwise it is considered a night shift, which entails a 15% increase in remuneration. The weekly work shift normally ends on Saturdays at noon, giving the employee 36 hours of uninterrupted rest. Any other arrangement must provide the same minimum uninterrupted weekly rest period of 36 hours.
If an employee is required to work during his weekly period of rest, he is entitled to receive a 100% premium on his salary for his work during that time or given compensatory time off the following week.
Work for more than 44 hours a week is considered overtime and must be paid with a 35% premium over regular hours. Hours worked in excess of 68 hours a week are paid at a 100% premium. Overtime pay does not apply to managers.
At least 80% of a company's work force must be Dominican. Likewise, no less than 80% of the payroll, with the exception of salaries for technical or executive positions, must correspond to wages earned by Dominicans. These rules do not apply to employees carrying out executive or managerial duties, or occupying technical positions for which there is no available Dominican substitute.
A person is considered of legal age for labor purposes at 16...