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Dec 19 2015

The sun is shining brightly, the surf is rolling in, and it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Sayulita. Yes, it is that time of year where one counts one´s many blessings and gives back to those who have been there throughout the past year. While ´tis the season fills you with a moral sense of obligation, in Mexico there is also a legal one-- aguinaldo.

What is Aguinaldo?

Aguinaldo is an annual allowance for workers and is commonly referred to as the Christmas Bonus.  The payment is equivalent to 15 days of salary.  The payment must be made by the 20th of December (tomorrow!), although according to law an employee can ask for 50% at the beginning of the year.  The payment must be paid in cash; payment in kind does not count towards this obligation.  

According the Federal Worker´s Law, everyone who provides a personal, subordinate service has the right to this legal presentation.  If the employee has not yet worked a full year than a proportional amount is calculated.  Additionally, if an employee leaves the work, either by choice or forced, they have the right to a representative portion of their aguinaldo; however, this amount is usually paid as part of their severance package.  

How to Calculate Aguinaldo?

There are a number of ways to calculate aguinaldo, and different types of workers receive different types of calculations. Here is a basic example of how to calculate aguinaldo:

Weekly payment: $2000MX

Take the weekly payment and divide it by 6 work days ($2000MX/6 days= $333.33MX/day).

Multiply that amount by 15 days ($333.33MX*15 days= $4,999.99MX).  

The final amount owed is $4,999.99MX, or $5,000MX.

Do not forget to have the receiver sign the receipt of their aguinaldo.  Specify on the receipt that it is for their aguinaldo, clearly write their name, your name (and that of your house or business), the date and the amount.

Aguinaldo is an important obligation that each employer must fulfill each year, while many do not.  Mexican workers appreciate this bonus during the holidays, and it is a way that you can strengthen your ties with your workers by showing them that you appreciate the sacrifices they make for you.  

Audrey E. Royem is the owner/director of Audrey International, a local business that provides expatriate services and information in real estate, immigration, vehicles and business.  Audrey holds a masters of international affairs from Columbia University and has been studying Mexican legalities and realities since she came to Sayulita in 2010.  A native to Colorado, she lives and works in the heart of Sayulita year round with her family.