Tech is booming in Argentina—it's the only major, private-sector industry that's gained jobs and employers since a recession hit the country in 2018. Tech companies all over the world are eyeing Argentina's talented workforce—and making plans to tap into it. There's just one problem: Argentina has a complex web of labor and employment laws that all employers—even those based in other countries—must follow.
Navigating all the legal requirements for hiring employees in Argentina can be tricky, but that's where this guide comes in. Below, you'll find guidance for staying compliant with Argentine labor laws so you can hire in the country with confidence.
1. Workers' rights are part of Argentina's Constitution
Argentina's Constitution establishes a number of rights for workers, including:
- Dignified and equitable working conditions
- Limited working hours
- Paid rest and vacations
- Fair remuneration
- Minimum wage
- Equal pay for equal work
- Participation in the profits of enterprises, with control of production and collaboration in the management
- Protection against arbitrary dismissal
- Stability for civil servants
- Free and democratic labor union organization
We'll explore many of these in more detail further down.
2. At-will employment is recognized in Argentina
In Argentina, employment is at-will, meaning employees can generally be terminated at any time and for any reason, provided their employer gives them prior notice (or payment in lieu) and severance pay as required by law. There are some exceptions—certain classes of employees are protected from termination (we'll explain in detail further down).
3. Misclassifying employees could cost you thousands in Argentine pesos (ARS)
Argentinian law recognizes both:
- Employees: individuals who provide services to an employer in exchange for remuneration, with a fixed-term or indefinite contract, and who receive benefits from their employer
- Contractors: individuals who provide services to a client or employer under a contract that does not establish an employment relationship, who are not subject to oversight or subordination, and who receive no benefits from their employer
Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can result in fines reaching thousands of Argentine pesos (ARS), as well as back payments for unpaid wages, benefits, social security contributions, lawsuits, and legal fees.
4. Some employment background checks are considered discriminatory in Argentina
Background checks are allowed in Argentina, but there are strict rules around what information employers can collect about job seekers. For example, employers cannot access driving records or criminal histories—individuals can only access those records for themselves. Argentine employers can ask job seekers to access their criminal records and submit them for a background check, but this may be considered discriminatory if a criminal history isn't directly relevant to the job role.
Other potentially discriminatory background checks include:
- Questions about race, religion, age, gender, disability, marital status, or political or union activities
- Credit and financial checks
- Medical testing for HIV, Chagas disease, or pregnancy
- Drug and alcohol testing (allowed with the job seeker's consent if the position justifies testing)
5. Unions play a strong role in Argentina's labor market
Approximately 40% of Argentina's workforce is unionized. The country's largest trade union, the Confederación General del Trabajo, was established in the 1930s and is now one of the largest labor federations in the world. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are commonly included in employment agreements, and union representatives have additional rights (including protection from termination).
6. Argentine employers are required to contribute around 25% on top of each employee's salary for mandatory benefits
In Argentina, employers make social security contributions on their employees' behalf, totaling about 25% on top of their regular salary. This covers benefits like:
- Retirement plans
- Disability benefits
- Mandatory life insurance
- Employment insurance and unemployment benefits
- Family allowances, which help low-income families provide for children and cover maternity leave for female employees and paternity leave for male employees
7. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are legally binding in Argentina—and confidential company information is protected by law
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), Argentina's Confidentiality Law, and the Argentine Criminal Code all contain protections for confidential information—they state that a person or legal entity can prevent information lawfully within their control from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without their consent. But most companies use NDAs for additional protection (often as a clause in a new hire's employment contract), and Argentine courts have upheld NDAs as legally binding documents.
8. Argentina has strict rules around working hours and rest periods
Argentina's Constitution sets rules about maximum working hours for different industries and types of employees. Workers are legally entitled to breaks, rest periods, and overtime pay if they work outside of the normal working day. We'll explain all the rules in full detail further down.
9. Mass layoffs require special "crisis prevention" procedures
Layoffs are allowed in Argentina due to lack of work or economic reasons. But if a company needs to lay off many employees at once (more than 15% of the workforce in a company with less than 400 employees, more than 10% in a company with 400-1,000 employees, or more than 5% in a company with over 1,000 employees), they must create a "crisis prevention" social plan and attend hearings with the Ministry of Labour and relevant trade unions to negotiate the details of the layoffs.
10. Argentina's government often creates special "force majeure" rules that temporarily protect employees from termination
Argentina's government has been known to create "force majeure" rules that impact regulations around terminating employees. One recent example is the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a force majeure rule that prevented Argentine employers from terminating any employees for nearly three years.
Frequently asked questions about Argentinian labor laws
What types of labor contracts are allowed in Argentina?
Argentina allows many different labor contract modalities, but these are some of the most common:
- Indefinite term contracts. These are the most common types of contracts in employee-employer relationships. They allow for employment for an indefinite period, with a trial period lasting for the first 90 days.
- Fixed-term contracts. Fixed-term contracts are allowed in Argentina. They cannot last longer than five years.
- Part-time contracts. Part-time workers in Argentina cannot work more than 32 hours per week.
What is the minimum wage in Argentina?
As of March 1, 2023, Argentina's minimum wage is ARS69,500 per month. Because Argentine employees are entitled to a 13th month salary, the yearly minimum wage is 13 times the minimum monthly salary (not 12).
What are the overtime laws in Argentina?
According to Argentina's Constitution, normal working hours are eight hours per day or a maximum of 48 hours per week. Hours may be distributed unevenly, with the caveat that employees may not work more than nine hours per day or after 1 PM on Saturday as their normal work hours (directors and managers are exempt from this rule).
If an employee works overnight shifts, work hours are limited to seven hours per night.
When an employee works somewhere the Argentine government has deemed dangerous or unhealthy (for example, in an underground mine), work hours are limited to six hours per day, or a maximum of 36 hours per week.
Minors are also only allowed to work up to 36 hours per week.
Argentine employees who work overtime are entitled to 150% of their normal pay (or 200% on holidays, Sundays, and their normal rest days). Overtime may not exceed three hours per day, 30 hours per month, or 200 hours per year.
All employees in Argentina are entitled to rest periods of at least 12 hours between work days, and one rest period of at least 35 continuous hours per week.
What are the required benefits in Argentina?
Below are the mandatory entitlements for employees in Argentina, but keep in mind that these are statutory minimums—collective bargaining agreements often negotiate more benefits than the below, which are required by law.
- Social security (which includes retirement, disability, life insurance, employment insurance, and family allowances)
- Health insurance
- Annual leave (up to 35 calendar days based on years of service)
- Sick leave
- Public holidays
- Overtime pay
- Severance pay
- 13th month salary
In some cases, paid special leave is required for certain circumstances (i.e. marriage or death of a family member). And as remote work becomes more common, employers are increasingly offering benefits specific to teleworking, such as internet and phone allowances.
For more information on mandatory benefits in Argentina, read our complete guide.
How do I terminate employees in Argentina?
Employment in Argentina is generally at-will, meaning employers can terminate employees at any time and for any reason, provided they give the proper notice and pay the mandated severance. There are some exceptions—certain types of employees are protected from termination:
- Union leaders
- Women getting married, during the period of time from three months before her wedding to six months afterward
- Pregnant women and women on maternity leave
- Sick employees
The required notice period and severance depend on whether the employee was within their probationary period, and whether the termination of employment was with or without cause.
Termination during the probationary period
15 days' notice
Termination without cause
For employees with up to 5 years of service: 1 month's notice
For employees with more than 5 years of service: 2 months' notice
One month's salary for every year of service, plus an additional month's salary if they've worked at least 3 months in an incomplete year
Termination with just cause
Payment in lieu of the notice period is also allowed. Whether they are terminated with or without cause, employees are entitled to any unpaid remuneration, plus payment for unused annual leave and prorated payment for their annual bonus (1/12 of the bonus amount for each month they've worked in an incomplete year).
Argentine case law doesn't specify what constitutes termination for cause—employment courts examine each case individually, including looking at the employee's disciplinary records, seniority, and other factors. The employer is required to prove there was ground for the termination.
For all the details on Argentine termination requirements—including notice periods and wrongful dismissal claims—consult our guide.
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Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.