What you need to know before hiring in Argentina: A guide to terminations

Published

May 10, 2023

Argentina is home to a diverse, educated, skilled workforce—it's no wonder so many global companies are hiring in Argentina. But before you sign your first Argentine employee, you need a solid understanding of the country's employment laws and regulations—including rules around terminations.

Termination policies may be far from your mind now, but if you decide to part ways with an Argentinian employee, you'll need to know the basics. Employees in Argentina are entitled to certain benefits and payments when they're dismissed, and ending up on the wrong side of Argentine labor laws could land you in a costly legal battle.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about terminating employees in Argentina? Read on.

5 essential things to know before hiring in Argentina

  • Employers can generally dismiss employees in Argentina with few restrictions, provided they give the proper notice and pay the required severance.
  • No notice or severance is required when employees are terminated with just cause.
  • Certain types of employees are protected from termination, including pregnant women, new mothers, and elected union representatives.
  • If an employee is over 70 years old and has been making social security contributions for at least 40 years, their employer can initiate a procedure that forces them to retire.
  • Argentina's government often creates special "force majeure" rules that temporarily protect employees from termination, or create new rules for notice periods and severance pay. One example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Argentine employers were prohibited from terminating any employees without cause for nearly three years.

Termination rules in Argentina: What are acceptable grounds for firing an employee?

Argentinian employees can leave their jobs voluntarily at any time and for any reason, provided they give 15 days of notice—the standard for resignations. For involuntary termination of employment, the notice period and severance pay will depend on whether the employee is being terminated during their probationary period, without cause, or with just cause.

  • Termination during the probationary or trial period. Probationary or trial periods last three months in Argentina. The purpose of the probation period is to see if a new hire is a good fit for a role. If the employer decides they aren't a good fit within the three-month period, they can terminate the employee with 15 days' notice and no severance payment. Payment in lieu of the notice period is also acceptable.
  • Termination without cause. Argentina recognizes at-will employment, meaning employers can terminate employees without cause at any time. If any employee is terminated without cause, they're entitled to a notice period of one month if they have up to five years of service, or two months if they have more than five years of service. Payment in lieu of notice is also allowed. Employees terminated without cause are also entitled to mandatory severance payments of one month's salary for every year of service. If they have worked at least three months in an incomplete year, they're entitled to an additional month's salary. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) may set additional severance minimums that are higher than the legally mandated amounts.
  • Termination for cause. If employment is terminated with just cause, then no notice or pay in lieu of notice is required. The employer is responsible for proving there was just cause for the termination. Argentine courts are notorious for being strict about the burden of proof.

Argentina has different rules and laws about termination than many other countries. Keep your global hiring compliant with local employment laws.

What are the mandatory notice periods and termination pay for Argentinian employees?

In Argentina, notice periods and severance pay depend on the reason for termination and the employee's length of service.

Notice period

Severance pay

Termination during the probationary period

15 days

None

Termination without cause

For employees with up to 5 years of service: 1 month

For employees with more than 5 years of service: 2 months

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

None

None

Payment in lieu of the notice period is also allowed.

For employees on a fixed-term contract, notice must be given at least one month before the contract ends, or it will be assumed that the employee will continue working on an indefinite-term employment contract.

The easiest way to comply with Argentine termination requirements

When you employ a global workforce, you have to keep track of termination requirements in multiple different countries—and that gets complicated, fast. Instead of spending the time to master conflicting just-cause considerations, probationary and notice periods, and severance pay laws that vary both within and among countries, get the assistance you need.

An alternative is to hire through an EOR, which can monitor termination requirements for you.

Frequently asked questions about terminating employees in Argentina

Do you need a reason to terminate an employee in Argentina?

Argentina recognizes at-will employment, so permanent employees can be involuntarily dismissed, with or without cause, as long as the requirements for notice periods or pay in lieu are met.

If you dismiss an employee without giving them the statutory notice or, instead, meeting pay requirements, you'll need to be able to prove you have just cause for the termination. Argentine courts are strict about requiring employers to prove just cause for termination, and the options for just cause are limited (more on that below).

What is considered just cause for terminating an employee in Argentina?

In Argentina, an employee can be terminated for gross misconduct if they have incurred a breach in their duties severe enough to justify ending the employment relationship.

Unlike in many other countries, Argentina's labor laws don't specify breaches that constitute gross misconduct that are grounds for dismissal with cause. The country's labor courts examine each case, looking at the employee's disciplinary records, seniority, and other factors. The employer is required to prove there was ground for the termination.

Because of the lack of specificity in the law, just cause is very hard to prove in Argentina. Employers should ensure they have strong evidence of any serious breach of conduct before terminating an employee without the minimum required notice and severance.

What employees are protected from termination in Argentina?

Several types of employees are protected from termination in Argentina, or subject to additional rules. These include:

  • Union leaders. Elected leaders of trade unions cannot be terminated without cause during their term or for one year after it ends.
  • Women getting married. If a woman is terminated without cause in the period of time from three months before her wedding to six months afterward, she's entitled to additional severance of 13 months' salary.
  • Pregnant women and women on maternity leave. For the time period from seven and a half months prior to and after the birth of a child, a woman who is fired without cause is entitled to an extra severance payment of 13 months' salary.
  • Sick employees. In addition to the notice periods and severance required by law, employees who are terminated due to illness or while on leave are entitled to additional severance equal to the amount of paid sick leave they have remaining.

What qualifies as wrongful dismissal in Argentina?

In Argentina, a case of dismissal where an employee is terminated without the proper notice or severance pay may be found to be wrongful. This can happen when an employer:

  • Terminates an employee without cause without giving them notice or paying in lieu of notice.
  • Terminates an employee without cause but doesn't pay them severance.
  • Terminates an employee with cause, but isn't able to prove that the just cause for the dismissal was legitimate.

Any employee who thinks they've been wrongfully dismissed can challenge the dismissal in court. If the court finds that the dismissal was discriminatory, the employee can seek either severance pay or reinstatement. They also have the option to pursue legal action for additional financial compensation, if they choose.

What is always required when an employer terminates an employee in Argentina?

When an employer decides to terminate an employee in Argentina, they're required to provide written notice of the dismissal through a notary public or certified letter.

If the termination is for cause, the employer must notify the employee in writing of the allegations against them that led to the dismissal.

Severance payment (when due) must be calculated and paid by the employee's last day of employment.

Are terminated employees entitled to any benefits?

When they're terminated, employees are entitled to any unpaid remuneration, plus notice periods (or payment in lieu) and severance, when applicable.

Whether they are terminated with or without cause, all employees are entitled to payment for their unused annual leave, as well as prorated payment for their annual bonus (1/12 of the bonus amount for each month they've worked in an incomplete year).

In some cases, there are additional entitlements; for example, if an employee is dismissed while on sick leave, they're entitled to payment for the remainder of their paid leave.

What is the law for dismissing a contractor in Argentina?

The process for terminating an independent contractor in Argentina depends on the terms of their contract.

Typically, either party can end the agreement at any time by providing notice as specified in the contract. Independent contractors aren't entitled to benefits like vacation pay, and they don't receive severance pay unless that's agreed upon in advance and included in their contract.

If an independent contractor is found to be misclassified, however, they may be entitled to back pay for benefits, severance, payment in lieu of notice, and other entitlements.

What are layoffs in Argentina?

In Argentina, layoffs (or redundancy) are allowed if the employer is terminating one or more employees for wholly business reasons (for example, a lack of work due to an economic downturn, technology reasons, etc.).

The employer must select the employees affected by layoffs in a fair, non-discriminatory manner. In most cases, this means companies adopt a "first in, last out" procedure for layoffs.

For group dismissals, companies are required to initiate a "crisis prevention procedure" if they plan to lay off:

  • More than 15% of the workforce is in a company with less than 400 employees.
  • More than 10% of the workforce in a company with 400-1,000 employees.
  • More than 5% of the workforce in a company with over 1,000 employees.

The crisis prevention procedure requires the employer to create a social plan and attend a hearing with the Ministry of Labour and relevant trade unions to negotiate the details of the layoffs.

Manage the entire lifecycle of your international employees with Rippling

Managing a global workforce is complex—but it doesn't need to be difficult. From onboarding to offboarding, Rippling helps you streamline the entire employee lifecycle—globally, and all in one place.

All you have to do is click "hire" and Rippling takes it from there, supporting your global workforce right out of the box. Rippling can:

  • Set up a localized Argentina employment agreement.
  • Pay employees and contractors in Argentina and around the world—without waiting for bank transfers or conversions.
  • Easily stay compliant with Argentina overtime, leave, and termination requirements.

See Rippling in action to learn how you can make global compliance—for terminations and more—instant and automatic.

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.

last edited: July 26, 2023

The Author

Christina Marfice

Christina is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in Chicago. Having lived and worked in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, she’s bringing her expertise on hiring in Latin America to Rippling.

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