Mérida, Christmas Eve, 2010
It's December, and that means millions of Mexicans are about to receive the country's legally guaranteed aguinaldo, a term best translated as Christmas bonus.
Under Mexico's federal labor code payment of the aguinaldo is mandatory, at least in theory, and is based on the worker's pay rate.* Government employees receive aguinaldos, as do those who work for companies and larger businesses. Smaller enterprises are supposed to pay the bonus, but many don't simply because they lack the resources. Self-employed persons and sole proprietorships, including millions of artisans, vendors and itinerant merchants, don't get an aguinaldo from anyone. In a nation where the minimum wage is $5 dollars a day, and about 60% of the labor force is self-employed and off the tax rolls altogether, with no benefits of any type, the aguinaldo is one more establishment which serves to increase rather than diminish profound economic disparities.
This year Mexico's 500 federal deputies, who belong to the Cámara de Diputados, the equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives, will receive a bonus of 140,500 pesos each. That represents just over $10,000 USD at the current exchange rate.
Mexico's 128 senators will each get an aguinaldo check for 159,700 pesos - about $11,400 USD.
Deputies receive a monthly base salary of $5,285 USD. Senators are paid much more - $12,243.
In addition, every deputy and every senator receives $5,357 USD per month specially earmarked for "office expenses, staff salaries and constituent services." But such funds are not subject to audit.
Officials in Yucatán state also receive generous bonus checks - for the governor, over $12,000 USD, and for the mayor of Mérida, about $6,500.
*Every employee is entitled to 15 days compensation under the aguinaldo law. The labor code requires that payment be made by Dec. 20, but frequently it is not.
May 20 - Huge salaries of Mexican Supreme Court judges far outstrip their judicial brethren
© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.