Should the bonuses, Christmas food baskets, vouchers, gift cards granted by the employer be considered part of the salary?
In relation to the regulation of acquired rights, Law 516 “LAW OF ACQUIRED LABOR RIGHTS”, establishes that the “Acquired Labor Rights”, are the set of benefits, powers, guardianship rules and similar provisions that are established in favor of workers in the following instruments:
- 1. The Political Constitution
- 2. Labor Legislation
- 3. International Labor Agreements
- 4. Ministerial Regulations or Decrees
- 5. Los convenios colectivos y
- 6. Collective Agreements and Bilateral agreements signed between employers and employees.
In this sense, all the rights established for the workers, in accordance with the aforementioned, will be considered as labor rights acquired, by their beneficiaries and therefore incorporated into their collective agreements or individual labor contracts or labor legal relationship, only if they found in some of the instruments listed above.
Therefore, if in the labor relationship we are facing an additional benefit granted by the employer and it is also not adequately covered by a collective agreement or individual employment contract or bilateral agreement signed by the parties of the labor legal relationship, it is not considered as an Acquired Right, binding and enforceable against the employer.
It is important to indicate that the bonuses, Christmas food baskets, vouchers, gift card or tokens granted by the employer to the employee should be considered to pay the salary, since Art. 81 of the Labor Code conceptualizes the salary as follows: “… The salary is considered the compensation that the employer pays the employee under the employment contract or labor relationship… ”and in Art. 85 of the Labor Code the it is established the concept of ordinary and extraordinary salary, thus:“… Ordinary salary is the one accrued during the ordinary day, which includes the basic salary, incentives and commissions. Extraordinary salary is the one that accrues in overtime … “and in Art. 86 of the Labor Code it was regulated that:” … The salary shall be paid in legal currency … / … In no case may payment be made with merchandise, vouchers, tokens or other representative signs with which it is intended to replace the currency… ”.
According to the above, we have that the labor code, when conceptualizing the ordinary salary, indicates that the basic salary, incentives and commissions are included in it, without indicating that there is a salary in kind and therefore it is not appropriate to consider these species as part of the salary (except for exceptions such as domestic work) since the Nicaraguan labor legislator expressly states that the salary must be paid in legal currency.