Ecuador is on the West Coast of South America. It ranks as the 10th most populous country in the Americas, with an estimated population of over 17.3 million people. Quito is the nation’s capital and most populous city with over two million people. Ecuador has used the U.S. dollar as legal tender since 2000, after a financial crisis. Ecuador’s primary exports include petroleum products, aquatic animals such as fish, crustaceans and fruits. Currently, the government of Ecuador is focusing on decreasing the size of the public sector, increasing private sector investment to drive economic growth.
Employment contracts in Ecuador can be verbal or written but a written contract that details the terms and conditions of employment is recommended. The written contract should include:
The standard work week in Ecuador is 40 hours a week. Employees typically work eight hours a day, five days a week. Overtime is limited to four hours a day and 12 hours a week but must be approved by the local labor inspector. Overtime is paid at 150% or 200% of the standard rate, depending on when the work is performed.
Employees receive unlimited sick leave. Social security pays 75% of sick leave after three days of illness but they must be informed of the leave. The employer pays the remainder.
Female employees receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. Two weeks must be taken before the birth if the employee can present a medical certificate. This leave is paid at 100% of their salary and can be extended by 10 days in the event of multiple births, and they receive up to a year of unpaid leave for a pregnancy-related illness. Male employees receive 10 days of paid paternity leave. This can be extended by five days in the event of multiple births or a cesarean birth or eight days for a premature birth. Employees receive 15 days of paid adoption leave once the adoption begins.
A mandatory 13th- and 14th-month bonus is paid to employees. The bonuses are paid in December and generally in either March or April. Employers also pay 15% of their net profits up to a maximum amount as a bonus.
Employees receive 15 days of paid annual leave, and those with at least five years of service receive either an extra day of leave or cash payment. Some collective bargaining agreements allow for more paid annual leave. Employees can carry over their annual leave up to a maximum of three years.
The following public holidays are observed in Ecuador:
There is universal healthcare which is free at the point of access. It is operated by the Ministry of Public Health and IESS (Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security). This includes pregnancy care, both before and after the birth.
Employment contracts can be terminated by the employer for just cause or breach of contract with the permission of the labor inspector or for economic reasons. There are specific rules and procedures that the employer must follow, notice may be required depending on the reason for termination and the employer may be required to pay severance.
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