This content is for informational purposes only. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this content. It is not legal advice and shall not be relied on as such.

header image for Guatemala




Work Hours


Guatemala is a Central American country known for its Mayan history, high altitude and nearby volcanoes. The capital city is Guatemala City. Guatemala has the largest economy in Central America. More than 200 U.S. and other foreign firms have active investments in the country. Guatemala is a member of CAFTA-DR, a free trade agreement between the United States and a group of developing economies in Central America to facilitate growth in the region.

Employers can use indefinite employment contracts in Guatemala with no duration or date. For fixed-term contracts, there must be a duration and for contracts for a specific project, the responsibilities for the task must be stated.

The standard work week in Guatemala is 44 hours with eight hours a day. This can be extended by two hours a day for up to a maximum of 48 hours a week. Those who are managers or supervisors can work a maximum of 12 hours. Employees receive 30 minutes of rest per day and one day of rest after five days. Night work is capped at 36 hours a week, with six hours a day between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. If the shift is mixed with day-time work, the cap rises to 42 hours. Overtime is paid at 150% of the standard rate and employees cannot work overtime in hazardous environments. Those working a rest day or public holiday receive overtime pay.

Employees receive up to 26 weeks of paid sick leave per year in Guatemala. Sick leave begins after three days and is paid at 66% of the standard salary. Employees must have made four months of social security contributions in the past six months to qualify for sick leave, and the sick leave is capped at 52 weeks over a two-year period.

Female employees receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave in Guatemala, 30 days before the birth and 54 days after the birth if they have a medical certificate and at least six months of service. They receive up to three additional months of leave in the event of a pregnancy-related illness. Social security covers two-thirds of the cost and the employer pays the remainder. If they are not covered by social security, then the employer pays. Employers with 30 or more employees must give female employees a space to breastfeed at work for two 30-minute periods a day. The nursing period is capped at 10 months. There is no statutory paternity leave.

In Guatemala, a mandatory bonus of one month’s salary is paid in July and two payments of half a month’s salary are paid in December and January.

Employees in Guatemala receive 15 days of paid annual leave after one year of service and 150 days worked. Employees must be informed within 60 days of the time the annual leave becomes available.

In Guatemala, the public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day

  • Maundy Thursday

  • Good Friday

  • Easter Saturday

  • Labor Day

  • Army Day Holiday

  • Independence Day

  • Dia de la Raza

  • Revolution of 1944

  • All Saints' Day

  • Christmas Eve

  • Christmas Day

  • New Year's Eve

Guatemala provides some healthcare but coverage is limited.

To terminate an employment contract in Guatemala, the employer must gave notice in writing with a justified reason, such as misconduct. Employees receive severance pay of between two days and four months if they are terminated without just cause. Employers cannot terminate trade union members, female employees during pregnancy or maternity leave, or employees involved in a collective dispute or illegal shutdown of a business.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

  • Partner with atlas logo

    Partnering with Atlas when expanding into Guatemala can dramatically reduce the standard brick and mortar processes of doing business in foreign markets and allow you to focus on what you do best, growing your company! To discover more about how Atlas can simplify your ability to expand globally, please feel free to contact us.

We’d love to hear from you!

Our team of regional experts are here to support you with your global expansion plans. If you have any questions, just get in touch and we will be delighted to help.

An image of a group of women and men working together