Work contracts are now temporarily suspended as of the date of business closure.
By Executive Decree No. 81, employees are no longer required to provide service, and employers are not required to pay wages. The measure applies to companies affected by a previous executive decree that shuttered business deemed non-essential in times of Covid-19.
The suspension of contracts, the decree clarifies, does not imply termination of contract or affect the seniority of employees. Workers are to return to their jobs under the same conditions in force at the time of the suspension after the state of emergency is lifted.
Employees with suspended contract will figure in the list of beneficiaries of government programs to mitigate the lack of regular income for the duration of the suspension.
Panama Solidario Program
The government also announced the creation of the “Panama Solidario” program that will provide vouchers to informal workers and the unemployed, regardless of whether jobs were lost as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The program launches at the end of the month with an initial disbursement of $50 million. Beneficiaries will be able to use their IDs as debit card starting in April. Merchants will connect to an application from their smartphones, which will serve as a point of sale to receive payment from the government.
For more information: Executive Decree No. 81 of March 20, 2020.
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