Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

The main provisions on the setting of minimum wages are contained in the General Labour Act, the Decree enacting the regulation of the General Labour Act and the Supreme Decrees.

The Ministry of Labour is responsible for fixing and periodic review of minimum wage. In doing so, it must take into account a number of factors, which include the geographic conditions, the economic situation of the country and categories of workers. The change in the minimum wage is notified to the public by the passage of a Supreme Decree.

The national minimum wage applies to all workers in both the public and the private sector. There is one general minimum wage rate, which is applicable to all salaried employees and wage-earning employees except agricultural workers.

The Labour Inspection is responsible for monitoring compliance of the minimum wage legislation, and can initiate the necessary proceedings before the Labour and Social Security Court against the employers for violating the provisions of the Supreme Decree. Where there has been non-compliance with the minimum wage legislation by the employer, the law may impose a fine ranging from one thousand to ten thousand Bolivianos, depending on the seriousness of the offence. In addition, the Labour Judge or the immediately superior political authority can, also depending on the facts of a particular case, order the payment of the salary the worker was entitled to earn. In case of repeated non-compliance, fines can be doubled or closure of the commercial establishment may be imposed.

The current minimum wage in Bolivia, applicable from May 2016, is 1805 Bolivianos, which is a raise of 9% over the previous wage.

Source: §1, 47, 52, 121 of General Labour Act, 1939; §46 and 165 of the Decree enacting the Regulation of the General Labour Act, 1943; §2 and 3 of the Supreme Decree No. 107, 2009

Regular Pay

The term “wages” has been defined in the General Labour Law of Bolivia as any agreed payment in exchange of the services rendered by a worker in any of its modes or types of work.

Wages may be paid on hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Wage payment period is however 15 days for (blue-collar) workers and 30 days for employees and domestic workers. Law also allows in-kind payment of wages. Wages must be paid in legal tender, on a workday and in the place of work. Paying wages in places of recreation, sale of merchandise or liquor is prohibited except for those workers who are employed in such establishments.

When paying wages to employees, the employer may only deduct amounts corresponding to income tax, contributions for the social insurance, and other contributions determined under the law. Deducting amounts for the use of amenities at work such as rental for rooms, use of light, water, medical care, medicines, tools or the imposition of fines (unless authorized by the Ministry of Labour)  is strictly prohibited. On the orders of a Labour Court, a woman may receive 50% of the remuneration earned by her husband

Source: § 53 of General Labour Act, 1939; §42 and 43 Decree enacting the Regulation of the General Labour Act, 1943


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