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Expected Changes To Dominican Republic’s Labor Law Likely To Rebalance Employer-Employee Relationship 

by Luis Rafael Pellerano

Published: September, 2014

Submission: September, 2014


In recent years, the Dominican Republic has enacted reforms affecting virtually every industry and every significant Dominican statute with one principal goal in mind: to enhance the rule of law for the benefit of Dominicans and investors - foreign and domestic alike.  Thus, the Dominican Republic has amended everything from its corporate law to its tax law, has adopted a wide range of incentives to attract capital, and has made it clear that, simply put, the country invites and welcomes companies from around the world to do business here in a modern, free market economy that ensures profitability and competitiveness.

Now, the Dominican Republic is on the verge of another significant legislative development.  By the end of this year, or by early next year, it seems likely that major amendments will be made to the Dominican labor law.  Certainly, the changes will not affect the basic protections afforded to workers by Dominican la, just as workers in the United states and elsewhere are the beneficiaries of legislation enacted wit their interests in mind.  The changes expected to be made to the Dominican labor law, however, are likely to alter the balance between workers, on the one had, and management on the other, with the result being a more favorable legal environment for employers.

This column highlights a number of the most important changes currently being discussed and explores the ramifications for foreign corporations doing business in the Dominican Republic if they are adopted.

Proposed Changes

Employment Contracts

Proposed changes to the Dominican labor law begin with the law relating to employment contracts, including for employees who telecommute and people with disabilities as well as those who work in the maritime industry and aviation crews, which are subject to a special regimen provided by the Dominican Labor Code.  The proposed changes would not alter the exclusion of independent professionals from the application of the provisions of the Dominican Labor Code, but the technicians and self-employed workers would be inserted into this category.

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