Equipping new Hires in Mexico and Panama: key Considerations

One of the greatest business benefits of remote working is the ability to expand your talent search beyond the commuting distance of your offices and access the global talent market. But hiring and onboarding internationally comes with a myriad of challenges and considerations - especially when it comes to equipping new hires.

Latin America is proving to be a major hiring hub for remote work. But if you are hiring in the region, you need to be aware of several rules and regulations relating to labour and customs laws. There are also many practical considerations (e.g. customs clearing) that will seriously affect your equipping process.

Mexico is one of the most popular countries that Hofy supplies to in the region, and while Panama is a popular digital nomad destination, it has its own quirks when it comes to remote working laws. 

Here are just some of the the things to consider when sending equipment to remote workers in Mexico and Panama. 

Allow time for customs clearance

You will need to allow ample time for your new hire’s equipment to get through customs. The higher the value or the bulkier the item, the longer it will take to clear customs. Combine that with the time it takes to translate documents like commercial invoices, and it could easily take 2+ weeks for shipping and customs clearance. 

Be prepared for shipping costs, and fees for customs, duties, and taxes

To deliver just one laptop worth $1,000 from the UK to either Mexico or Panama, you will pay around $400 in shipping costs, duties and taxes alone.

These costs can escalate due to local bureaucratic proceedings - e.g. you may find added items on your final invoice labelled as “processing fee”.

In Mexico… 

The following regulations apply to any employee who works away from the office for more than 40% of the time:

You must provide, maintain and install all equipment

You must provide, install and maintain the equipment that your remote hire needs to work at home. This includes computer equipment, ergonomic chairs and printers. 

You must cover utility costs

You must also cover all additional costs that your new hire incurs while working from home, such as using the internet during the day, using electricity etc.

Although the law doesn’t prescribe a specific timing window for reimbursement, it does oblige you to reimburse these costs within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time. The definition of ‘reasonable’ may vary with how often your employee gets paid (weekly or monthly, for example).

 Remote workers have the “right to digital disconnection” 

This means that remote workers have the right to not be contacted outside their working hours, and during annual leave and public holidays.

Remote hires in Mexico have the right to disconnect from all work communications during these times. The possibility of being sanctioned for it is also prohibited. 

There could be more regulations on the way to maintain health & safety (H&S) standards

Mexico has published a draft on H&S conditions for remote working, which may come into effect in the coming months.

If adopted, it would require employees to provide employers with written evidence of all physical safety conditions in the workspace - ensuring that home office setups are free from physical, ergonomic, and psychosocial risks. 

In Panama…

You must write up a contract with certain conditions for remote working, and pay for equipment and utilities

Remote work is regulated in Panama and is only available if you and your new hire complete a written contract outlining:

  • The type of remote work: “complete” or “partial”, the latter being defined as at least one day in an office
  • Work hours and the obligation or not to work overtime
  • Coverage of expenses, such as electricity, equipment, or other necessities

This means that you must cover all additional costs relating to remote working - from internet and electricity, to equipment and software, including maintenance and repair.

Equip new hires effortlessly with Hofy

Save hours navigating customs forms, requirements, H&S standards etc. and risk when you work with Hofy. We enable you to equip new hires with ergonomic equipment guaranteed to meet local H&S standards in just 1 click. And then we take care of the logistics, so you don’t have to. We deliver equipment in time for your new hire’s start date, wherever you hire, while ensuring a fantastic employee experience.