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El Salvador   

Amendments to the Growing Together Law Arias Law - El Salvador

Eduardo Angel - Raquel Romero,  January 8, 2024

On January 3rd, 2024, the Congress approved a series of amendments to the Growing Together Law for the Integral Protection of Early Childhood, Childhood and Adolescence. Among these amendments is the establishment of a new alternative modality to those previously set forth in article 137 of the law, so that private sector employers with one hundred or more employees guarantee the children of its workers access to an Early Childhood Care Center (abbreviated "CAPI" in Spanish), from the end of maternity leave until one day before their fourth birthday,.  

The modalities for complying with this employer’s obligation initially provided for in the law – the first of which has been partially reformed – are as follows:  

- Install and maintain Early Childhood Care Centers at an independent location within the same district where the work center is located; 

- Install and maintain common centers paid for by several employers at the same municipality where the work centers are located; 

- Hire independent services, offered by a CAPI duly authorized to operate, located at the same geographical area as the workplace, the worker’s residence, or the home of their children. In accordance with the law, these services may also be offered by municipal CAPIs. 

According to this amendment, it is established that employers may opt for an alternative modality, which consists of paying the employee the average cost of the services of a CAPI duly authorized and chosen in accordance with the employee´s educational and values preferences. To this end, the Regulations for the Installation, Operation and Supervision of Early Childhood Care Centers will regulate the parameters for defining the average cost of a CAPI; in addition, employers must establish in their internal regulations the conditions of this benefit, and no distinctions may be made based on salary or position held.   

The employer shall retain the responsibility of selecting the modalities by which he will comply with this obligation, considering the right of mothers and fathers to choose the education of their children. On the other hand, employees must choose between the modalities available or agreed with the employer. The Ministry of Labor will supervise the compliance with this employer’s obligation. The failure to comply could result in fines for the employer.  

Finally, the decree also modified the maximum period that employers will have to provide the children of their employees with comprehensive early childhood care through any of the modalities provided for in the law. This period will be twenty-four months and will be counted from the entry into force of the Regulations and the Technical Standard for the installation and operation of Early Childhood Care Centers. It should be noted that both the Regulations of the law and the aforementioned technical standard were published in the Official Gazette on February 16, 2023, and entered into force on the 24th of that same month and year, so it is from this date that the twenty-four-month period for the implementation of the employer’s obligation must be computed. Nevertheless, these regulations do not yet establish the parameters for determining the average cost of CAPIS. 

The decree is still pending to be approved by the Executive Branch and published in the Official Gazette.  

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