Uruguay: Opinión: Las Horas Extras En El Uruguay A Cien Años De Su Nacimiento

Last Updated: 23 March 2016
Article by Federico Caresani

¿UN DERECHO DEL TRABAJADOR O DEL EMPLEADOR?

Las horas extras en nuestro país es un tema que ha sido desarrollado, discutido y abordado ampliamente. Si bien es cierto que existe amplia doctrina, jurisprudencia y legislación que la regula varias han sido las teorías y opiniones sobre cómo debe ser la base de cálculo para las mismas, en qué casos corresponde abonarlas y en cuales no, quien tiene la carga de cumplirlas, que rubros deben tomarse en cuenta al momento de liquidarlas, cual es máximo legal permitido en base al tipo de trabajo que se realiza, y en definitiva si todas estas interrogantes terminan siendo un derecho del trabajador o del empleador al momento de su cumplimiento. El objetivo central de este artículo es desarrollar de forma sintética la regulación de las horas extras en nuestro país, develar algunas de las interrogantes que planteáramos previamente y aspirar a que no se transforme en una "figura" usada para el beneficio persona de alunas de las partes.

Sin lugar a dudas las horas extras y su regulación es un tema que ha sido fundamental para el desarrollo del Derecho del Trabajo tanto en Uruguay como en el mundo entero a lo largo de la historia. En nuestro país fue a comienzos del siglo XX cuando bajo la presidencia de Don José Batlle y Ordoñez se presentaron diversos proyectos de ley tendientes a proteger a la clase trabajadora quienes estaban en una situación de indefensión absoluta frente al empleador. Uno de esos proyectos fue la famosa "ley de las ocho horas" número 5.350 del 17 de noviembre de 1915. A partir de la misma fue que el concepto de "horas extras" comenzó a forjarse en nuestro país y los empresarios tuvieron que acotar las jornadas laborales de sus trabajadores, entre otras medidas proteccionistas.

Posteriormente se aprobó la ley 15.996 en el año 1988 que es la que define y regula actualmente el concepto de hora extra en Uruguay: "En las actividades y categorías laborales cuya jornada diaria este limitada, legal o convencionalmente, en su duración, se consideran horas extras las que excedan el limite horario aplicable a cada trabajador". Algunos sostienen que los fundamentos de este tipo de remuneración especial están originados en el hecho de que una persona que exceda la cantidad de horas previstas para el tipo de labor que desarrolla realiza un esfuerzo mucho mayor y por lo cual le correspondería una remuneración acorde al mismo. La regulación establece que siempre que la jornada de un trabajador supere las previstas especialmente por la normativa y los laudos vigentes deberá abonarse la hora extra. A su vez también dicha extensión de la jornada puede variar o limitarse contractualmente siempre en beneficio del trabajador. Las horas extras se pagan con un recargo del 100% en días hábiles es decir aquello días que normalmente debe prestar servicios el trabajador y con un 150% de recargo en días inhábiles y tomando en cuenta el horario en que se desarrollen (diurno o nocturno). Obviamente dependerá del rubro laboral al que debe aplicarse ya que para cada uno existen excepciones y regulaciones diferentes. Además se prevé un máximo semanal de ocho horas extras salvo autorización expresa del MTSS previo acuerdo entre empleador y trabajador o leyes o convenios que así lo prevean.

Ahora bien y modo de desarrollar lo expresado en el acápite del presente artículo debemos decir en que el control de las horas extras corresponde al empleador mediante alguno de los medios admitidos por ley. A su vez en caso de que las mismas deban ser probadas ante la justicia deberá hacerse de forma fehaciente y sin fisuras por parte del empleador para que tengan validez. En relación a la obligación de efectivamente realizar horas extras el trabajador no está obligado a las mismas sino que siempre se requiere el consentimiento previo del mismo para hacerlas.

Uno de los temas más discutidos en relación a las horas extras refiere a que rubros se deben tomar en cuenta al momento de liquidar las horas extras. En relación a este tema existen dos posiciones en nuestro país que han generado debates e incluso jurisprudencias encontradas. La posición más aceptada establece que para cuantificar la hora extra solo debe tomarse en consideración el salario base y no así cualquier otra partida de carácter salarial diferente como puede ser comisiones, primas, tickets, etc. porque a criterio de la doctrina y jurisprudencia generarían valores horas desproporcionados y en muchos casos impagables por el empresario. La segunda posición se basa en el Convenio Internacional de Trabajo Número 95 y a diferencia de la anterior, considera que todas las partidas integran los rubros salariales que deben ser liquidados al momento de calcular la hora extra. Recientemente una sentencia de la Suprema Corte de Justicia (Numero 411/015), máximo órgano jurisdiccional de nuestro país, confirmó la primer posición. Es importante destacar que la misma tuvo discordia de dos de sus integrantes lo que genera un llamado de "alerta" sobre todo para los empleadores. A futuro y cuando la SCJ varié alguno de sus miembros podría revertirse la posición de la mayoría lo que generaría sentencias que cambien el criterio de liquidación de las horas extras, lo cual implicaría un costo laboral impensado o incluso llevaría a las empresas a suprimir la concesión de horas extras a sus trabajadores.

A modo de conclusión, no podemos establecer con precisión si las horas extras son un derecho del empleador o del trabajador puesto que dependerá de las circunstancias en las cuales se generen que podremos estar ante una situación o la otra. Lo que sí es importante decir es que se debe evitar la radicalización en la utilización de las mismas tanto por parte del empleador como del trabajador. El empleador muchas veces busca evadir su pago incumpliendo con la normativa aplicable lo que en general es castigado por la justicia como corresponde. Por otro lado también debemos decir que muchas veces los trabajadores buscan tergiversar el verdadero espíritu del legislador, realizando reclamos que no se condicen totalmente con la realidad de los hechos. Creemos que este tipo de regulaciones proteccionistas hacen a la esencia del derecho laboral pero siempre que sea utilizado con el "espíritu" que por el año 1915 y a 100 años de su promulgación buscaba Don José Batlle y Ordoñez: la igualdad de todos los ciudadanos, llámese empleador o empleado. Esperemos volver a encauzar este rumbo que últimamente en ciertas ocasiones y por motivos espurios se ha torcido en búsqueda de beneficios personales.......

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