Of Love and Penitence: Dia de San Valentín (Valentine’s Day) and Miércoles de ceniza (Ash Wednesday) in the Mexican Workforce”

Today is February 14th, and in Mexico, this day is known as Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and friendship. This date is characterized by the exchange of gifts, cards, and gestures of affection between couples and friends. This year it coincides with another celebration, Ash Wednesday; this day marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian tradition, a period of reflection and penance that precedes Easter.

In Mexican companies, the way these celebrations are approached can vary. Valentine’s Day is often recognized with activities organized by employees themselves, such as gift exchanges or thematic decoration in the workplace. Some companies may offer flexibility in schedules so that employees can celebrate with their loved ones.

On the other hand, Ash Wednesday is not usually a cause for celebration in the work environment. Instead, it is common for those who observe the religious tradition to attend religious services to receive the imposition of ashes as a symbol of repentance and spiritual renewal.

And legally, how does the Federal Labor Law handle it?

Regarding the payment for these holidays according to the Federal Labor Law in Mexico, Valentine’s Day is not recognized as a mandatory day off, so it does not imply an additional payment or a paid day off for workers. Therefore, payment for this day will be made according to the hours worked and the company’s provisions regarding overtime (if any). For this day, it is common for restaurants and stores to offer specials for gatherings and gift purchases.

In the case of Ash Wednesday, like other religious holidays, it is not recognized by law, so the treatment in companies may vary. For not being an official holiday, for the majority of companies, it is a regular working day. In the few companies that celebrate it, some grant the day off to those employees who request it for religious reasons, while others may require the employee to take a vacation day or make up for the lost hours at another time. In any case, payment and labor conditions related to Ash Wednesday are usually determined by the company’s internal policies and the agreement between the employer and the employee. Churches are aware of all this and prepare religious services at special times for parishioners who work.

My recommendations

As I have mentioned on other occasions, even if you do not share the religious beliefs associated with Ash Wednesday, it is important to respect the observance of this holiday by your Mexican colleagues and avoid any comment or action that may be offensive.

Instead, if you wish to participate in the celebrations, on Valentine’s Day, integrate yourself in a respectful and considerate manner with your coworkers, avoiding overly romantic gestures that may make others uncomfortable. Although there may be a festive atmosphere due to the celebrations, it is important to maintain professionalism at work and avoid distractions that may affect work performance. Additionally, this coincidence of festivities can be an opportunity to learn more about Mexican traditions and culture, which can help strengthen interpersonal relationships at work.

“In penance, we find the strength to overcome our weaknesses.”

– In the public domain –
Roger Mariano

Roger Mariano

Deputy General Manager, Manager, Consultant, Professor, lecturer, with over 20 years of experience in key roles in the Human Resources field, often serving as a change agent in both National and Multinational Companies. I aim to support my national and international colleagues, as well as anyone interested in learning about my experience in human resources management in Mexico.

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