Christmas bonus – the aguinaldo in Mexico

5 12 2006

Employers in Mexico are required by law, to give employees a Christmas bonus.

The “aguinaldo” is a mandatory annual payment given in the month of December, prior to the 20th, to each worker in Mexico.  This includes all employees in private industry, and all government employees.

The aguinaldo is equivalent to 15 days wages, or more.  For employees with less than a years service, a pro-rated payment is provided.

This puts added strain on cash flow and accounts payables for Mexican organizations during the month of December.  At the same time it creates a huge burst of economic activity throughout the country.

Related Links

Christmas parties and holiday gifts in Mexico

Mexican official and unofficial holidays

How to do business in Mexico





Christmas parties and holiday business gifts in Mexico

27 11 2006

The month of December is Mexico is filled with Christmas and holiday parties and social events.

The population of Mexico is 95%+ Christian and openly celebrates Christmas in private industry and government displays. Be aware that there are other religious groups in Mexico that do not celebrate Christmas in order to avoid offending suppliers or clients.

These Christmas and holiday reunions are usually mid-day dinners or late suppers. There will be get-togethers for friends, business acquaintances, associations and any committees or other groups that you might belong to.

There is also the company Christmas party.

Failure to attend the holiday events are noticed and considered rude. It’s better to arrive and steal away early than to avoid the reunions all together. Remember Mexico is a very socially oriented culture, failure to attend and participate in the social events will not help you, it might work against you.

Corporate and business gift giving is very important, and in many cases expected at Christmas time. The low end gifts range from the traditional; calendars and pens, agendas, calculators or other promotional type gifts to the higher end: fine liquors (Tequila, Scotch whiskey, Cognac, Red wine), fine food baskets, electronic equipment (Palms, IPods, etc.), gift certificates to restaurants, etc.

Unlike the USA, it is common in Mexico to give holiday gifts to the decision-makers in the purchasing department unless the companies have a policy against it.

Cut flowers or live plants are not considered an appropriate business gift.

Holiday gifts are given to important (and not so important) clients or to key people in the clients organization with whom you have a personal/business relationship (for example the secretary who answers all your calls or the logistics person who solves problems all year long).

Some transnational companies have tried to limit and reduce the amount and quality of business Christmas gifts in the past few years. It is not looked upon kindly by customers who always reflect upon the amount of money they have spent with the supplier, and believe the Christmas gift is a “thank you” and recognition of their support and loyalty throughout the year.

Work begins to slow down in Mexico at the beginning of December, and after December 12 (The Day of Guadalupe) efficiency grinds to a halt. It’s impossible to get major decisions, and many times difficult to locate business owners and managers due to events and social engagements.

Most Mexican businesses (not in tourist areas) are closed during the week between Christmas (Dec. 25) and the New Year (Jan 1). The Mexican government prohibits highway transport of certain goods and tractor trailers during this peak family vacation period.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

Mexican official and unofficial holidays

Tipping guidelines for Mexico

Doing Business in Mexico – cultural tips

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Corruption, bribes, mordidas, tips – doing business in Mexico





Questions – Answers, Doing business in Mexico

14 11 2006

Have any questions about how to do business in Mexico?

Any specific problems or dilemmas related to doing business in Mexico?

Questions about the business culture in Mexico or Mexican culture in general?

Would you like to know more about a specific theme related to Mexican business?

Need references or information about organizations, people or associations in Mexico?

Send your questions to me at   lee.iwan  at  gmail.com
or post a comment here.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

Official government websites of the 32 Mexican States 

The definitive dialing guide for calling Mexico

Shorten your learning curve about Mexico

Business South of the Border





Official government websites of the 32 Mexican States

13 09 2006

Links to the Official Government Websites of the Mexican States

  • Oaxaca – Not currently available
  • Tlaxcala – Not currently available

Many of these sites have the information available in the english language. Search the entry page for links to versions in english (or ingles).

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

How to negotiate with Mexican business people

Mexican official (and unofficial) holidays

Tip: How to call Mexico from the US

What to dial in order to reach a cellular phone in Mexico

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Meeting people in Mexico – kiss, shake hands or hug?

Before you go on your business trip to Mexico

Tipping Guidelines for Mexico





Tipping guidelines for Mexico

13 09 2006

Tipping is always a concern for travellers. In Mexico, tipping is very common and expected, but there are no fixed rules for the amount of the tip. If someone is providing an extra service or favor for you, a tip would be expected and welcome.

You should always have loose change and low denomination bills with you in order to make the transaction effortless.

You should tip with the quantity that you feel comfortable with. I’ve provided some tip guidelines that should help get you started.

Basic guidelines for tipping in Mexico.

  • Restaurants – the normal tip amount is 10% -15% of the bill. There is a national value added tax (IVA) of 15% included on all restaurant bills, this is not the tip, this is a tax.  Many people leave a tip equal to the IVA, 15%, or leave 10% of the total bill that has the IVA tax included.
  • Bellhops and luggage handlers – $ 10 – $ 20 pesos per bag.
  • Hotel maids – $ 20 – $ 50 pesos per day.
  • Taxis – Depends upon the city, type of taxi (meter or negotiated price). If a metered cab, a tip would be expected perhaps 10% of the total. If the taxi is a negotiated price no tip would be expected. If a fixed rate to destination cab (for example airport cabs) a tip would be appreciated $ 10 – $ 20 pesos.
  • Gas station attendants – $5 – $ 10 pesos depending on the level of service
  • Bars – 10% of the total bill
  • Valet parking – $ 10 – $20
  • Grocery store baggers – $ 5

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

Mexican official (and unofficial) holidays

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Tip: How to call Mexico from the US





Mexican official (and unofficial) holidays

11 09 2006

Travelling to Mexico for business or pleasure?  Check the official Mexican holiday calendar to find best dates and avoid the crowds or ensure your business contacts will be there to meet you.
Mexico currently recognizes the following dates as official national holiday dates.  This means that the majority of businesses in Mexico will close, including all banks and all government agencies.

In 2006 Mexico authorized alternative dates (Mondays) for the observance of certain national holidays.  These dates are published yearly in the “Diario Oficial”.

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • February 5 – Celebration of the Mexican Constitution (1917)
  • March 21 – Anniversary of the birth of Benito Juarez (1806)
  • May 1 – Labor Day
  • September 16 – Mexican Independence Day (1810)
  • November 20 – Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution (1910)
  • December 1 – Every 6 years when the power is transferred from the current president to the president elect
  • December 25 – Christmas Day

In addition there are some dates that are not official holidays, but due to local culture and customs you will find that many businesses are closed or many decision-makers are on vacation.  These include:

  • The week before Easter, especially the Thursday and Friday prior to Easter.  Holy Week (Semana Santa) is widely celebrated as a religious holiday and annual vacation time for families.  Beaches and resorts are favorite destinations.
  • May 10 – Mexican mothers day.  Always celebrated on this date, regardless of what day of the week it falls on.
  • Mid July until late August – Summer vacation time for families.  Beaches and resorts are favorite destinations.
  • Dec 12 – Day of the Celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
  • December 16 until January 2 – The time of the “Posadas”, pre and post Christmas celebrations.  Many companies use these dates for annual vacations.
  • There also may be local celebrations by specific towns and cities, in order to celebrate the founding of the city or special religious events.  Businesses will normally close on these days.

Related Links

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Tip:  How to call Mexico from the US

Meeting people in Mexico – kiss, shake hands or hug? 

Before you go on your business trip to Mexico

How to do business in Mexico, Parts 1 – 28