Is that something that’s contagious?

Mexican employers are required to pay an aguinaldo to all employees. This is not exactly a Christmas bonus, but a mandatory compensation that must be paid prior to December 20, and will equal about 15 days’ wages for full-time employees. A fruitcake is just not going to cut it.

Anyone who services you regularly during the year gets this: hairstylists, barbers, manicurists, housekeepers, gardeners, handymen...and on and on. The official formula for part-time workers, as posted at is calculated by multiplying the total number of days worked in the current year by 15; then divide that by 365 days; then multiply by the daily rate you pay.”

Confusing, right? As most of us don’t pay by the day or hour for most services, come up with a figure you feel is a good sum. Are you happy with the service you received during the year? Did your manicurist give you little snowflakes on your nails at Christmas for free? Be generous! The more munificent you are, the easier it will be to schedule a last-minute appointment, or claim your housekeeper for an extra day before a big party.

And don’t be stingy with those parking lot attendants who help you with your groceries, or backing out of a parking space. If you notice they really pay attention to the parking lot,  throw them an extra 50 pesos sometime during the holidays. They will remember, and you will receive primo service in the new year. If not, you are only out a few dollars, and you made someone happy. In many cases, the only money these guys make is your tip.

Now, these are just guidelines. If your hairstylist fixed that little screw up that turned your hair a striking shade of purple, be generous. Don’t buy them a gift unless you know it’s something they really want, and could not afford. What they want is cold hard cash.

Once you get this figured out, we will advance you to an understanding of mandatory severance, finiquito, and that perennial favorite, mandatory profit sharing. Moving on, we will explain your payroll burden which is about 30% of your employees’ pay. There is their housing fund, their health insurance, their pension…. ,