Independent Workers in Mexico Can Join IMSS

Independent workers in Mexico will be able to affiliate with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and gain full access to its coverage and services.

Now, independent workers in Mexico, upon affiliating with the IMSS, can benefit from contributions to the National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute (Infonavit).

The Mexican Senate unanimously approved reforms to the legal frameworks of both institutions to acknowledge the right to voluntary affiliation to social security for self-employed workers and Mexicans working abroad.

“For those citizens engaged in the country’s economic activity, regardless of their labor characteristics, having the right to social security is of the utmost importance,” states the reform bill for the Social Security Law, which was approved by the Upper House on Thursday.

In August 2020, the IMSS Technical Council approved the creation of a pilot program for the affiliation of independent workers. To date, a little over 100,000 independent workers in Mexico have participated through this program.

With this package of reforms, the program’s design is elevated to the level of law, and the rights of self-employed workers in Mexico who work independently are formally recognized.

Independent workers in Mexico, by being able to voluntarily contribute to the IMSS and enjoy full coverage, will have complete access to social benefits.

According to data from the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE), there are currently 13 million independent workers in Mexico. Of this group, 59% are men, and 41% are women.

In this way, one in five individuals currently participating in the labor market in Mexico is self-employed.

The project involves changes to nine articles of the Social Security Law and defines the concept of an independent or self-employed worker as “a natural person who is not subject to a subordinate labor relationship and does not receive a salary but generates income through the independent practice of their profession, trade, or activity.”

Key highlights of the new reform for independent workers in Mexico include:

  • Independent workers in Mexico can voluntarily join the mandatory regime.
  • Contributions will be calculated based on the individual’s actual monthly income, which must fall within a range of 6,232 pesos (the monthly minimum wage) and 77,805 pesos (25 UMA).
  • Payment of the contribution is allowed on a monthly, bimonthly, semi-annual, or annual basis.
  • Comprehensive access to the five IMSS insurances is guaranteed: sickness and maternity, workplace risks, disability and life, retirement, old age, and nurseries, and social benefits.
  • Workers who have both a subordinate job and work independently at the same time can supplement their contributions.
  • Affiliation will be terminated either by the express declaration signed by the self-employed worker or non-payment of the corresponding fees.

Those in other affiliation modalities, such as independent workers, can transition to the new insurance scheme.

Once the reform is enacted, the IMSS will have 180 days to adapt its internal regulations to these changes.

Also read: The INE is putting a brake on Claudia Sheinbaum.

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