imss hospital Don't be late, you could lose your bonus.

Billions of pesos paid for arriving on time

23 agencies reward their staff with bonuses for starting work when they should

The federal government pays out bonuses totaling billions of pesos annually to bureaucrats for arriving at work on time, money that academics say could be better used for other purposes or to motivate workers in more beneficial ways.


A total of 34.7 billion pesos (US $1.9 billion) have been paid to public servants during the current six-year term of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which started in December 2012.

The amount is just under the entire budget of the National Autonomous University (UNAM) for all of its undergraduate and postgraduate programs in 2017.

In response to freedom of information requests, the newspaper El Universal found that 23 federal agencies provide incentives to employees in this way.

Workers at the Social Security Institute, IMSS, are by far the largest beneficiaries of the punctuality bonus, receiving 77.5% of all money paid out under the scheme over the past four years. The next biggest spenders on the bonus are the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the Federal Employees’ Social Security Institute, ISSTE.

The Education Secretariat (SEP) pays punctual teachers twice annually while similar bonuses even extend to the federal Senate and Chamber of Deputies, although the amounts paid there are more modest. The national statistics institute, Inegi, even paid out bonuses to family members of deceased former workers who claimed them.

Punctuality bonuses have grown steadily over the past four years. In 2016, 8.3 billion pesos were paid out, more than 13% higher than in 2013.


But not everyone pays it: the Interior Secretariat (Segob) and Pemex are among those that do not.

IMSS says payment of the bonus is justified because its collective agreement with workers calls for it.

But many academics and researchers argue that the government shouldn’t incentivize workers for simply arriving at work on time on the grounds that it is a basic employment obligation, and the bonus doesn’t reward productivity or job performance.

Iberoamericana University academic Abraham Vergara Contreras thinks the amount being paid out is both illogical and unfair.

“It’s not right that for doing their work employees are paid that amount of money by government. There are bonuses for productivity, for being competitive or reaching established goals, that’s fair, but I don’t see this as appropriate.”

For the same amount of money, Vergara argued, thousands of cancer treatments could be paid for or thousands of extra places at universities could be created.

Claudio Vázquez, an academic at the Panamericana University (UP) has a similar view, arguing that any kind of financial incentives must be based on tangible benefits to the employer.

“Does arriving at work on time really add value, given that it’s an obligation?” he asked.

Researcher Ignacio Sevilla, also of UP, believes that spending could be cut by improving the work environment and that employees could be given incentives by offering non-monetary recognition such as an employee of the month program.

Source: El Universal (sp)  

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  • Maria Guadelupe

    Just to show up…? Might as well throw them another bonus if they leave their i phones at home! A no text tip.

  • jdwfinger

    I don’t think that anyone got the money for showing up. It is just another scam to steal money and pass it around.

  • Sharon

    OMG – little wonder there is no money for infrastructure repairs. How about show up or get fired??? We were dealing with the MP on a case where a man tried to cause an accident and when we did not cooperate, he threw a rock and broke our car window, when I got out, he punched me in the face and broke my glasses. By rights he should have been arrested on the spot – but he is a big drug dealer. They were supposed to get the money for repairs from the guy. After 5 months of them not doing a damn thing the MP agent asked for a mordida from me. I told him off and figured we were never going to get our 10,000 pesos, so we just gave up. The agent was not doing his job – totally useless as far as we are concerned. Bonuses do not guarantee that people will work better. This should make everyone who is not a government employee mad as hell.

  • delmaracer

    Is it any surprise that Mexico is a total mess?

  • Most businesses in Mexico pay a bonus for punctuality. You cannot fire someone in Mexico for being late for work or even missing up to 3 days in a 30 day period. The Labor law says missing MORE than 3 days is cause for rescinding a labor contract. The only way that business or government can assure that people show up for work on time is to build a “punctuality bonus” into their payroll. You show up for late and it costs you your bonus. It is very effective. I recommend to all of my clients that they structure a punctuality or attendance bonus into their payroll and I use the same method in my office. Remember it can be very expensive to rescind a labor contract in Mexico and being chronically late for work is not a justifiable cause for a rescission of the labor contract.