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To the Government of Guatemala:

To the Executive Branch:

· Uphold in practice and in law international human rights obligations to guarantee the right to nondiscrimination and the right to privacy.

· Publicly condemn pregnancy discrimination as discrimination based on sex.

· Prioritize compliance with the peace accords, specifically the commitment in the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and Agrarian Reform to revise labor legislation to guarantee equality of rights and opportunities between men and women, enact laws to protect the rights of women who work as household employees, and create mechanisms to ensure these are implemented in practice.

· Take steps to ensure effective coordination among state entities charged with overseeing state gender policies and response to violations of women's rights, with the input and oversight of the Presidential Secretariat for Women, and ensure that the protection of women's rights in the workforce is given high priority.

· Ensure that both the Ministry of Labor and the Guatemalan Institute for Social Security (IGSS) conduct proactive investigations of alleged violations. For example, where there is reasonable cause to believe that an individual complaint represents a widespread problem in a maquila, the inspectorate offices in these institutions should launch full and prompt investigations.

· Review Ministry of Labor Inspectorate and IGSS Inspectorate procedures to strengthen their enforcement powers, improve efficiency and ensure the protection of worker job security and confidentiality. Both inspectorates should routinely launch investigations that respond to and uncover gender-specific violations.

To Congress:

· Reform the labor code to bring regulations concerning domestic workers in line with international standards and ensure that they are accorded the same rights as other Guatemalan workers with respect to the eight-hour workday, the minimum wage and overtime, rest periods, national holidays, vacation, written contracts, and social security.

· Enact legislation that explicitly prohibits any company, public or private, from requiring that women give proof of pregnancy status, contraceptive use (or any other information related to reproductive choice and health) in order to be considered for, gain, or retain employment.

· Enact legislation prohibiting sexual harassment that takes into account different kinds of sexual harassment, as well as varying levels of employer accountability (and financial liability). Sexual harassment legislation should also take into account the spectrum of work environments, including domestic work and agricultural work.

· Enact legislation to establish penalties, including fines, to punish companies, foreign or domestic-owned, that engage in pregnancy-based sex discrimination.

· Enact the proposed Childhood and Youth Code after amending it to conform with international standards and ensure that child domestic workers enjoy the same protections as other child laborers.

To the Ministry of Labor:

· Investigate vigorously all allegations of sex-based discriminatory employment practices and punish those responsible for such practices.

· Conduct timely and periodic unannounced visits to maquilas to investigate hiring practices and inspect working conditions.

· Ensure that all inspectors and other officials in the Ministry of Labor receive timely and periodic training in gender-specific labor rights issues and investigative techniques.

· Strengthen the role and oversight capacity of the Working Women's Unit within the Ministry of Labor and launch a public campaign to inform women workers about the unit and its services.

· Consolidate mechanisms for coordination and information sharing among the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Economy and IGSS for review of maquilas.

· Establish clear and consistent guidelines for exercising the enforcement powers of the Ministry of Economy with respect to gender-specific violations in maquilas.

· Establish, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, a transparent process for the review of maquila labor rights performance, the conditions for revocation and reinstitution of benefits under Decree 29-89, and guidelines for how nongovernmental organizations and labor unions can help initiate and participate in these processes.

· Launch a national public education campaign about sex discrimination in the labor force and remedies available to injured parties. The campaign should address sexual harassment, with a special emphasis on the situation of domestic workers. A separate education campaign should focus on domestic worker rights more generally. Both campaigns should be conducted in several different Mayan languages and in a format accessible to all Guatemalans.

· Obligate employers of domestic workers to register the employment relationship with the Ministry of Labor and equip the ministry with the resources necessary to enable proper data collection, tracking of the sector, and monitoring of work conditions.

· Establish a special task force on domestic workers, composed of representatives from the Ministry of Labor (including the Inspectorate and the Working Women's Unit), IGSS, the Office of the Defender of Women's Rights in the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office, the Office of the Defender of the Indigenous Women's Rights, and nongovernmental associations working directly with domestic employees. The task force should consider the utility of establishing a permanent special section within the labor inspectorate to monitor the rights of domestic workers.

To Maquila Owners and Management:

· Ensure that women applicants are not questioned about their reproductive status: remove all questions about pregnancy status from application forms and ensure that human resources and medical personnel do not ask any questions about pregnancy status, birth control, menstruation cycles, number of children or marital status. Put information on all applications notifying job applicants that pregnancy testing and any behavior to determine pregnancy status with discriminatory purposes is forbidden. This notice should guarantee the applicant's confidentiality and urge the applicant to report any violations of this policy and identify the means to do so.

· Establish a confidential, internal procedure for receiving and addressing complaints concerning pre- and post-hire violations of Guatemalan law.

· Affiliate all workers to IGSS and establish a reasonable and efficient process for workers to acquire the necessary work certificate in order to access IGSS health care services. All workers should be given their IGSS membership card, and workers should be given reasonable time off to visit IGSS.

· Institute regular training sessions for management and other personnel, including supervisors and human resources personnel, in Guatemalan law and, in particular, women's right to equality in the workforce.

· Disseminate in writing to all new and continuing workers information about their labor rights-including the right to equality and the right to maternity protections and benefits-and how to access state institutions charged with enforcing those rights. Where appropriate, ensure that these written materials are available in indigenous languages.

· Prominently display posters informing women about their maternity protections and benefits, including pre- and post-natal health care rights, and indicating the appropriate internal mechanism for ensuring enjoyment of those rights.

To Multinational Corporations that Use Maquilas as Contractors:

· Communicate clearly to all suppliers, vendors, and contractor factories that pregnancy testing and any behavior to determine pregnancy status with discriminatory purposes is unacceptable.

· Ensure that contractor factories abide by Guatemalan law with respect to maternity protections and benefits for female employees.

· Monitor contractor plants on an ongoing basis, by, at a minimum: requiring periodic, timely independent certification that plants are being operated without discrimination; hiring an independent, impartial group wholly unconnected to the factory to monitor compliance through unannounced visits; and periodically visiting the subcontractor plants unannounced to review the hiring process and solicit information in a confidential manner from workers on the issue of discrimination. The monitoring process should require timely and periodic proof that contractor factories have effective and confidential channels to receive and remedy complaints, including complaints about pregnancy-based discrimination and about sexual harassment.

· Ensure that contractor factories adopt appropriate mechanisms for informing new and continuing workers of their rights with respect to nondiscrimination, pre- and post-natal care, and maternity benefits.

· Where applicable, ensure that contractor factories prominently display the corporation's code of conduct in Spanish and the appropriate indigenous language(s), and inform new workers about the code during orientation or training.

To the Guatemalan Apparel Business Umbrella Organization, VESTEX:

· Explicitly prohibit sexual harassment in the association's voluntary Code of Conduct, and promote alternative methods for checking workers upon entry and exit from the maquilas. If pat searches must be conducted, they should always be same-sex and be done in private and with the utmost respect to minimize opportunities for humiliation or intimidation.

· Clarify in the Code of Conduct that pregnancy testing constitutes prohibited sex discrimination. Explicitly prohibit pregnancy exams for applicants or any other such method that would invade a woman's privacy regarding her pregnancy status and right to nondiscrimination, including questions about her civil status and number of children.

· Ensure that all private companies or individuals that own maquilas abide by international standards and Guatemalan law with respect to accommodating the reasonable needs of pregnant workers, allowing them to access prenatal medical care, and abiding by maternity protections.

· Ensure that all private companies or individuals that own maquilas abide by Guatemalan law and register all employees with IGSS, as well as provide workers with the necessary certificates to take advantage of IGSS medical care and treatment.

To the International Labor Organization:

· Request that Guatemala report specifically on all forms of pregnancy-related discrimination in connection with employment in its follow-up country reports submitted under the 1998 Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These reports should address such issues as pregnancy testing as a condition of employment, pregnancy testing of already-employed workers, post-hire penalization of pregnant workers, and failure to abide by maternity protections, among other related issues.

· Create a special program to examine the situation of adult women working as domestic workers, similar to the project on child domestic workers within the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

· Ensure that the Project for Women Workers in the Maquilas in Guatemala document gender-specific labor rights violations, including discrimination on the basis of reproductive status, and take the appropriate steps to raise awareness about these issues and promote greater enforcement by the Guatemalan government of national and international law.

To the United States Government:

· Strengthen labor rights conditionality in U.S. trade laws by including freedom from discrimination based on sex, as well as other grounds, as one of the "internationally recognized worker rights."

· Include domestic worker rights as an issue in the section on labor rights in the yearly Department of State country human rights report.

· Raise the issue of sex discrimination against women in the labor force in bilateral meetings with the Guatemalan government, and press for such discrimination to be outlawed and punished.

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