New Law establishes a legal framework for the comprehensive approach to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Law 40 of August 14, 2018 has, among other, some provisions that affect the workplace, such as the following:
Obligations and prohibitions for employers:
- Any discrimination and stigmatizing or segregating act is prohibited to the detriment of those affected, as well as against their relatives and friends.
- Every employer is obliged to implement practical ILO recommendations on STI and HIV, and must take all necessary measures to effectively protect the life and health of its affected workers.
- The worker is not obliged to inform his employer or his co-workers about his condition as an affected person. If he does, the employer must keep strict confidentiality of the case and seek, if necessary, to make adjustments in their work environment according to medical criteria, for the best performance of their duties.
- No employer can deny affected workers the economic benefits to which they are entitled by law, such as deprive them of advancement in rank or promotion within the company.
- The health condition of the affected worker can not be a reason for exclusion in relation to bonuses, awards, training, work trips, recreational activities and any other benefit or activities in the company.
Work permits for appointments or treatments:
- Individuals affected will be granted work permits when required to take care of their health and medical treatments. Additionally, they will be granted up to a maximum of 144 hours, as long as their condition causes a disability.
- Workers affected with STIs or HIV can only be dismissed from their jobs for just cause, with prior authorization from the Ministry of Labor.
This Law repeals Law 3 of January 5, 2000.
The Executive Body, through the Ministry of Health, must regulate Law 40, in a period of 180 days as of August 14, 2018.
Ana Carolina Castillo Solís, associate, Morgan & Morgan
Last year Panama joined the list of countries that have established quotas as a mean for reducing the gender gap. Law 56 of 2017 creates a women quota of 30% on corporate boards of public entities and certain private entities. The Law was recently regulated through Executive Decree 241-A of 2018.
This Law applies to Central Government entities, Decentralized Government entities, state enterprises and mixed capital companies, as well as to companies regulated by the Superintendency of Banks, the Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance, the Superintendency of Capital Markets (SMV for its initials in Spanish) and the Panamanian Autonomous Cooperative Institute.
According to the regulatory decree, the purpose of the quota is to give priority to the candidate of the less represented gender if they have the same qualification as the candidate of the other gender in terms of experience, merit, competence and professional performance.
Mixed capital companies
Regarding mixed capital companies, although the Executive Body is in charge of appointing women to meet the quota -taking into consideration aspects such as their preparation and professional experience- the representatives of private equity shall also seek the participation of women on corporate boards.
In compliance with Law 56, regulated entities shall provide in their corporate governance manuals, good practices related to the designation of board members based on criteria of gender equity, merit, experience and in accordance with the requirements of each industry.
To verify compliance with the law, the regulated entity must submit an annual questionnaire to its respective regulator and publish this information on its website as well. It is important to highlight that the law does not provide sanctions for not complying with the quota, but the regulatory decree provides that in case of non-compliance, the company shall give the explanations thereof.
It should also be noted that Law 56 does not affect the current composition of corporate boards, instead it applies gradually to new designations of members being required to meet a 10% quota in July 2018, a 20% quota in July 2019, until reaching a 30% quota in July 2020.
According to information from the SMV, in 2014 out of 744 positions of companies’ boards listed on the Panama Stock Exchange, only 75 were occupied by women, and the percentage of women in boards of Panamanian capital companies in the banking sector is only 4%. It was not until 2014, after 110 years of existence, that the National Bank of Panama elected a woman for the first time as a member of its board of directors.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2017 of the World Economic Forum, with 0 representing disparity and 1 representing parity, Iceland leads the list with 0.878, Nicaragua is in the sixth place with 0.814 and Panama is at number 43 with 0.722, above the United States in the 49th place with 0.718. These statistics show that Panama is no stranger to this challenge. Gender equality is precisely one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, a commitment undertaken by Panama.
According to Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum, “Gender inequality deprives the world of a huge resource of untapped talent at a time when it is so important to address the enormous challenges and the disruptive forces we face”.
Faced with this situation, various measures such as gender quotas have emerged. Panama has joined the list of countries that have established quotas, such as Iceland, Norway and Finland (leaders in gender parity). In Latin America, countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay have also created laws with some type of quota.
The tangible positive results that diversity brings -not only of gender- are indisputable, including increasing performance, profitability and competitive advantages. The World Economic Forum estimates that the world GDP could increase by $5.3 trillion dollars by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation by 25% over the same period. This shows that it is not only necessary, but also convenient, to increase the participation of women and achieve gender parity.
Partner Ramon Varela and associate Ana Carolina Castillo contributed with the Panama chapter of Chambers & Partners Alternative Energy & Power 2019.
The guide analyzes the most relevant aspects that affects the energy industry in twenty-nine jurisdictions, including Panama.
The complete guide is available here.
Foreigners with nationalities that require an entry visa may enter Panama with visas from Korea, Japan or Singapore
Executive Decree No. 521 of August 6th, 2018
As of August 8th, 2018, foreigners of nationalities that require a visa to enter the Republic of Panama may enter with a Schengen Visa or current Residency from Korea, Japan or Singapore.
- By means of Executive Decree No. 521 of April 6th, 2018, any foreigner who requires a visa to enter the national territory, holding a Visa or valid residency in Korea, Japan or Singapore, may enter Panama, as a tourist, without an entry visa.
- The Visa must: (i) be granted for multiple entries and exits; (ii) be used at least once to enter the territory of the granting State; and (iii) have a validity of at least six (6) months.
- This Executive Decree became effective as of August 8th, 2018.
Aspects to be considered:
- This Decree includes Korea, Japan and Singapore within the list of exceptions. Previously, the list only included the United States of America, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom, and those holding a Schengen Visa from the European Union.
With this Executive Decree it is provided that the validity of the visa or residency of the above mentioned countries, must be of at least six (6) months, reducing the time established in the previous decree of at least one (1) year of validity.
Panama, July 31, 2018. For the second consecutive year, Ms. Kharla Aizpurua Olmos, Senior Associate of Morgan & Morgan, has been appointed as member of the Board of Directors of Fundacion WIP Panama. She has also been designated as member of the Board of Directors of Fundacion Dona Felicidad.
WIP Panama is an organization established with the purpose of furthering cooperation and communication among female lawyers around the country, as well as to address the main concerns on professional opportunities and development for them.
Dona Felicidad is focused on helping communities in extreme poverty through health, education and entertainment activities.
These new appointments ads to the pro bono practice of Ms. Aizpurua Olmos who regularly participates as volunteer in the Legal Open Houses organized by the firm in very low-income communities. Furthermore, she played a key role in the team responsible for drafting the bill to organize national volunteering in the Republic of Panama, and serves as counsellor to different Panamanian NGOs.
As a lawyer, Ms. Aizpurua Olmos concentrates her practice mainly advising clients in domestic and cross-border financing transactions. She has been involved on matters pertaining to syndicated lending, project finance, securitization and public offerings.
Morgan & Morgan advised Cirsa Gaming Corporation, S.A. in connection with the offering of senior secured notes and floating rate senior secured notes
Morgan & Morgan acted as counsel to Cirsa Gaming Corporation, S.A. (Cirsa) in connection with the offering of €663,000,000 6.250% senior secured notes due 2023, €425,000,000 floating rate senior secured notes due 2023, U.S. $550,000,000 7.875% senior secured notes due 2023, issued by LHMC Finco S.a.r.l. (Issuer), and to be guaranteed by the Issuer and, among others, Gaming & Services de Panama, S.A.
Cirsa is one of the leading gaming companies in Spain, Italy and Latin America and is engaged in the operation of slot machines, casinos and bingo halls and the manufacture of slot machines.
Partners Francisco Arias, senior associate Roberto Vidal and associate Cristina De Roux, participated in this transaction.
Morgan & Morgan acted as special Panamanian counsel to Alta Cordillera, S.A., in connection with a credit facility agreement granted by PDS Gaming-International, LLC, M&G Illiquid Credit Opportunities Fund Limited and M&G Illiquid Credit Opportunities Fund II Limited, as lenders, to Alta Cordillera and Codere Newco, S.A.U., as borrowers. PDS Gaming LLC acted as arranger, servicer and agent for the lenders and PDS Gaming-International, LLC acted as collateral agent.
The Tax Team of Morgan & Morgan invited a group of clients to a breakfast-discussion table where the last updates and news on tax issues were presented. In front of a full house, partner Enrique Jimenez, and lawyers Adolfo Campos, Amanda Barraza and Carlos Sinisterra (CPA) talked with clients about the changes and amendments that have been made to the laws and entities on this subject.
Thus, Morgan & Morgan reaffirms its commitment as a leading firm in tax and fiscal matters, always ahead in benefit of their clients.
About Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan advises companies and individuals in matters pertaining to the Panamanian taxation system, including special taxes regimes. The firm has an experienced team of attorneys with broad knowledge in tax law addressing all sorts of industries, such as, financial services, technology, shipping, energy, real estate, intellectual property, retail and wholesale business, who can readily identify obstacles and solutions but mostly the opportunities clients can expect to achieve upon making business in Panama.
Enrique Jimenez and Maria Eugenia Brenes recognized in The World´s Leading Trademark Professionals 2018
The World´s Trademark Review, which focuses exclusively on trademark lawyers and trademark law, has become the “definitive source of information” for those seeking first rate experience in the field. As in all its prior publications, this year the search was exhaustive to identify the outstanding firms and lawyers in this critical area. The factors influencing the classification are: years of experience, market presence, and level of day-to-day work, as well as feedback from colleagues and clients.
To see the complete ranking please click here.
About Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan has one of the most complete Intellectual Property Departments in Panama. The firm advises clients in the filing and registration of trademarks, service marks, slogans, trade names, inventions, utility models, industrial designs and plant varieties under Industrial Property Law, among others. Our attorneys are specialists in the drafting and reviewing of License and Franchise Agreements, assisting clients in all the regulatory proceedings for registering such license agreements and franchises of trademarks before the Industrial Property and IP Directorates.
Morgan & Morgan advised Hidrotenencias, S.A., with respect to the sale of its hydroelectric generation business to EnfraGen Spain, S.A.
Morgan & Morgan acted as Panamanian counsel to the shareholders of Hidrotenencias, S.A., a company that owns and operates three run-of-the-river hydropower plants located in the province of Chiriqui, in connection with the sale of their stake in the company to EnfranGen Spain, S.A.
This cross-border transaction, which involved attorneys from Panama and the United States of America, consisted in the sale of the 100% of the shares of Hidrotenencias, S.A., which in turns owns 100% of the shares of Las Perlas Sur, S.A., Las Perlas Norte, S.A. and Istmus Hydro Power Corp., corporations with hydroelectric generation concessions in the Republic of Panama.
Partner Francisco Arias G., senior associate Roberto Vidal and associate Cristina De Roux, participated in this transaction.