On February 16, 2023, El Salvador’s National Council for Early Childhood, Childhood and Adolescence (CONAPINA – Consejo Nacional de la Primera Infancia, Niñez y Adolescencia) adopted Agreement No. 4 on Technical Norms for the installation and operation of early childhood care centers. Agreement No. 4 details the technical standards for the establishment, operation, and supervision of Early Childhood Care Centers (CAPI), including for those established by employers for the children of their workers.
Adoption of technical requirements for early childhood care centers comes after a six-year odyssey beginning with a 2017 Supreme Court decision.
Article 42(2) of the Constitution of El Salvador requires employers to establish and maintain childcare centers for the children of their workers. In November 2017, the Supreme Court of El Salvador issued a legal decision requiring the Legislative Assembly to adopt legislation implementing Article 42(2) of the Constitution. In June 2018, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador adopted legislation requiring employers to make childcare centers available to their workers. Legislative Decree No. 20 of 19 June 2018, the Law on Workplace Childcare Centers outlined employers’ obligations making childcare accessible to workers.
On May 23, 2018, the Salvadoran Coalition on Decent Work for Women (CEDM), Canada-based Maquila Solidarity Network, and the Americas Group co-sponsored a bi-national forum on childcare needs and solutions for maquila workers in El Salvador and Honduras. The forum brought together El Salvadoran and Honduran trade unions and NGOs, supplier factory representatives, employer groups and international brands to exchange views and consider options.
The law was to enter into force 24 months after it was adopted, on June 17, 2020. Implementation of the law was delayed at the request of the El Salvadoran Supreme Labor Council in 2020 and 2022. In May 2022, La Prensa Gráfica reported that the law was still in a state of limbo after multiple delays.