Social and Family Rights
The State shall protect families as a natural association in society, and as the fundamental space for the overall development of persons. Family relationships are based on equality of rights and duties, solidarity, common effort, mutual understanding and reciprocal respect among family members. The State guarantees protection to the mother, father or other person acting as head of a household.
Children and adolescents have the right to live, be raised and develop in the bosom of their original family. When this is impossible or contrary to their best interests, they shall have the right to a substitute family, in accordance with law. Adoption has effects similar to those of parenthood, and is established in all cases for the benefit of the adoptee, in accordance with law. International adoption shall be subordinated to domestic adoption. Right to found a family Article 76 Motherhood and fatherhood are fully protected, whatever the marital status of the mother or father. Couples have the right to decide freely and responsibly how many children they wish to conceive, and are entitled to access to the information and means necessary to guarantee the exercise of this right. The State guarantees overall assistance and protection for motherhood, in general, from the moment of conception, throughout pregnancy, delivery and the puerperal period, and guarantees full family planning services based on ethical and scientific values. The father and mother have the shared and inescapable obligation of raising, training, educating, maintaining and caring for their children, and the latter have the duty to provide care when the former are unable to do so by themselves. The necessary and proper measures to guarantee the enforceability of the obligation to provide alimony shall be established by law. Provision for matrimonial equality Regulation of marriage Article 77 Marriage, which is based on free consent and absolute equality of rights and obligations of the spouses, is protected. A stable de facto union between a man and a woman which meets the requirements established by law shall have the same effects as marriage. Rights of children International human rights treaties International law Article 78 Children and adolescents are full legal persons and shall be protected by specialized courts, organs and legislation, which shall respect, guarantee and develop the contents of this Constitution, the law, the Convention on Children’s Rights and any other international treaty that may have been executed and ratified by the Republic in this field. The State, families and society shall guarantee full protection as an absolute priority, taking into account their best interest in actions and decisions concerning them. The State shall promote their progressive incorporation into active citizenship, and shall create a national guidance system for the overall protection of children and adolescents. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 1999 (rev. 2009) Page 18constituteproject.org PDF generated: 27 Apr 2022, 10:50 Article 79 Young people have the right and duty to be active participants in the development process. The State, with the joint participation of families and society, shall create opportunities to stimulate their productive transition into adult life, including in particular training for and access to their first employment, in accordance with law. Human dignity State support for the elderly Article 80 The State shall guarantee senior citizens the full exercise of their rights and guarantees. The State, with the joint participation of families and society, is obligated to respect their human dignity, autonomy and to guarantee them full care and social security benefits to improve and guarantee their quality of life. Pension and retirement benefits granted through the social security system shall not be less than the urban minimum salary. Senior citizens shall be guaranteed to have the right to a proper work, if they indicate a desire to work and are capable to. Human dignity State support for the disabled Article 81 Any person with disability or special needs has the right to the full and autonomous exercise of his or her abilities and to its integration into the family and community. The State, with the joint participation of families and society, guarantees them respect for their human dignity, equality of opportunity and satisfactory working conditions, and shall promote their training, education and access to employment appropriate to their condition, in accordance with law. It is recognized that deaf persons have the right to express themselves and communicate through the Venezuelan sign language. Right to shelter Article 82 Every person has the right to adequate, safe and comfortable, hygienic housing, with appropriate essential basic services, including a habitat such as to humanize family, neighborhood and community relations. The progressive meeting of this requirement is the shared responsibility of citizens and the State in all areas. The State shall give priority to families, and shall guarantee them, especially those with meager resources, the possibility of access to social policies and credit for the construction, purchase or enlargement of dwellings. Right to health care Article 83 Health is a fundamental social right and the responsibility of the State, which shall guarantee it as part of the right to life. The State shall promote and develop policies oriented toward improving the quality of life, common welfare and access to services. All persons have the right to protection of health, as well as the duty to participate actively in the furtherance and protection of the same, and to comply with such health and hygiene measures as may be established by law, and in accordance with international conventions and treaties signed and ratified by the Republic. Right to health care Reference to fraternity/solidarity Article 84 In order to guarantee the right to health, the State creates, exercises guidance over and administers a national public health system that crosses sector boundaries, and is decentralized and participatory in nature, integrated with the social security system and governed by the principles of gratuity, universality, completeness, fairness, social integration and solidarity. The public health system gives priority to promoting health and preventing disease, guaranteeing prompt treatment and quality rehabilitation. Public health assets and services are the property of the State and shall not be privatized. The organized community has the right and duty to participate in the making of decisions concerning policy planning, implementation and control at public health institutions. Right to health care Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 1999 (rev. 2009) Page 19constituteproject.org PDF generated: 27 Apr 2022, 10:50 Article 85 Financing of the public health system is the responsibility of the State, which shall integrate the revenue resources, mandatory Social Security contributions and any other sources of financing provided for by law. The State guarantees a health budget such as to make possible the attainment of health policy objectives. In coordination with universities and research centers, a national professional and technical training policy and a national industry to produce health care supplies shall be promoted and developed. The State shall regulate both public and private health care institutions. State support for children State support for the disabled State support for the elderly State support for the unemployed Article 86 Duty to work Right to work Right to choose occupation Article 87 Right to safe work environment Every employer shall guarantee employees adequate safety, hygienic and environmental conditions on the job. The State shall adopt measures and create institutions such as to make it possible to control and promote these conditions. Equality regardless of gender Article 88 All persons are entitled to Social Security as a nonprofit public service to guarantee health and protection in contingencies of maternity, fatherhood, illness, invalidity, catastrophic illness, disability, special needs, occupational risks, loss of employment, unemployment, old age, widowhood, loss of parents, housing, burdens deriving from family life, and any other social welfare circumstances. The State has the obligation and responsibility of ensuring the efficacy of this right, creating a universal and complete Social Security system, with joint, unitary, efficient and participatory financing from direct and indirect contributions. The lack of ability to contribute shall not be ground for excluding persons from protection by the system. Social Security financial resources shall not be used for other purposes. The mandatory assessments paid by employees to cover medical and health care services and other Social Security benefits shall be administered only for social purposes, under the guidance of the State. Any net remaining balances of capital allocated to health, education and Social Security shall be accumulated for distribution and contribution to those services. The Social Security system shall be ruled by a special organic law. All persons have the right and duty to work. The State guarantees the adoption of the necessary measures so that every person shall be able to obtain productive work providing him or her with a dignified and decorous living and guarantee him or her the full exercise of this right. It is an objective of the State to promote employment. Measures tending to guarantee the exercise of the labor rights of self employed persons shall be adopted by law. Freedom to work shall be subject only to such restrictions as may be established by law. The State guarantees the equality and equitable treatment of men and women in the exercise of the right to work. The state recognizes work at home as an economic activity that creates added value and produces social welfare and wealth. Housewives are entitled to Social Security in accordance with law. Article 89 Work is a social fact and shall enjoy the protection of the State. The law shall make the necessary provisions for improving the material, moral and intellectual conditions of workers. In order to fulfill this duty of the State, the following principles are established:
- No law shall establish provisions that affect the intactness and progressive nature of labor rights and benefits. In labor relations, reality shall prevail over forms or appearances.
- Labor rights are unrenounceable; any action, agreement or convention involving a waiver of or encroachment upon these rights is null and void. Concessions and settlements are possible only at the end of the employment relationship, in accordance with the requirements established by law. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 1999 (rev. 2009) Page 20constituteproject.org PDF generated: 27 Apr 2022, 10:50
- When there are doubts concerning application or conflicts among several rules, or in the interpretation of a particular rule, that most favorable to the worker shall be applied. The rule applied must be applied in its entirety.
- Any measure or act on the part of an employer in violation of this Constitution is null and void, and of no effect.
- All types of discrimination because of political reasons, age, race, creed, sex or any other characteristic is prohibited. Limits on employment of children Right to rest and leisure
- Work by adolescents at tasks that may affect their overall development is prohibited. The State shall protect them against any economic and social exploitation. Article 90 Working hours shall not exceed eight hours per day or 44 hours per week. Where permitted by law, night work shall not exceed seven hours per day or 35 hours per week. No employer shall have the right to require employees to work overtime. An effort shall be made to reduce working hours progressively in the interest of society and in such sphere as may be determined, and appropriate provisions shall be adopted to make better use of free time for the benefit of the physical, spiritual and cultural development of workers. Workers are entitled to weekly time off and paid vacations on the same terms as for days actually worked. Right to reasonable standard of living Right to just remuneration Article 91 Every worker has the right to a salary sufficient to enable him or her to live with dignity and cover basic material, social and intellectual needs for himself or herself and his or her family. The payment of equal salary for equal work is guaranteed, and the share of the profits of a business enterprise to which workers are entitled shall be determined. Salary is not subject to garnishment, and shall be paid periodically and promptly in legal tender, with the exception of the food allowance, in accordance with law. The State guarantees workers in both the public and the private sector a vital minimum salary which shall be adjusted each year, taking as one of the references the cost of a basic market basket. The form and procedure to be followed, shall be established by law. Article 92 All workers have the right to benefits to compensate them for length of service and protect them in the event of dismissal. Salary and benefits are labor obligations due and payable immediately upon accrual. Any delay in payment of the same shall bear interest, which constitutes a debt certain and shall enjoy the same privileges and guarantees as the principal debt. Article 93 Stable employment shall be guaranteed by law, with provisions as appropriate to restrict any form of unjustified dismissal. Dismissals contrary to this Constitution are null and void.
The liability of the natural or juridical person for whose benefit services are provided through an intermediary or contractor shall be determined by law, without prejudice to the job and severance liability of the latter. The State shall establish, through the competent organ, the liability to which employers in general are subject in the event of simulation or fraud for the purpose of distorting, disregarding or impeding the application of labor legislation.
Workers, without distinction of any kind and without need for authorization in advance, have the right freely to establish such union organizations as they may deem appropriate for the optimum protection of their rights and interests, as well as the right to join or not to join the same, in accordance with law. These organizations are not subject to administrative dissolution, suspension or intervention. Workers are protected against any act of discrimination or interference contrary to the exercise of this right.
The promoters and the members of the board of directors of the union enjoy immunity from dismissal from their employment for the period and on the terms required to enable them to carry out their functions. For purposes of the exercise of union democracy, the bylaws and regulations of union organizations, shall provide for the replacement of boards of directors and representatives by universal, direct and secret suffrage. Any union leaders and representatives who abuse the benefits deriving from union freedom for their personal gain or benefit shall be punished in accordance with law. Boards of directors members of union organizations shall be required to file a sworn statement of assets.
All employees in both public and the private sector have the right to voluntary collective bargaining and to enter into collective bargaining agreements, subject only to such restrictions as may be established by law. The State guarantees this process, and shall establish appropriate provisions to encourage collective relations and the resolution of labor conflicts. Collective bargaining agreements cover all workers who are active as of the time they are signed, and those hired thereafter.
Article 97 All workers in the public and private sector have the right to strike, subject to such conditions as may be established by law.