Holidays are something you’re going to need to give a little bit of attention to while setting up your Latin American team. There are a lot of holidays in Latin America. They, of course, vary from country to country and they are attended at various levels by different staff. So, first of all, you’re going to need to verify what holidays your staff intend to celebrate.
Make sure to check the holiday schedule beforehand
It’s not enough to assume that they will inform you of a holiday, unfortunately. I know this can be frustrating or seem unreasonable. However, you have to realize that for them a lot of these holidays that they take off are so engrained- they’re as engrained as the Fourth of July or Labor Day are here in the US- and it simply doesn’t occur to folks, especially when this is their first nearshore or out of their country job, that they need to inform their employer that the most significant holiday in the country is a day that they will be taking off. And so, it’s important to make sure there’s a program in place to verify what holidays your staff is planning on taking off in advance.
At Preferati we verify those holidays and check in with your staff and yourself to make sure it’s all cleared up. But if you’re working directly with Latin American developers I highly recommend that you proactively check what holidays they’re taking off.
A different holiday schedule can be an advantage
Now, having different holidays can actually be an advantage. It allows you to have coverage during Thanksgiving or other days. The Fourth of July, for instance. Your nearshore staff can keep working, can keep making progress towards deadlines or provide support during those days. Of course, holidays are great days to put big projects live and so if your nearshore staff are running those projects, that’s excellent. They can be managing the downtime and the go-live over, say, Thanksgiving or Labor Day, while you and your team are offline.
Holidays definitely vary from country to country. Some countries have over 20 holidays a year. I believe Colombia has close to 24 holidays a year and they all fall on Mondays.
When working with your nearshore staff you do not have to offer every single holiday that they have in their home country off. Naturally, with a salaried employee, 20+ holidays, plus sick time and other PTO is exorbitant and that can all be negotiated. It’s just important to talk about it before you’ve signed your final contract with your nearshore developer.