Published 24/03/2023 17:53 | Edited 03/24/2023 18:06
Chile is about to pass one of the most advanced labor reforms in Latin America. The proposal supported by the Gabriel Boric government – which provides for the reduction of working hours from 45 to 40 hours a week, without wage losses – was unanimously approved in the Senate on Tuesday (21). Now, the project will be debated and voted on in the Chamber of Deputies.
The decrease in the workload will be gradual. From the current 45 hours a week, the workday will increase to 44 hours in 2024, to 42 hours in 2026 and to 40 hours in 2028. According to the Minister of Labor, Jeannette Jara, the 40 hours should work as a reference for negotiating the workday. The worker, in agreement with the employer, may work 35 hours in one week and 45 hours in the following week, reaching an average of 40 hours after two weeks.
One of the advances of the measure is precisely to give more flexibility to working hours and allow the distribution of working hours, based on pre-established criteria. If the law is sanctioned, workers will be able to accumulate up to three days off per week, provided they have an equivalent workload accumulated over different weeks.
“Workers will be able to take advantage of this reduction in working hours through this mechanism”, said the minister to TVN, “Instead of reducing a number of daily hours, what it does is that they work four days, in a regime of, for example, ten hours a day – and take three days off.”
The project was presented to the Chilean parliament in 2019 by two young female deputies from the Communist Party of Chile, Camila Vallejo and Karol Cariola. With Boric’s victory in the 2021 presidential elections, Camila was appointed Minister of the General Secretariat of Government and spokesperson for the Republic of Chile. If the proposal is approved in the Chamber – which is expected – Boric intends to enact the new law on May 1st, Labor Day.