Chile's Senate passed a bill cutting down the number of working hours from 45 to a maximum of 40 per week. If ratified by the Lower House, the new scheme will be applied gradually over a period of five years.
The bill submitted in 2017 by then Communist Deputies Karol Cariola and Camila Vallejo, was unanimously approved this week by the Senate. It now goes back to the Lower House to vote on the amendments introduced by the Senate, such as the one regarding a transition of one weekly hour every year until the target number is achieved.
The rationale behind the initiative argues that with these new changes, Chileans will have more time for rest, recreation, family and community life.
In no case may the change in the number of hours result in a pay reduction, the bill also establishes.
The initiative also provides for the possibility of four days working days a week, provided an agreement is reached between employer and employee. It also allows parents and caregivers of children under 12 years of age to adjust their arrival or departure times from work in order to take their children to school or to health check-ups. It also opens up the possibility of exchanging overtime for days off.
It's getting closer and closer for it to becoming a law! Today the 40 hours was unanimously approved in the Senate, a project that we presented in 2017 with Deputy Karol Cariola and that makes working hours and rest time more compatible, Vallejo, currently a presidential spokeswoman wrote on Twitter.
A previous law, from 2005, had already reduced Chile's working week from 48 to 45 hours.
If this second reduction is approved, Chile would join Ecuador as the only two Latin American countries to establish a 40-hour workweek by law. In Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay it is 48 hours. Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Venezuela have a working week of between 42 and 45 hours, according to updated data from the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Latin America is one of the regions of the world where most hours are worked per year and has one of the highest rates of labor informality, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).