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News > Chile

Chile: Government, Communists Dispute Labor Reforms

  • Chile: Government, Communists Dispute Labor Reforms
Published 27 September 2019

Piñera's administration and Chile's Communist Party both propose to change the labor law to improve productivity. Piñera wants 'flexible' hours for workers, Communists want fewer.

How many hours will Chileans work? That's the main question after the government and the Communist Party presented their respective projects on labor bills to improve productivity and the quality of life for workers.


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The proposal, pitched by the leftist legislators Karol Cariola and Camila Vallejo in the lower house, calls for the maximum hours worked per week to be reducing from 45 to 40. The last time the maximum was changed was in 2005, from 48 hours.

The bill, first presented a year ago and passed by the Working Committee within the house and now needs to go to the full assembly. 

Chile's Communist Party says that the latest change, now fourteen years ago, didn't harm the nation's development or economic growth. Furthermore, they highlighted that the current number of hours worked results in stress, tiredness and increasing absenteeism. 

The Piñera administration, on the other hand, presented another bill in May that is soon expected to be presented to the Senate. Piñera proposes to maintain the current 180 hours per month, and that reduced hours be negotiated by contract between employers and employees.

According to the #BarometrodelTrabajo of @FIEL_Chile and Mori, 66% of workers prefer days of 8 hours a day and not 4 days working more than 12 hours a day, as proposed by the government reform Does the Currency listen to the workers or the business?

Chileans are calling this a “flexibilization” tactic based on individual agreements between bosses and workers. The president prosed that labor hours’ average could be 44 per week by 2020, but it could gradually decrease to 41 hours by 2017.

The Chilean right-wing leader also wants to see a four-day minimum and six-day maximum work week. The workers that arrange an agreement with their employers, could fix their schedule in order to have three free days, and accumulate extra hours the rest of the days. ​​​​​​​​

According to Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics, reducing the workweek to 40 hours, like the Communist Party proposal, could increase Chile's GDP up to 2.1 percent. “It's an extra US$282 per Chilean,” say the experts. The more you earn, the more you consume.

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