international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Chile: Further indications to the bill that reduces workday to 40 hours

Authors: Ricardo TisiBárbara Zlatar and Ignacia López

On August 23rd, indications were presented to the bill that seeks to reduce the maximum work hours from 45 to 40 a week (hereinafter, the “Bill”). This Bill has been in Congress since March 2017 and is a pivotal aspect of the government program of the President that came into office in March 2022.

The Bill provides that the work schedule reduction cannot lead to salary or benefits decreasing.  Also, it proposes a gradual application for such reduction within a 5 year-term. Specifically, within the 1st year the law comes into effect, the workweek must be reduced to 44 hours, 42 hours by the third year leading full reduction by year 5.

Some of the most recent indications to the Bill aims to give a more comprehensive modification to working hours and rest time.

Regarding reduction of working schedule, the indications consider a 27-hours a week schedule or less as part time work.  It also proposes that the exceptional authorized work schedules that may exceed 40 hours weekly, provided any compensatory rest should be provided, if needed. Also, some changes are proposed to specific work schedules applicable to specific jobs, such as drivers and assistants of collective transportation, house and agricultural employees, flight crew members, hotel or restaurant staff, among others.

One pivotal change proposed by the indications is related to employees excluded from the limitation of weekly hours. Under the proposal, the exclusion is applicable to employees working at home or in a place freely chosen by them. However, employees such as insurance agents and traveling salesmen or collectors performing their duties outside the employer’s premises are eliminated.

As for employees rendering services without immediate superior supervision (which are currently under the weekly exclusion), they can only be excepted for the workweek limitation provided is not possible to be under an attendance record.  This change is critical, since it drastically reduces the possibility to exclude certain employees of workweek limitation and, therefore, its flexibility will be seriously compromised.

Some other changes include (i) deferred entry and exit hours for working mothers and fathers, and people who have the personal care of children up to 12 years old; (ii) extraordinary working hours compensation by up to 5 half days-time off a year providing there is an agreement with the union; (iii) acknowledgment of electronic records to control attendance and working hours; among others.