The Chilean Senate approved on Tuesday the bill that reduces the weekly working day, from 45 to 40 hours, an initiative that will leave Chile together with Ecuador as the only two countries in the region to have this work extension.
The bill entered Congress in 2017, and was approved in the Upper House by 45 votes in favor, none against, and no abstentions.
For it to become law All that remains is the ratification of the initiative in the Chamber of Deputies, which must approve the modifications incorporated in the Senate.
The government is confident that the initiative can become law before next May 1, international commemoration of Labor Day.
The initiative was presented to Congress by Communist Party deputies, including Camila Vallejo, current government spokesperson.
The bill, which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in its first process, did not initially contemplate gradual implementation, but after passing through the Senate it was established that this change will be made within a period of five years.
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In this way, in the period of one year the weekly working day will be 44 hours, it will decrease to 42 in the third year of application of the law and to 40 hours after five years.
The normative establishes that the new extension of the working day may not mean a reduction in the remuneration of employees and the government justifies it so that workers have more time to carry out activities other than work.
In January 2005, Chile applied a first reduction in its weekly working hours, from 48 to 45 hours.
If this second reduction is approved, Chile will join Ecuador as the only two countries in Latin America to establish by law the 40-hour week. In Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay it is 48 hours.
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Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela have a working day of between 42 and 45 hours per week, according to updated data from the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Latin America is one of the regions in the world where more hours are worked per year and has one of the highest labor informality rates, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).