Chile – the government introduced a bill to bring flexibility to the working day

10, May

By Pía Toro President Sebastián Piñera introduced the second bill of the government’s Labour Reform, following the ...

By Pía Toro

President Sebastián Piñera introduced the second bill of the government’s Labour Reform, following the modernization of the National Service of Training and Employment (Sence).  This new bill addresses the adaptability initiative, also known as working day flexibility, as well as changes in the Act on disabled people’s labour inclusion.

The text, announced as “Bill of labour modernization for conciliation, labour, family and inclusion”, has proposals generated by the technical task force on Labour Modernization that the Ministry of Labour summoned on October 2018, and which generated a final report in December. Given this context, the initiative aims at adding into de Labour Code an alternative distribution of working hours, in a monthly schedule of 180 hours (45 hours per week), with individual arrangements.

The bill would state that, if the working day is arranged on a monthly basis, it cannot be over 12 hours. In addition, should the working day be over 10 hours, both parties must agree on an hour to rest, which shall be included in the working day. This sets a difference with the current regulation, which states a half an hour break that cannot be ascribable to the working day.

The alternative system would not affect the general regime of weekly break, and would be structured together with a 48 hours top overtime monthly bank, which shall be paid accordingly.

The bill also includes new arrangements to distribute ordinary working day that can only be agreed with trade unions: distribution of the ordinary working day based on a semester-long cap; and distribution of the ordinary working day based on an annual cap.

Even though the bill was written in January, different sources state that it was not presented before May 1st as the Central Union of Workers (CUT) is against this kind of regulations as it compromises the labour market, and the Workers Day could become a platform to throw down the initiative, prior its discussion.

Other bills

There are at least two remaining bills to be introduced as part of the Labour Reform. One of them is the modernization of the Labour Department (DT), a promise made by every government, but never actually fulfilled.

The other bill is linked to contracts and collective bargaining. This is the most complex bill for the current administration, as opposition congressmen have already refused to make changes in former president Michelle Bachelet’s Labour Reform. Consequently, it shall be introduced during the second semester of 2019.

Some of the changes been analysed are, for example allowing internal replacements during strikes, which is not possible under the current legislation, and strengthening the minimum services during strikes periods by using specialized and authorized tools provided by the DT.

Furthermore, negotiating groups would be reinstalled, as the Constitutional Court claimed that bargaining is a right for workers and not just for unions; there will also be changes in the strike process, going back to the previous legislation and enabling the ending of the strike when 50% plus one of workers leave it.

Other issues to be discussed are: extension of benefits, union privileges, resumption of tasks, effects of the lack of presentation of a collective bargaining project given a certain period of time, unions’ faculty to arrange better benefits, partial arbitration and adaptability pacts, among others.

Source: La Tercera