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LATIN AMERICA | 11-04-2023 18:00

Chile's Congress approves drop in work week to 40 hours

Chilean Congress approves bill that will limit the working week to 40 hours, a measure that will be implemented gradually over the next five years.

Chile's Congress on Tuesday approved a reduction in the work week from 45 to 40 hours, paving the way for Chile – along with Ecuador – to have Latin America's shortest work week.

The bill's five-year phase-in means the work week would drop to 44 hours in a year and then to 42 hours in the third year.

"This is a project that will contribute enormously to our quality of life," said Labour Minister Jeannette Jara.

President Gabriel Boric is expected to sign the bill into law.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Latin America as a region has the world's longest official work hours.

The working week is 48 hours in Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Panama, and 44 hours in Brazil.

In France, the work week is 35 hours but its workers are amongst the most productive in the European Union and the OECD.

In the United Kingdom, the working week is generally 40 hours and limited to a maximum of 48 hours.

Chile's new law would prevent employers from reducing salaries because of the change, and also allow for workers to switch to a four-day work week.

However, the measure does not apply to the more than 27 percent of the workforce that is employed in the informal sector.



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