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Chile’s Congress Passes Bill to Cut Workweek to 40 Hours

Chile’s Congress on Tuesday approved a reduction in the workweek from 45 to 40 hours over five years.

The move paves the way for Chile to join Ecuador and Venezuela in having Latin America’s shortest workweek.

The bill, which had overwhelming support with 127 votes in favor and just 14 against, comes at a time when countries around the world like Britain and Spain are experimenting with further reducing weekly work hours .

“This is a project that will contribute enormously to our quality of life,” said Labor Minister Jeannette Jara.

Chile’s leftist President Gabriel Boric is expected to sign the bill into law.

Boric, who took office last year pledging an ambitious agenda of social and economic reforms, has suffered several setbacks, including voters rejecting a progressive new constitution and legislative defeat for a key tax bill.

But the workweek law constitutes a small victory for an administration that has been trying to shift the country away from its free-market constitution.

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

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

In France, meanwhile, the workweek is 35 hours — but workers in the country are amongst the most productive in the European Union and the OECD.

In the United Kingdom, as well as in Germany, the workweek is generally around 40 hours and is limited to a maximum of 48.

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 workweek.

However, the measure does not apply to the more than 27% of the workforce of the informal sector.

Source : DW