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Chilean Labour Reform Overview

Author:Mr Harris Gomez
Profession:Harris Gomez Group

On August 19th, Chilean Congress approved, with 22 votes in favour and 14 opposing, a Labour Reform that will modify significantly the current provisions addressing unions and collective bargaining proceedings. A deadline was set to provide comments and amendments by September 7th.

Below we have addressed the more significant changes that come with the reform and what are their true implications from a legal perspective

Expanding coverage of collective bargaining proceedings.

This particular change is directed in order to incorporate workers - that were previously forbidden to negotiate collectively - in collective bargaining proceedings. Now workers under apprenticeship contracts, workers hired temporarily to execute specific works as well as those who do not have express powers of representation and do not perform administration tasks will be able to negotiate collectively and become union members.

Currently in Chile, it is possible to hire an employee in order for him/her to be exempt from complying with a specific work shift (requirements are set forth in article 305 of the Chilean Labour Code). The advantages of hiring under this format are that the worker was not entitled to payment for overtime and that the worker can't take part in collective bargaining proceedings. With the employment reform, employees who do not have to comply with specific work shifts will now be able to become union members and take part in collective negotiation proceedings. However, employees that are granted representation powers, can act on behalf of the company and/or have management responsibilities won't be entitled to participate.

Unions will have the legal entitlement of the right to collective bargaining.

Unions will be the main actor entitled to exercise collective bargaining rights excluding other minor negotiating groups within the company. They will also be able to take part in regulated and non-regulated negotiations.

If there is no union within the company, workers may unite in order take part in a semi-regulated collective bargaining. It is important to point out that in this type of collective bargaining, workers will not be entitled to legal rights of organized labour, such as protection of union officials from dismissal or transfer on account of union activities.

Freedom to become and quit being union members.

Workers will be able to quit and become union members at their sole discretion. However, there are a few points to bear in mind...

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