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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Chile


In Chile, the labor law provides specific grounds under which an employer can lawfully terminate an employee's contract. These grounds are defined in the Chilean Labour Code and include business needs of the employer, misconduct of the worker, expiration of a fixed-term contract, completion of work or services, force majeure, mutual agreement, and resignation by the employee.

Notice Requirements

When terminating an employee's contract, an employer is generally required to provide a written notice period in advance. A standard 30-day notice period is mandated by law for most termination scenarios. However, in cases of serious misconduct by the employee, the employer may be justified in dismissing the worker without notice. If an employer wishes to waive the notice period, they must pay the employee compensation equivalent to one month's salary.

Severance Pay

Chile's labor laws ensure severance entitlements for employees dismissed due to specific grounds. If an employee is dismissed due to business needs or involuntary termination, they receive one month's salary for each year of service, with a cap of 11 months of salary as the maximum severance due. For other grounds, severance may or may not be payable, depending on the specific reason for dismissal.

Important Considerations

Some collective bargaining agreements may provide for enhanced termination benefits or additional grounds for dismissal. Additionally, certain worker categories, like pregnant women and union representatives, enjoy extra safeguards against dismissal.


Chilean law strictly prohibits discrimination on a wide range of grounds, as outlined in its Constitution and Labour Code. These protected characteristics include race or ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, political ideology or opinion, religion or beliefs, union membership or participation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, affiliation, personal appearance, and illness or disability.

Protected Characteristics

Race or Ethnicity

Discrimination based on a person's race, skin color, or national origin is strictly outlawed.


An individual cannot be discriminated against because of where they were born or their citizenship.

Socioeconomic Status

It's illegal to treat a person differently on the basis of their social class or income level.


Discrimination due to someone's preferred language is prohibited.

Political Ideology or Opinion

Employers and others must not discriminate based on political beliefs.

Religion or Beliefs

Discrimination based on a person's religious or spiritual beliefs is forbidden.

Union Membership or Participation

Workers have the right to join unions without fear of discrimination.

Sexual Orientation

The law protects against discrimination due to an individual's sexual orientation.

Gender Identity

Discrimination based on how a person identifies their gender is unlawful.

Marital Status

Whether an individual is married, single, divorced, etc., cannot be the basis for discrimination.


Discrimination due to a person's age is prohibited.


Employers and others cannot discriminate because of an individual's affiliations or associations.

Personal Appearance

How someone looks cannot be cause for discrimination.

Illness or Disability

Physical or mental disability cannot justify discriminatory treatment.

Redress Mechanisms

If a person experiences discrimination, Chile has several legal options for redress. These include labor courts, where employment-related discrimination complaints are primarily handled. An employee can file a case alleging discrimination and seek appropriate remedies. Victims can also lodge a complaint with the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), an independent body that investigates allegations of discrimination and helps victims access legal redress mechanisms. In some cases, a discrimination victim can file a civil suit for damages.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Chile have a clear duty to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace. This includes creating a non-discriminatory workplace, developing and enforcing clear anti-discrimination policies, providing regular training to employees and managers on discrimination laws and company policies, establishing robust internal channels for employees to report discrimination concerns, investigating any discrimination complaint fairly and thoroughly, and taking corrective action when discrimination is found.

Working conditions

Chilean labor laws establish clear standards for working conditions, ensuring the well-being and productivity of employees.

Work Hours

The standard workweek in Chile is capped at 45 hours, distributed across no less than five and no more than six days. This means an average workday should not exceed nine hours. The maximum daily working hours, including overtime, are set at 10 hours. Employers and employees can negotiate flexible work arrangements, such as compressed workweeks or part-time schedules, as long as they comply with the legal maximums.

Rest Periods

Chilean law mandates a minimum one-hour lunch break during the workday, which doesn't count towards working hours. Workers are entitled to at least one uninterrupted 24-hour rest period per week, usually on Sundays. Exceptions exist for specific industries, where workers may accumulate rest days over a two-week period.

Ergonomic Requirements

Chilean legislation doesn't have a single, comprehensive regulation on ergonomics in the workplace. However, the Ministry of Labor enforces general workplace safety and health standards through various legal instruments. These include Decree 43/1986, which establishes minimum health and safety requirements for workplaces, including provisions on lighting, ventilation, noise levels, and hazardous materials, and Decree 594/1999, which focuses on preventing occupational risks associated with repetitive tasks, which can have ergonomic implications. Employers have a general duty to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. This includes considering ergonomic factors such as proper workstation set-up, equipment design, and training on posture and safe lifting techniques to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Health and safety

Chile has a comprehensive health and safety framework that protects the well-being of workers. This framework includes employer obligations, employee rights, and enforcement bodies that ensure adherence to regulations.

Employer Obligations

Under Chilean law, employers are required to prioritize the safety and health of their workers. This obligation is primarily outlined in Article 184 of the Labour Code, which mandates employers to take all necessary measures for:

  • Effective protection of life and health: This involves identifying potential risks, implementing preventive measures, and providing proper training to employees.
  • Maintaining adequate health and safety conditions: Employers are required to ensure a clean, hygienic, and hazard-free work environment.
  • Equipping workplaces for safety: This includes providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring its proper use.

Additional regulations are outlined in Decree 109, which defines procedures for classifying and evaluating work-related accidents and illnesses, and Decree 594, which provides guidelines concerning basic sanitary and environmental conditions in workplaces. These decrees, along with Law No. 16744 on work accidents and occupational diseases, form a comprehensive legal framework for workplace safety in Chile.

Employee Rights

Employees in Chile have extensive rights regarding workplace safety and health. These rights are protected by the Labour Code and specific regulations:

  • Right to a safe and healthy workplace: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Information on workplace hazards: Employers are required to provide employees with comprehensive information on potential hazards associated with their tasks and the corresponding preventive measures.
  • Participation in safety initiatives: Employees have the right to participate in the development and implementation of occupational health and safety programs.

For workplaces with more than 25 employees, the law requires the establishment of a joint occupational health and safety committee composed of worker and employer representatives. This committee promotes communication and collaboration on safety matters within the organization.

Enforcement Agencies

The Chilean government enforces workplace safety regulations through dedicated agencies:

  • Directorate of Labour (Dirección del Trabajo): This agency conducts inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and enforces penalties for violations.
  • Superintendency of Social Security (Superintendencia de Seguridad Social): This agency oversees the national social security system, which includes mandatory insurance for occupational accidents and illnesses.
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