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Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Chile

Standard working hours

Chilean labor law provides a framework for standard working hours, aiming to strike a balance between work and personal life for employees. Here are the key regulations as per the Chilean Labor Code:

  • The maximum legal limit for a standard workweek is 45 hours.
  • The standard workday cannot exceed 10 hours.

The 45-hour limit can be distributed across five or six consecutive days. The Labor Code also allows for exceptions through collective bargaining agreements that establish flexible working hour arrangements, as long as they comply with the 45-hour weekly limit.

It's important to note that a new law reducing the standard workweek from 45 hours to 40 hours was recently approved by Chilean Congress in April 2023. The official publication of this law is pending, but it's expected to come into effect gradually.


In Chile, overtime work is regulated by the Chilean Labor Code to ensure fair treatment and compensation for employees who work beyond standard hours.

Work is considered overtime when it exceeds 45 hours per week or 10 hours per day, as stated in Article 30 of the Chilean Labor Code.

It's important to note that employers cannot force employees to work overtime. The employee's consent is required for overtime work, as per Article 30 of the Labor Code.

When it comes to compensating for overtime work, employers have two options according to Article 31 of the Labor Code:

  1. Monetary Payment: Overtime work must be compensated at a premium rate of at least 50% above the regular hourly rate.
  2. Time Off in Lieu: Overtime can be compensated with paid time off at a rate of 1.5 times the hours worked during overtime. This time off must be granted within the following month.

Rest periods and breaks

Chilean labor law prioritizes worker well-being by mandating rest periods and breaks throughout the workday and workweek.

Chilean workers are entitled to a minimum daily rest break of at least 30 minutes. This break must be provided within the workday and cannot be compensated financially. However, the 30-minute break requirement may not apply to certain employees whose workday is less than four hours or involves discontinuous shifts.

In addition to daily breaks, all employees must receive at least one full day (24 hours) of rest per week. Sundays are typically designated as the weekly rest day, but exceptions exist. Employers can deviate from Sundays for the weekly rest day under specific circumstances. For instance, when having all staff take Sundays off would disrupt essential public services, or when necessary for the normal functioning of the business.

Alternative arrangements for the weekly rest day include granting the day off on another weekday, providing a rest period from Sunday noon to Monday noon, or implementing a rotating schedule for staff rest days.

Night shift and weekend regulations

Chilean labor law recognizes the unique requirements of night and weekend work. Here's an overview of the specific regulations for these situations, based on the Chilean Labor Code:

Night Shift Work

  • Definition: The Labor Code does not provide a legal definition of "night shift." However, Article 20 regulates work performed between 10 pm and 7 am, often referred to as "night work."

  • No Mandatory Premium Pay: The Labor Code does not require a specific premium pay rate for night work.

  • Collective Bargaining Considerations: Some collective bargaining agreements may stipulate night shift allowances or higher premiums for hours worked during the night.

  • Pregnant Workers: Night work is prohibited for pregnant employees throughout their pregnancy.

Weekend Work

  • Standard Weekly Rest: All employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 consecutive hours of rest per week, typically on Sundays.

  • Exceptions to Sunday Rest: Deviations from Sundays for the weekly rest day are permitted under specific circumstances with Ministry of Labor approval.

  • Weekend Overtime: Overtime work performed on weekends and public holidays is subject to the same compensation rates as regular overtime. However, collective bargaining agreements may negotiate higher premiums for weekend overtime.

Key Takeaways:

  • Night and weekend work may not have mandated premium pay beyond standard overtime rates, but collective bargaining agreements can address this.
  • Employers should clarify any night or weekend shift allowances or premiums within employment contracts or company policies.
  • Weekend rest periods are essential for worker well-being, and employers must adhere to regulations regarding exceptions to Sundays as the rest day.
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