This Monday, April 6th, the new Labor Protection Act came into effect, after its publication in the Official Journal. The Government implemented this tool in order to protect workers whose labor sources have been impacted by the health crisis generated by the Coronavirus, COVID-19.
To explain the scope of the Labor Protection Law, the Undersecretary of Labor, Fernando Arab, led a new interactive webinar as part of the Activa Turismo cycle of online sessions, an initiative developed by the Undersecretary of Tourism and Sernatur that seeks to provide support to companies in the sector that have been negatively affected.
The Undersecretary of Labor discussed the importance that this law has for the tourism sector and said that “it seeks to give support to many employers, especially SMEs, which are having a very bad time these days (…) but also to give a relief to approximately four and a half million workers who have a significant degree of uncertainty about what will happen to their employment status”.
He also explained that this law “allows for the suspension of the work contracts of all the employees who are making contributions to their pensions with an unemployment insurance plan. The conditions for being able to access this insurance have been reduced and made more flexible”.
As a general rule, a worker, in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance, needed to have made twelve pension contributions in the case of employees with permanent contracts and six contributions for those with fixed-term contracts, or contracts for completed work. “We are going to restrict (this requirement) and lower it to only three continuous contributions and, therefore, many more workers will be able to access this benefit,” said Arab.
The Undersecretary further explained that “the benefit consists in that, firstly, workers will be able to collect their Severance Insurance during the period of the suspension and, secondly, the employers will not have to continue paying salaries and will only have to continue paying contributions during the period of the suspension, with the possibility of postponing the payment of pensions by twelve months”.
Regarding the workers who were dismissed since the State of Catastrophe was decreed, that is since last March 18, and have not yet signed a settlement, the authorities indicated that the law allows them “to reach an agreement with their employer -it has to be by mutual agreement- to make their dismissals void”. This is so that those who have lost their jobs can maintain their source of employment and recover it once we overcome the crisis.
The law also considers the possibility of reducing working hours by up to 50% by mutual agreement. In this case, said the Undersecretary, “the worker will receive remuneration for the hours worked in a day, that is 50%, but to prevent the drastic reduction of their remuneration, the Severance Insurance will supplement their remuneration by up to 25%, ie, workers can perform their duties half the time, but will receive 75% of their usual pay”.
On another point, the authority clarified that, in order to provide coverage to groups of workers who are not included in the law, such as honorary workers and those who do not make contributions with an Unemployment Insurance, “we are looking for formulas, which we will be presented in the next few days, that seek to cover this universe of workers”.
Before finishing, Undersecretary Arab agreed to participate again in Activa Turismo Online to answer questions and doubts that may arise. The date of his new participation will be communicated in due time. For now, and to know more details about the law, you can visit the page http://www.protecciondelempleo.cl/
Activa Turismo Online continues tomorrow, April 8 at noon, with the virtual participation of Natalia Bayona, expert in innovation, digital transformation and investments of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Bayona will discuss the initiatives that this international organization is working on to strengthen the sector through public-private partnerships.
To participate in tomorrow’s Activa Turismo Online and the following ones, you just have to enter the site www.sernatur.cl/activaturismo and register in advance.