Latin America leans towards shorter working hours

Latin America leans towards shorter working hours

With the reduction of one hour per week in the working day, Colombia joins the countries that have opted for a model in which employees work fewer hours, for the same salary. A measure that is similar to those adopted by other countries in the region.

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This is a trend that has gained ground in several Latin American and European countries, which seeks to give workers more time to dedicate themselves to their personal affairs, with the premise of working fewer hours, but being more productive.

In the Colombian case, a law approved since 2021 establishes that the reduction will be gradual: it begins to be applied this weekend, when going from 48 hours a week to 47, and it will continue down until it reaches to 42 in 2026.

This measure does not imply a decrease in wages and also entails improvements for workers, who will receive higher remuneration for overtime and Sunday hours.

Other countries that cut the working day

Chili he had already taken a step forward in reducing working hours several months ago and marked a path in that direction by reducing his statutory working hours per week from 45 to a maximum of 40.

In Brazil a working model of four days a week instead of five, while in Mexico the possibility of shortening the working day is being explored 48 to 40 hours per week.

Uruguay It has put this same discussion on the table with an initiative raised by the workers’ unions and that the Government has received with reservations, but with a willingness to open the discussion on the cost-benefit.

In this regard, the minister of Labor and Social Security of UruguayPablo Mieres, assured: “The path we have to move forward implies precisely the possibility of reflecting on an exchange strategy between improving productivity and reducing working hours.”

However, the official clarified that the Government is not going to promote a law that promotes the reduction of working hours in a general way. Instead, he was in favor of the adjustments being sectorized and resulting from agreements between employers and workers.

“The problem is if we quickly fall for the idea that this can be generalized. Because this is not always the case and the risk is precisely that companies that incorporate a reduction in working hours, without improving their productivity, may have drops in the profitability of their production,” explained Mieres.

Meanwhile, in European countries like United Kingdom, since February of this year, some companies decided to extend the experiment of a four-day work week. In Spain, the Government launched a pilot project to reduce the working week by at least half a day, without affecting wages. Meanwhile in Germanythe automotive industry implemented a schedule reduced to 35 hours per week.

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Written by Editor TLN

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