Chile enacts law to regulate remote working amid pandemic
SANTIAGO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Chile's President Sebastian Pinera on Tuesday enacted a law that regulates remote working as millions are told to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This project aims to provide Chilean workers with more opportunities and more freedom, and it is going to be very useful for everyone, but especially for women, young people and the elderly," Pinera said via a videoconference call.
As pregnant women and the elderly are considered two of the more vulnerable segments of society for the novel coronavirus, Chile's public sector and many private companies have encouraged them to work from home if possible.
"Today, many people work this way and now they will be protected," Pinera added.
The law essentially formalizes remote work by making it obligatory for a company to sign a contract with anyone working for it from home. It also allows the two sides to decide how much of the work week will be carried out at home.
Pinera touted the law as an innovative development in Latin America, saying it follows European standards in acknowledging "the worker's right to disconnect, respecting his break time, requested leave and vacations."
Labor Minister Maria Jose Zaldivar said the law also calls on employers to respect previously agreed salaries, in cases of office workers switching to remote work, and to supply the needed equipment.
Chile had 922 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths, the Ministry of Health of Chile announced Tuesday.