Progress on the bill to reduce the workday to 40 hours per week

On Wednesday, January 25, the Senate Labor Committee unanimously approved the bill that reduces the working day to 40 hours per week. This, after having incorporated - by way of indications - a series of provisions that allow the implementation of flexibility mechanisms, and thus, unblock the processing of this regulation.

This is an important step forward in the legislative process, and the text must now be approved by the Senate Chamber. The main matters regulated by the approved bill are as follows:

- Reduction from 45 to 40 hours per week of the maximum working week.

- Workers and employers may agree that the 40-hour workday is in consideration of their average monthly hours worked, up to a maximum of 45 hours per week applicable for up to two consecutive weeks. There is also a daily limit of 10 hours per day. This implies that a maximum of two weeks of 45 hours and two weeks of 35 hours per month may be agreed upon. In the case of unionized workers, it will be possible to agree - between the union and the company - that the maximum may be up to 52 hours per week.

- Workers and employers will be able to establish four working days followed by three days off. This is a very relevant change with respect to the current legislation, which is limited to an ordinary 5×2 or 6×1 workday regime.

- Regarding Overtime, the possibility of compensating them for up to five days of annual holidays in addition to the legal ones is contemplated.

- The application of the second paragraph of article 22 (workers excluded from the weekly workday limit) is limited to managers and administrators, as well as to those who work without immediate superior supervision. In case of controversy regarding the applicability of this figure, a procedure is established in which the Labor Inspection will intervene. In the event that the services are rendered in the teleworking modality, this same criterion must be considered to determine whether or not the exclusion of the workday limit is applicable.

- Establishes, in the case of fathers, mothers and other persons who care for children under 12 years of age, the creation of time bands to anticipate or delay the beginning and end of the applicable working day.

- The granting of Exceptional Days shall be regulated by a Regulation to be prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

- The current special working day systems applicable to drivers and auxiliary personnel of interurban and rural public transportation, drivers of freight vehicles and railroad crews are adjusted.

On the other hand, regarding the implementation of this reform, the bill establishes its gradual entry into force within a period of five years, achieving the application of the 40-hour workday in 2028. The first reduction of the workday to 44 hours per week would be in March 2024, to be reduced to 42 in 2026.

This legal alert was prepared by the Bofill Mir Abogados labor team for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice.


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