By Marcela Salazar and Arturo Albornoz Firm: Munita & Olavarria

A new law has established new rules for student employees in Chile, including the introduction of an alternative part-time working schedule.

On 26 July 2019, Law No. 21,165 was published, incorporating benefits such as an alternative part-time working schedule for student employees and unpaid leave into the Labour Code. The Law will be effective from 1 September 2019.

The main aspects of the Law are set out below.

Student employees

The Law defines the term ‘student employees’ as employees between 18 and 24 years old inclusive, who are studying on a regular basis or are in the process of obtaining a professional or technical degree, in an institution recognised by the Chilean state.

Evidence of student status must be provided by the employee within 15 days and every six months, by submitting a certificate granted by the educational institution. The employer must be informed of any change in his or her status immediately. The employer must attach this certificate to the employment contract.

The employer must also keep a special registration record of all student employees in the organisation.

Alternative part-time working schedule

The student employee and the employer may agree a part-time working schedule which is continuous. In addition, the parties can agree on a daily interruption of the working schedule, which cannot affect the student employee’s lunch time. This daily interruption must fit with the student employee’s current academic schedule.

There must be a minimum of twelve hours of rest between the end of the workday and beginning of next workday. The above adding the periods worked, in ordinary and extraordinary workday, plus the interruption indicated in the previous point. Regular working hours must not exceed ten hours per day for any reason.

Unpaid Leave

The student employee will be entitled to unpaid leave for examinations. The employee must inform his or her employer in writing, seven calendar days before he or she wishes to use his or her leave to sit examinations.

Academic Holidays

During academic vacations, the parties may choose any of the following options:

  • continue with the term-time employment arrangements;
  • suspend the employment contract; or
  • agree an ordinary working schedule (with the student working as a regular employee).

Health contributions

In his or her capacity as an employee, the student hired may elect to either join the health insurance programme or keep his or her status as a legal dependent.

Work accidents

For the purposes of the Law, a work accident is the one that occurs in the workplace or commuting to and from work and the educational institution.

If during the previous calendar year, the organisation has registered serious or fatal work accidents for which it has been convicted as a result of fault or negligence, it will not be permissible to agree an alternative part-time working schedule for students.