By Cristián  Olavarría Firm: Munita & Olavarria

A new law in Chile clarifies the employment status of call centre workers and sets out their rights relating to pay, working hours and breaks.

The Chilean Labour Inspectorate has issued guidance on the new ‘Teleoperators Law’ (No. 21.142, the ‘Law’), which entered into force on 1 September 2019.

The objective of the Law is to regulate the activity of call centres, given their methods of working, their expansion in recent years and the specific employment problems they present.

The guidance refers to the most relevant aspects of the Labour Code and makes the following points.

1. Call centre workers’ contracts are employment contracts and should therefore have all the characteristics and fulfill all the requirements of an individual employment contract. The objective is to bring certainty to the employment relationship between call centre workers and their employers.

2. Employment contracts of this nature entered into force before the Law must comply with its provisions.

3. One of the main objectives of the Law is to protect pay for call centre workers. It establishes that there should be no uncertainty regarding workers’ activity and the remuneration that it generates and individual, objective and verifiable parameters should be established to determine these.

4. In addition, each operation (call) and the pay it generates must be detailed in pay slips provided to the workers

5. With respect to working hours, the general rules of the Labour Code apply. However, a special rule is established for companies that maintain an exempt working schedule system of Sunday and holidays rest in accordance with article 38 of the Labour Code. These companies are now required to set workers’ shifts one week in advance.

6. Call centre workers have the right to a ten-second interruption between calls, as well as a 30-minute daily rest within the workday, without prejudice to their right to a minimum half-hour lunchbreak.

7. A call centre worker’s log-in details for connecting and making calls will be secret and personal to the worker, with the aim of preventing the employer from limiting the number of sales that the worker can make.