Applications law: Chile approves legislation that regulates work on apps

Chile approved a regulation on work on digital platforms that includes app workers in Social Security — find out what has changed here.

New application law for delivery people and app drivers had broad consensus and will come into force in September 2022

In March 2022, the Chilean government approved a new law which amends the country's labor legislation to regulate work in digital platforms —or companies that distribute services to professionals using systems and technologies that run on applications, as defined in the text. The new rules come into effect in September 2022.

The new law allows Chilean drivers and delivery people to offer their services to platforms in two ways: as dependent workers (subject to labor rules that already exist in the country) or independent workers (a modality that did not yet have work standards).

“As we are facing a new way of working, it is important that the solution is also innovative. This is the biggest challenge of public policies on the subject”, pointed out Felipe Simonsohn, director of government affairs at Didi Cone Sul in his presentation at the seminar “Digital Platforms: The Future of Social Protection in Digital Work”, carried out by Amobitec (Brazilian Mobility and Technology Association) in partnership with the School of Public Policy and Government of Fundação Getúlio Vargas (EPPG-FGV).

“This law recognizes the specifications of autonomous work on platforms and innovates by formalizing this activity and its income, which in turn allows workers to have access to the financial system, a service provision contract with transparency of terms and conditions and access to all the benefits of social Security”, he added.

He explained that the law came as a response to the demands that began to emerge in Chilean society due to the growth of digital platform activities, which happened organically, without specific legislation. 

In this context, Congress received two bills to regulate work on digital platforms. “The first wanted to establish that all employees should be hired, but it did not have political support because it tried to apply the general hiring standard to workers who do not work in a traditional job”, he explains. 

The second application law project, which served as the basis for the text that was approved, allowed the choice between the relationship of dependence (similar to the rules established by the CLT in Brazil) and autonomy, recognizing a non-traditional type of work.

“Chilean law, therefore, has a hybrid format that allows workers to be hired as Brazilian CLT workers or as self-employed workers. In all cases, they have access to social security”, reinforced Felipe.

An agreement between many hands

Felipe cites the example of the approval of a hybrid model that allows two types of contracting to highlight that the solutions proposed by Chilean law were created through a broad dialogue. Discussions took place in multi-party task forces and working tables with the participation of companies, drivers and delivery associations and experts such as labor lawyers and economists. 

“This is a public policy that listened to all actors. Therefore, the project was approved almost unanimously: only one senator did not vote”, says Felipe. “Throughout the entire process, there was a active listening to associations of drivers and delivery people, who said that the majority preferred to maintain their independence and work for more than one app.”

One study carried out in the country by the ILO (International Labor Organization) in 2021 shows that 83% of Chilean drivers and delivery people agreed with the definition that they are self-employed workers — which does not imply a renunciation of demands for protections and benefits.

“It is undeniable that working on digital platforms generates income opportunities. And schedule flexibility is already a reality in the market. Chilean law shows that it is possible to maintain the independence desired by workers and at the same time offer social security. Regulation must come from a transversal political agreement”, concludes the expert.

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