Chile Employment Law: Advancing Family-Friendly Work Policies

Written by León Lanis V. , Paralegal

Earlier this year, a new law entered into force that made ground-breaking modifications to the Chilean Labour Code in order to enhance the protection of maternity, paternity and overall family’s well-being, all while establishing new rules for distance work in this regard. These are important changes to Chile’s employment law regulations.

Law 21.645 was approved in December of last year, but due to its transitory statutes, the law had a 30 day period to enter into force. This new law seeks to better conciliate work-life with family-life, by enhancing the protections of parents who take care of children and adolescents, specially those who need special caring due to disabilities. In this blog, we will highlight the three main changes to labour law brought by this law:


1. Preferential granting of holidays and the transitional modification of working hours

During school vacations (defined by the Ministry of Education), those workers which take care of children smaller than 14 years of age -as well as teenagers younger than 18 years which carry a disability or condition- will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Preference in the granting of holidays over other employees which do not carry such personal obligations;
  • A modification to the distribution of work -insofar as the nature of their work allows it- in order to conciliate such family related obligations with work-life. In order to achieve this, the employee must submit a work plan 30 days prior to the leave, to which the employer will have a 10 day period to make observations;
  • Such modifications must be made through an annex of the contract of employment in order to have effects.
2. Implementation of at-distance work models:

Employees who have the care of a child under 14 years of age or of a person with any disability with severe or moderate dependency can have the possibility of carrying their working hours through telework or by any distance work method (insofar as the nature of their work allows it), so long as such worker does not directly represent the employer (i.e: managers, assistant managers, etc).

In order to request such a change, the employee must submit to the employer a written request indicating his/her situation and the measure to be taken. The employer must respond to said request in a period not greater than 15 days. In case of acceptance, it must be made through a contract of employment annex.

3. Trade Unions and temporary reduction of work-time

Through a collective bargaining agreement, Trade Unions can agree to the reduction of the workload of any employee who takes care of a child under 14 years of age or takes care of a person with extreme dependency due to an illness or disability.

Last but not least, this law creates new principles for maternity/paternity protection enhancement that must be observed in the whole of labour regulation, which are: positive parenting, social co-responsibility and the protection of parenting. In practice, this seeks to promote work-life balance by taking action of informing and raising awareness of the importance of protecting parenthood and the overall balance of personal life and work-life, especially regarding parents and caretakers.


The recent amendments to the Chilean Labour Code, implemented through Law 21.645, mark a significant step forward in prioritising the well-being of families and enhancing protections for maternity, paternity, and caregiving responsibilities. These amendments introduce preferential holiday grants and flexible working arrangements to accommodate parental duties, particularly for those caring for children with disabilities. Furthermore, the introduction of at-distance work models and the provision for temporary reduction of work-time through collective bargaining agreements demonstrate a commitment to supporting work-life balance. Overall, these changes reflect a broader shift towards recognising the importance of family care responsibilities in the workplace, fostering positive parenting, social co-responsibility, and a more balanced integration of personal and professional life.

Harris Gomez Group METS Lawyers ® opened its doors in 1997 as an Australian legal and commercial firm. In 2001, we expanded our practice to the international market with the establishment of our office in Santiago, Chile. This international expansion meant that as an English speaking law firm we could provide an essential bridge for Australian companies with interests and activities in Latin America, and to provide legal advice in Chile, Peru and the rest of Latin America. In opening this office, HGG became the first Australian law firm with an office in Latin America.
As Legal and Commercial Advisors, we partner with innovative businesses in resources, technology and sustainability by providing strategy, legal and corporate services. Our goal is to see innovative businesses establish and thrive in Latin America and Australia. We are proud members of Austmine and the Australia Latin American Business Council.

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