The law will see private health and pharmacy workers entitled to 14 days of rest
This week, private health workers and pharmacy workers in Chile won a historic victory – the right to “restorative rest” in recognition of their tireless work throughout the pandemic. The law, backed by UNI Global Union affiliate FENASSAP, will give 14 days of rest for all private sector workers who worked during the pandemic and can be used over a period of three years.
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated working conditions for millions of care workers in Chile. In 2021, a law was approved granting public health sector workers the “right to rest” after the grueling experience of the pandemic.
However, this law excluded private sector workers who had worked in equally challenging circumstances.
Since then, FENASSAP has fought hard to ensure that their members in the private sector also received the right to rest, and after sustained pressure, their members will now receive the same entitlements.
This law will help to improve the mental health of thousands of workers who worked through a stressful, precarious and dangerous global pandemic.
Gloria Flores, president of FENASSAP said, “This law is crucial to repair the mental health strain on those who worked through an incredibly stressful and traumatic period during the pandemic. This is justice for the private sector workers who had been so unfairly excluded from the original bill.”
Mental health, understaffing and stress have been critical issues for care workers all over the world, and this law is proof that with strong unions, workers can get the rest, respect and dignity their labour deserves.
Critically, this law includes all workers who worked in clinics, pharmacies and other health establishments, from doctors, to nurses and admin staff, as well as cleaning and hygiene staff.
“This victory shows that union activism and solidarity can make the difference,” said Adrian Durtschi, Head of UNI’s Care sector. “We are proud to stand with our affiliates FENASSAP, who pushed in Congress – and on the streets with national mobilizations – to achieve this historic victory for care workers in Chile.”