SANTIAGO – Congressional representatives (Diputados) in Chile are trying to pass legislation to reduce the average work week for Chilean workers from 45 to 40 hours per week. They have asked the president to ratify Convention 47 of the International Labour Organization. “More hours worked does not increase productivity”.
Camila Vallejo, a representative of the Chilean Communist Party and author of the bill, explains that “it is essential that Chile subscribe to improve the quality of life, the health of workers, for a sense, in addition to the protection of family, of community life that nowadays is not possible to guarantee with the exhausting days of work that our compatriots have,” as reported by El Siglo.
Other co-authors of the bill, like deputy Jorge Brito of Democratic Revolution Party, have been fighting for the rights and dignity of workers as well as trying to maintain the balance between work and family life. Brito has said, “we are sure that with more time for the family, for leisure, with more time outside of work, the happiness of people increases and that makes you perform better at work.”
Correlation between happiness and productivity
Vallejo also points out that more hours worked does not increase productivity. Rather, it decreases productivity because workers are more tired and worried about their families.
Research backs up the proposed bill. It shows there is good reason to keep workers happy: they are more productive. As reported in The Guardian, a team of economists led by Andrew Oswald, a professor of Economics at Warwick Business School in England, found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity”.