The government in Chile is looking to assist temporary staff who are operating in the agricultural sector as a way of making it possible for them to work more flexibly and account for the uncertain nature of working in this industry.
There can be times, the government said, when torrential rainfall stops workers from operating on certain days, and at the moment this means that they can suffer drops in what they are earning because of entire days lost.
However, the new regulations will mean that it will be the case that workers' income will be protected by ensuring that they can work with their employers to develop new understandings regarding overtime payment when trying to catch up.
A key issue appears to be that there are extra rates afforded to staff who work on Sundays to catch up, and it will be worked on a site-by-site basis to allow for certain regions where conditions can be worse than others, as opposed to having hard and fast rules imposed by central government.
The agricultural minister Luis Mayo said that the new regulations will be pushed through sooner rather than later, as he promised to deliver them "with some urgency".
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Statute has been in the works since first being floated in congress in 2011, and National Union Federation of Fruit Growers (Fedefruta) said that it could only be seen as a positive for the industry.
"Your initiative will improve the employment relationship, which in the case of workers, will be an opportunity to improve their incomes, and on the business side, improve their productivity," said Fedefruta's vice president Juan Carolus Brown.
He added that it was already the case that both workers and employers were in agreement that this was the best way for the agricultural sector in Chile to move forward and to protect the best interests of everyone, both companies and those who they employ.
Posted by Fiona Summers