Economic Crimes Law: 3 key changes in the labor area

Sep 26, 2023

The new Economic Crimes Law brings with it important changes in many areas for companies, including labor. Jorge Arredondo gives us three outstanding changes in this area.

The new Economic Crimes Law implies important changes in the Chilean criminal system. In labor matters, companies may be held criminally liable for crimes that are directly related to social security issues, remuneration issues and the protection of the life and health of workers in the labor context.

In the first place, a penalty is incorporated for the employer who, without the employee’s consent, fails to withhold or pay the social security contributions of an employee or declares to pay him/her a taxable or gross income lower than the real one, thus reducing the amount of the contributions.

The second key change concerns the remuneration of workers. The law introduces a new crime relating to the payment of disproportionate remunerations and lower than the minimum monthly income, seriously abusing the situation of need, inexperience or inability to discernment of the worker. For example, if a company hires foreign workers who do not speak Spanish and pays them a salary lower than the legal minimum, disproportionately to the salary paid to Chilean workers performing the same activity, it would be committing an economic crime.

Finally, economic crimes associated with the labor sphere include those committed through recklessness or culpable negligence that affect the life and health of the workers who provide services in the company’s production process.

In this regard, the activity of the risk prevention areas becomes especially relevant for companies, particularly in the case of organizations that carry out activities such as the use of heavy machinery, construction, mining operations, activities involving the use of hazardous chemicals or other activities that may pose a risk to the integrity of workers.

The incorporation of these offenses will have a significant impact on companies, since they will be more exposed in their capacity as “employer” and will have to pay special attention to preventive controls, for example, of accidents at work. It is evident that the risk prevention area will be essential to carry out this task, which must be accompanied by a strong training program for the company’s workers.

In view of these changes, it is of the utmost importance to carry out a survey of the activities of the company and its industry, in order to identify the existing controls and implement those that may be missing and necessary.

Source: Forbes, September 15, 2023.

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