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12/02  '97  11:41   FAX


Convention No. 29: Forced Labour. 1930

Direct request 1989

Chile (ratification: 1933)
    1.    In earlier comments, the Committee has referred to the conditions laid down by Legislative Decree No. 150 of 17 August 1981, for entitlement to unemployment benefit (sections 43, 44(d), 46, 62 and 63, (e)).

    Under the said Legislative Decree, the right to this benefit of workers who have lost their employment for reasons beyond their own control is made conditional both on the payment of contributions for 52 weeks or 12 months during the two years preceding the date of loss of employment (section 43b)), and on the inscription of the unemployed person in the register of unemployed that must be kept by every insurance institution (section 43(c)) and also in the register of unemployed persons that must be kept by every municipality with a view to their assignment to relief works for the community (section 43(d)). Under section 44(d)the right to unemployment benefit is lost if the unemployed person refuses to carry out the relief work for the community provided for by section 43(d).

    In its report, the Government refers to sections 20, 21 and 51 of Legislative Decree No. 150, which, the Government affirms, provide that the present social security systems are to be financed by the taxes paid by the community- Since, in this case, the benefits granted are not related to insurance contributions, beneficiaries are required to carry out small jobs in the commune as a form of repayment to the community.

    In the view of the Committee, section 51 provides not that insurance contributions give an entitlement to the benefit but that the unemployment benefit shall not be subject to any insurance charges. Furthermore, the fact that the Fund is financed only from taxes, in accordance with the provision of section 21, does not appear to annul the effect of sections 43 and 62 of Legislative Decree No. 150, which establish a clear link between the entitlement to the benefit and the contributions paid in the private sector (section 43(b)); for the public sector, this link is based on a given period of service or contributions (section 62(b)).

    Since the right to the benefit was acquired by the payment of contributions or the rendering of services, the loss of this right as the result of a refusal by the unemployed person to carry out the relief work assigned by the municipality is equivalent to a penalty in the meaning of Article 2, 1) of the Convention (paragraph 21 of the General Survey of 1979 on the Abolition of Forced Labour).

    The Committee again requests the Government to review the legislation in question in the light of the Convention and to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the Convention in this respect.

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