If this book has been focused primarily on employee rights, that is because – as we stated in the introduction – Chilean labor consists mostly of regulations favoring the employee, and is largely designed to protect and support her.

Nevertheless, employers, by dint of being employers, do have various rights under the Chilean legal system. These include:

  • Ius variandi: the right to change the tasks that an employee performs. An employee working in one division can be given work in a separate division. There are limits, however, to these changes: they must satisfy the reasonableness criterion (for example, you cannot ask a software developer to sweep the floors as his main duty.)
  • Employers may also modify where the employee works and the hours the employee works—but not the salary. If the employer moves offices, then the employee must move with them; or if an employee is moved to the night shift, then that too is reasonable. If, however, the essential character of the work is changed or moral damage is caused against the employee, then the employee can consider himself effectively fired: if the employee is assigned to a far-away province just for the sake of it, then that is tantamount to firing him. If an Chilean employee considers himself as having been fired, then he has the identical rights of any employee who actually is fired.
  • Employers have the right to sanction employees for bad behavior. However, they may deduct salary if a rule is stated explicitly in the company’s internal rules.  Employees may complain about sanctions to the Dirección del Trabajo regarding sanctions, and the latter will make a ruling.


To make changes to the labor relationship that go beyond the reasonableness criterion, the employer and employee must addend the labor contract.