Hiring employees is relatively simple in Chile. The employer and employee must sign a labor contract.
By law, there is a 15-day window between when the employee may start working and when the contract must be signed. During that time, the labor relationship is in force.
There are two negative consequences for failing to prepare and sign the contract before the 15 days are up. One is that, if the employee complains to the Inspeccion de Trabajo, you could pay a fine (multa). The second is that, if the employee complains to the authorities and/or sues the employer, her account of the situation will be given more weight; thus, she could claim (for instance) that the employer owes her more than was established in the verbal agreement, and the employer will be ordered to pay her accordingly.
When you search for an employee, it is important to not ask their sex or age, or discriminate in any way.
Time-Period of Contract
When an employee is hired, it is assumed that the time-period is indefinite unless the contract states otherwise. It is very important for employers to bear this in mind when drawing up a labor contract, as terminating an employee’s job before the end of a contract’s term often leads to significant penalties for the employer. We explain this more in the chapter on termination and severance payments.
There is no trial period per se established by Chilean law: as soon as the employee starts working for the employer, all of the rules of the labor relationship are in effect. Even if (for instance) the employer wishes to fire the employee after the first week because the employee is obviously under-qualified, the employer will have to abide by all the rules of termination. The only exception is domestic labor, for which there is a two-week trial period established by law.
A common precaution taken by employers is to sign a one-month contract at first, and then, if all goes well, sign a contract for a longer term. Bear in mind that you may only sign two short-term contracts; the third will automatically be considered indefinite.