Mental health: “there is a close connection between the working day and personal well-being”

According to the Ipsos World Happiness 2022 study, our country is one of the least happy in the world. How can the working day influence it?

The truth is that Chile is one of the countries with the most working hours in the OECD and, coincidentally, with the highest rates of illnesses related to mental health. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), long hours or those that do not allow a social life are, among others, a factor of psychosocial risk and stress. There would thus be a close connection between the working day and personal well-being.

In this context, there is currently a bill to reduce the working day from 45 to 40 hours per week, presented in 2017 and pending in the second constitutional procedure in the Senate (bulletin 11179-13), which contemplates a progressive reduction in which employers will have a term of up to 5 years to adjust the working day, which by the way, may not represent a decrease in remuneration.

The project has once again opened the discussion on productivity, the economy, development and the quality of life of those who work, still having detractors and promoters. For this reason, on March 30, the Minister of Labor, Jeannette Jara, announced the creation of a technical table of representatives of workers, companies and MSMEs, to see a possible implementation.

The 40-hour weekly proposal is part of the ILO recommendations that already adopted Convention Number 47 in 1935. Although Chile never ratified it, the international document calls for adjusting the working day. In turn, working time is considered in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8), which seeks to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, as well as work decent.

The center of the debate is to seek a balance between economy and quality of life, understanding that economic growth must translate into greater well-being for people.

The Nobel Prize in Economics, Amartya Sen, argues that development must be understood, beyond numbers, as a process of expanding the freedoms enjoyed by people within the State. Freedom is understood in positive terms, that is, it includes political freedoms, economic services, social opportunities, guarantees of transparency and social security, therefore, in these terms, it is considered an end of the development of States.

The relationship between development, productivity, happiness and quality of life have, without a doubt, a meeting point in the working day. According to what Sen indicates, the search for progress must deal with improving the life we ​​lead, to this we could add, the greatest happiness that we as a society achieve.

  • The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of The counter.
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Mental health: “there is a close connection between the working day and personal well-being”