Article

Domestic Service and Labor Laws in Chile and Argentina, 1931–1956

Inés Pérez and Elizabeth Hutchison

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History


Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780199366439 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.107

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  • Latin American History
  • History of Gender and Sexuality
  • Slavery and Abolition of Slavery
  • Labour History

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The regulation of labor relations and social rights substantially changed workers’ lives over the course of the 20th century. Domestic service, however, was only poorly and belatedly protected under labor law, and its incorporation proceeded in a slow, ambiguous, and nonlinear manner. The specific ways in which domestic service regulation emerged in Chile and Argentina, respectively, offer insight into this process and also present some important contrasts, despite the nations’ geographic proximity. In Chile, although the rights recognized for household workers were limited, the Labor Code of 1931 included an article on domestic service. In Argentina, the first comprehensive regulation for this sector was a special statute sanctioned by decree in 1956. In both cases, the “special” nature of such regulation was attributed to the place of domestic service in family life. As domestic labor was reconceptualized through legislative reform in each country, household workers gradually came to enjoy some, but not all, of the rights guaranteed to other workers.

Keywords: household work; labor rights; gender; parliamentary debates; state regulation

Article.  12555 words. 

Subjects: Latin American History ; History of Gender and Sexuality ; Slavery and Abolition of Slavery ; Labour History

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