Chile’s congress approves increase in minimum wage

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric attends a news conference with foreign correspondents at La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile.

Chile’s congress voted to approve an increase in the minimum wage on Wednesday as the Andean country struggles with soaring inflation.

Chile’s lower house supported adjustments made by the senate and 139 members of the 155-member house voted to approve the 14.3% hike in minimum wage, which now awaits President Gabriel Boric’s signature.

Boric announced his support for the raise earlier in the day on Twitter and his government had negotiated the hike with a workers group last month.

The increase will be a two-step hike with the monthly minimum wage going from 350,000 pesos to (an equivalent of $413) to 380,000 pesos (an equivalent of $448) on May 1 and then to 400,000 pesos (an equivalent of $472) on August 1.

There will also be transitional compensation to help small and medium businesses adjust to the change.

A third hike to 410,000 (an equivalent of $483) in January 2023 will come into effect if the 12-month inflation rate exceeds 7% in December.

Chile, which reported its highest monthly inflation rate in more than 20 years this March, currently has a 12-month inflation rate of 10.5%.

Boric took office in March and his opinion poll approval numbers are declining. He has been under pressure to help households struggling with inflation and the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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