The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, unveiled a bill this Monday to set up an emergency family income to support Chile’s most vulnerable households, whose members tend to have informal jobs and whose income has dropped due to the health crisis caused by Covid-19.
The law will benefit at least 1.78 million households, each with an average of 2.5 members, so it will reach at least 4.5 million people.
“We have introduced a set of measures to create a protective blanket to cover all the vulnerable sectors and those who are suffering because of this pandemic,” the President said during a ceremony at La Moneda Palace. He was accompanied by Social Development Minister Sebastián Sichel, Treasury Minister Ignacio Briones and Social Assessment Undersecretary Alejandra Candia.
The benefit will reach the 60% most vulnerable members of Chilean society, whose source of income is mainly informal. The bill not only considers a family’s medium-term socio-economic risk, but is also intended to impact households whose income mainly comes from the informal economy, as these have seen their income decrease the most as a result of the pandemic. To this end, families will need to update their income in the Social Registry of Households.
The emergency income will be provided for three months and will be reduced gradually in the hopes that these households can restart the activities that allow them to generate income. The payment will vary according to the family’s level of social vulnerability and size.
The announcement is part of the emergency plan unveiled by the President to contain the economic, health and social impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic. The plan has been assigned US$17 billion to protect jobs, SMEs and the income of the most vulnerable families through bonuses, tax benefits and loans.
The President also announced that another bill will be submitted in the coming days to protect freelance workers who issue boletas de honorarios (invoices for services rendered), whose income has been seriously impacted by this pandemic. In this way, the Government is aiming to protect employees with formal work contracts, people who work in the informal economy and freelance workers.
“During this health, social and economic crisis generated by the Coronavirus pandemic, the government’s main mission has been to protect Chilean men and women, especially those who are part of the middle class and the most vulnerable,” the President said.