Every 1 May is Labour Day in Chile. For most, Labour Day is a day of rest and quiet, or maybe a short vacation to get away from crowded Santiago. For others, it’s a time of marching, protesting, and demanding additional workers’ rights.
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In the United States, Labour Day comes on the first Monday in September, but the reason it’s on 1 May in Chile and most of the rest of the world has US roots. The date of Labour Day hails back to the 1886 Haymarket incident in which a number of protesters were killed by police after someone hurled a bomb at them.
Chile has observed Labour Day as a public holiday since 1931. And the labour movement has helped in gaining workers’ benefits like three weeks of vacation time, very generous pregnancy leave, five months’ severance pay, and as many as 18 holidays per year.