The law, which was promulgated on 16th December, exempts companies from awarding 18-24-year-old employees certain mandatory benefits, including annual bonuses, life insurance, and payments for experience known as CTS. Businesses are also only required to offer 15 holiday days per year to youth workers, compared to 30 days for adults.
An estimated 10,000 mainly young students and workers joined the protest march last night, the second manifestation in four days. They chanted slogans such as “our rights are not for sale, our rights are to be protected!” and criticised both Congress and President Ollanta Humala.
“If they want to benefit us then why take away our rights?” one student protester, Álvaro Sedano, told local media La Republica. “This law is not made to benefit youngsters but businesses.”
The government, however, has defended the law, saying it would help encourage companies to hire youngsters that are currently unemployed or have limited qualifications. Finance and Economy Minister Alonso Segura said that the new labour regime “does not take away rights from anyway – it’s an inclusive law that grants rights to those who do not have them.”
According to the national statistics office INE, the rate of unemployment for 14-24 year-olds was 11.1% in 2013, compared to a national rate of 4.8%.