It’s considered that more than 75% of the current jobs existing in Bolivia are informal and not provided by formal companies or institutions. The remaining 25% of available formal jobs tend to have a similar schedule as in other countries, working full-time on weekdays and part-time on weekends. Informal workers tend to work on an irregular schedule, but many more hours per week.
Formal employees in Bolivia tend to have a working schedule of between 40 to 70 working hours per week, with an average of 55 hours. Working hours normally go from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
We are employers and citizens from Bolivia, who have lived all our lives in this country, so we are going to give you all the details about the working schedules in our country, for both formal and informal employees. Also, we’ll talk about holidays and how they are approached by companies and job providers.
Working hours in Bolivia
In our country, you can differentiate 2 types of working schedules, very different from each other, which belong to both formal and informal workers and employees. Next, we will be talking about these 2 schedule types.
1) Formal job schedule
Working hour schedules in Bolivia are the same as in other countries, with the difference that many employers normally tend to overload their employees with work, sometimes even exploiting them, extending their normal schedules for a working day from 8 to 9 hours, or even to 10-11 hours.
As you can see in the table below, a normal work day should be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. making a total of 8 hours for a work day. But most Bolivian employers tend to use extra hours, in both lunch time and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., but without paying extra money for this additional work to their employees.
This is why it’s very common to see in our country formal employees working from 50 to even 60 hours per week, but getting payments for a 40 hour a week working schedule.
|7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.||Usually used as extra working hours|
|8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.||Minimum working hours||Minimum working hours (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)||Sometimes used as extra working hours (9:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)|
|12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.||Often used as extra working hours|
|2:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.||Minimum working hours||Often used as extra working hours (2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)|
|6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m.||Usually used as extra working hours|
|8:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m.||Often used as extra working hours|
Also, many Bolivian employers require their employees to work extra hours on Saturdays and, in some cases, on Sundays. What is common to see Bolivia is, again, employees working on Saturdays, but without getting extra payments for this additional time.
This is a common behavior of institutions and companies in Bolivia. But in very reputable companies, like embassies, international companies, banks, and similar institutions, the situation is different, they tend to respect normal schedules of 8 hours a weekday and pay what is fair for working extra hours.
2) Informal job schedule
People that work for themselves, in grocery stores, little companies, open markets, in commerce, selling things, doing side hustles, etcetera, tend to have very irregular schedules, but they normally use some hours of the day as heavy working hours and other hours on the day as additional working hours.
People working on these types of informal jobs, which represent about 75% of the working force in Bolivia, tend to work many more hours than formal workers, between 50 to 70 hours per week. They work like 10 to 12 hours on weekdays and from 5 to 10 hours on weekends. As you can see in the table below.
|7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.||Often used as informal working hours|
|9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.||Usually used as informal working hours||Often used as informal working hours (9:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)|
|7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.||Often used as informal working hours|
|10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.||Sometimes used as informal working hours|
Also, people with informal jobs in Bolivia tend to work a lot more on weekends than formal employees; they tend to work a lot on Saturdays, and in many cases, half of the day on Sundays. They have very heavy working journeys, that’s why in Bolivia being an informal worker is tougher and more difficult than being a formal employee.
As you may know, Bolivia is a third world country, which doesn’t have a solid working structure and system. Then, informal jobs are in many cases the only choice for people to get enough money for a living. The vast majority of these jobs consist of selling products in huge open markets across the streets of principal Bolivian cities.
Other important informal jobs are having a small grocery store in the neighborhood, working as a taxi driver or as a retailer, electrician, plumber, carpenter, etcetera.
Working hours for foreigners in Bolivia
Foreigners working in our country commonly work for very reputable and well-known worldwide companies that are operating in Bolivia, or for institutions like embassies, missions from overseas, NGOs, etcetera. So, these workers tend to work as if they were in their own country, with the same schedules.
What it means is that if you come work to Bolivia, hired by a worldwide company or a by a public institution from your country operating here, then you’ll have the same working schedule as if you were in your country, or at least an international working schedule of 40 average working hours a week and well paid if you work extra hours.
International organizations, huge companies, and public representatives like embassies present in Bolivia tend to follow and respect international schedule hours and payments. So, if you are a foreign employee coming from a first world country, you’ll mostly have and get the same treatment as if you were in your source country.
Also, in regards to immigrants coming from other South American countries and from Asia, particularly from China, to work in their own businesses, like restaurants, stores and similar businesses, they act like informal Bolivian workers, mostly with difficult and long working schedules.
Schedules of the working system in Bolivia
In Bolivia, like in other countries, we normally have 3 types of schedules for a weekday, consisting on 8 hours for the first two ones and 5 hours a day for the last one:
- Normal working schedule
- Continued working schedule
- Halftime working schedule
A) Normal working schedule
It consists of dividing the working day in both mornings and afternoons or both afternoons and evenings. In Bolivia, normally from:
- 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- From 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
- From 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (overnight work)
Companies and employers in our country normally set the above working schedules for employees. The 2 hours between 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. are designated for lunch time.
As we say before, many companies don’t respect this schedule in the country and make employees work 1 or 2 hours more on a weekday, normally in the evenings, without paying additional money for this extra work.
It’s worth mentioning that virtual work schedules haven’t had a significant impact in Bolivian organizations to this day, despite the pandemic. So, most companies still demand their employees to work in person in our country.
B) Continued working schedule
It consists on having only 1 long working time on weekdays, in Bolivia normally from:
- 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
By far, the most used working schedule of the five shown above is the one that goes from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In fact, many banks and major private institutions of Bolivia use this schedule to let their employees have more free time after 4:30 p.m.
Also, 24/7 open companies normally use the last 3 schedules to have three working turns along the day, they normally start at 7:00 a.m. having 8-hour turns throughout the day.
C) Halftime working schedule
In Bolivia, working half time normally occupies more hours than a half day working job, on average 5 hours per day. Employers tend to add 1 additional working hour to a halftime work, for example, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Also, it’s common to see these halftime jobs occupying all the morning, all the afternoon, or even, all the evening in many cases.
Working hours and schedules on holidays
Working activity on holidays in Bolivia is, as you may expect, almost non-existent. People take holidays very seriously here. The only businesses that normally open these days are drugstores, hospitals, public and private transportation, among other critical services.
Banks, malls, big supermarkets, public institutions and similar entities normally close on holidays in Bolivia. But entertainment places and local or neighborhood grocery stores will remain open during these days.
In this guide about the working hours and working schedules in Bolivia, you have seen that in our country it’s normal to work from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in most formal jobs. But you also saw that many employers will use extra hours for work, mostly in the evenings, without paying for this extra working time.
Also, you’ve seen that most of the workforce in Bolivia is informal (~75%) and is not hired by formal companies and businesses. These informal workers tend to have very irregular schedules, but they mostly work all the day, on weekdays normally from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They also tend to work a lot more on weekends than formal workers.
You now know that these informal workers normally work a lot more, between 60 and 70 hours per week and, in many cases, this is the only choice they have to make a living. You have seen that they work on huge open markets on the streets, on side hustles, small neighborhood stores and similar activities.
Finally, you’ve learned that if you are a first world country employee, coming to work in a very reputable native business, international organization or public institution, like an embassy or similar, you’ll have the same working schedule and treatment as if you were in your source country.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know how it’s to work in Bolivia, with all the details in every working aspect, visit our dedicated guide in the following direction: link.
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