Bolivia plans bigger paycheck for punctual workers

LA PAZ Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:32pm EST

Independent miners march amid smoke from dynamites they threw during a rally in the centre of La Paz February 6, 2007. REUTERS/David Mercado

Independent miners march amid smoke from dynamites they threw during a rally in the centre of La Paz February 6, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/David Mercado

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivians who arrive at work on time could get a punctuality bonus as part of a labor reform that aims to break the national habit of arriving late for everything from dates to business meetings.

In a bid to fight chronic tardiness in the impoverished Andean country, ruling party lawmakers have proposed a new Labor Code that calls for all workers to get the payment if they turn up on the dot every day for a month.

The bill, drawn up by allies of leftist President Evo Morales, also calls for companies to give staff a refreshment bonus to buy snacks during breaks and subsidize travel costs for those living more than 1.25 miles from work.

Tardiness is common practice among all Bolivians, even the president, who is often late for rallies and public appearances.

Morales' supporters have booed him for arriving late on several occasions and journalists walked out of the presidential palace in anger once after he made them wait for nearly two hours for a news conference.

The labor reform will likely be voted into law without many changes because Morales' party controls Congress.

(Reporting by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Eric Beech)