Working Conditions in Colombia

1. Minimum Working Conditions

The Colombian Labor Code contains the minimum rights and guarantees granted to an employee. Any stipulation that affects or disregards this minimum is considered null and void. In this regard, all articles in the Code must be considered minimum rights and guarantees available to all employees.

2. Salary

Salary is defined as the main and direct compensation for services rendered by the employee. There are two (2) types of salary:

  • Ordinary Salary: This type of salary is a fixed compensation paid monthly1;
  • All-inclusive salary: Colombian payroll regulations allow employees to earn an all-inclusive salary2,is intended to compensate ordinary work, night shifts, work on Sundays and holidays, legal bonuses, severance payments, interests on severance payments, and, in general, any other employment benefits excluding vacations.

3. Maximum Working Week

In accordance with applicable Colombian regulations, work shifts cannot exceed eight (8) hours per day or forty eight (48) per week. Daytime working hours extend from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm and night shifts extend from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Employees in positions of trust and management are excluded from regulations regarding the maximum legal workday (article 162, Labor Code).

Supplemental work or overtime, except in the cases provided in article 163 of the Labor Code, may only be performed two (2) hours per day and subject to express authorization from Ministry of Labor or an authority designated by it (article 1, Decree 13 of 1967).

4. Overtime

Extra work is compensated with particular surcharges as follows:

Overtime pay
Night work 35% surcharge over daytime hour
Day overtime 25% surcharge over daytime hour
Night overtime 75% surcharge over daytime hour
Day overtime on Sunday or holidays 100% surcharge over daytime hour
Night overtime on Sundays or holidays 150% surcharge over daytime hour

5. Holidays

Sundays and holidays that are recognized as such by the labor legislation will be construed as paid mandatory rest days.

Every employee has the right to paid rest days for the following civilian or religious holidays: January 1, January 6, March 19, May 1, June 29, July 20, August 7, August 15, October 12, November 1, November 11, December 8, December 25, and on all holy Thursdays and Fridays, the Ascension of the Lord, Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart of Jesus.

6. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace.

Employers are responsible for the prevention of professional risks in the work place. Among others, employers must: provide employees with the necessary industrial and safety equipment and appropriate training for the performance of their duties; perform entry, periodical, after disability or reinstatement, as well as exit medical exams; providing first aid assistance when emergencies or work accidents occur; report and investigate work accidents, keep an active emergency committee, and maintain compliance with industrial safety policies.

Decree 1443 of 2014, stipulates the procedure that must be followed by any employer in Colombia, for creating and implementing the Management System of Security/Safety and Health at Work (called Sistema de Gestión de la Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo – SGSST).

The elements of the SGSST are the following, and they must concur in order to successfully implement the SGSST:

  • of a Policy of Safety/Security and Health at Work: This Policy must be established in writing and must be part of the management policies of the company/employer, with range of application to all working centers, and all engaged parties (meaning employees, contractors, trainees, subcontractors, mission employees, etc.).
  • Organization of the SGSST: The organization of the SGSST implies activities such as assignment of responsibilities, management of risks and dangers, definition of annual working plan, prevention of labor risks, participation of employees, etc.
  • of the SGSST: It includes several activities, among others, the conduction of an initial assessment to identify the company’s priorities in safety/security and health at work, in order to establish an annual working plan or updating the existing one.
  • of the SGSST: It includes several activities in order to put in practice the SGSST.
  • of the SGSST: Every employer/company must conduct an annual audit of the SGSST, which must review, among others, (i) the full compliance of the Policy of Security and Health at Work, (ii) the result of the indicators of the SGSST, (iii) the active participation of the employees, (iv) the communication mechanisms of the SGSST to all the employees, (v) the planning, development and implementation of the SGSS, the investigation process of incidents, labor accidents, labor illnesses, etc.

1 The minimum monthly wage for 2016 is COP$ 689.455, approximately, USD$225 (at an exchange rate of COP$3,058).
2 The minimum all-inclusive salary for 2016 is COP$ 8,962,915 is approximately USD$2,930 (at an exchange rate of COP$3,058).

For more information, please contact L&E Global.
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