Minimum Working Conditions
Owing to the public policy nature of labour standards and social norms, the parties cannot agree to terms that would circumvent, contradict or otherwise be in opposition to the rights guaranteed by such policies. Nor may an employee renounce a labour right granted by law, but the employer is allowed to provide the employee with benefits and rights that are more favourable than those established by law.
The statutory minimum wage for employees who work the maximum working time for 2018 is $781.242 COP with a mandatory transport allowance of $88.211 COP (mandatory for employees who earns up to 2 times the minimum wage).
Compensation regarded as salary comprises not only the employee’s agreed fixed and/or variable salary, but any payment which is recognised as a retribution for the services the employee provides to the employer. The salary can be either in kind or cash, but the salary in kind cannot exceed 30% of the total salary agreed. The salary can also be agreed on any legal currency. For employees who earn a salary equivalent to at least ten (10) times the minimum wage or more, an “integrated” salary can be agreed. An “Integrated” salary agreement must be in writing.
Maximum Working Week
The ordinary working time cannot exceed 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week, with the employee being entitled to a mandatory rest day, normally on Sunday. However, the law allows for the parties to agree that the daily working time can be distributed between 4 and 10 hours per day ensuring the maximum working week (48 hours). The daily working time must be distributed in at least two parts, with a rest period between both of them. This rest period between both sections is not considered part of the daily working time.
Overtime hourly work compensation rate is 25% over regular hour payment. The following employees are not entitled to overtime work compensation: (i) employees who earn an “integrated” salary (only possible for employees who earn more than ten times the minimum wage) and; (ii) employees that occupy trust positions (However, they are entitled to receive Night hours and Sundays overtime payments). Employees who work night hours (from 09:00 PM to 06:00 AM) are entitled to a special overcharge of 35% over their regular hourly compensation, disregarding other special compensations like overtime compensation. Work on Sundays and/or public holidays must be paid with an overcharge of 75% over the regular compensation.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
The employer is expressly obliged to provide his employees with a safe workplace and the necessary and adequate elements and tools to prevent work accidents and professional diseases. Since 2014, every employer or contracting party must implement the “Safety and Health at Work Management System” to ensure the enforcement of all health and safety at work legislation, the improvement of the work environment and conditions, and the control of any hazard or danger in the workplace. This system includes not only the employees of a company, but also its contractors and subcontractors.
Colombian labour law does not provide any special protection specifically for employees who present a formal complaint against their employer for failing to comply with the Health and Safety legislation.