Five key aspects of Colombian labor law
Colombian labor law: Five aspects to consider
Hiring foreign workers:
Every employment contract executed in Colombia is governed by Colombian labor law, regardless of the parties' nationalities. For this reason, foreign workers who have a working relationship with Colombian companies have the same duties and labor rights as Colombian workers.To conclude an employment contract with a foreign national, both the employer and the worker must comply with the required immigration procedures, such as applying for a work visa. The contract must also be reported to Migración Colombia via SIRE, the Information System for Reporting Foreign Nationals.
- Employment Contract Law:
Colombian labor law stipulates four forms of employment contract, defined by duration: indefinite term, in which the term is indeterminate; fixed term, no longer than three years; work or labor, where the duration is determined by the time required to execute the activity, and occasional, less than one month's duration with the objective of carrying out an activity differing from the company's usual activity.
- Salary Law:
The value of Colombia's current monthly legal minimum wage (S.M.L.M.V) is established every year and defines the minimum salary a person can receive for the work they undertake.
Both parties can also agree on additional benefits that are not constitutive of salary, which may include food, clothing or extralegal bonuses. For these benefits to be considered constitutive of salary, they cannot be a direct compensation for the services the employee provides. Bonuses and commissions based on complying with individual goals are, therefore, mandatorily treated as salary payments.
Similarly, workers who earn up to twice the legal minimum wage, regardless of their nationality, must receive transportation assistance and a supply of clothing and footwear suitable for the type of work they undertake.
- Social Security Regulations:
Employers are obligated to pay social benefits (unemployment benefits, service bonuses) and make pension, healthcare and occupational risk contributions to the Comprehensive Social Security System.
Affiliation to the Social Security System is voluntary when it comes to hiring foreign workers, as long as the employee is not covered by a pension scheme in their country of origin or any other.
- Working hours:
Colombian labor law sets the maximum ordinary working hours as eight hours per day, and 48 hours per week, distributed Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday depending on what the parties agree. Colombian labor legislation also allows for the agreement of flexible working days that adapt to workers' needs.
If employees work beyond the maximum working day permitted by law, they are entitled to the following: day overtime paid with an additional 25% and night overtime (9pm to 6am) paid with an additional 75%. Employees who hold positions of management, leadership or trust, according to the law, are excluded from this.
Colombian labor law guarantees equal opportunities for national and foreign workers, and offers companies the chance to hire qualified human talent, improving both their competitiveness and the expansion of their operations in Colombia.