Human Resources in Colombia

The primary laws that regulate human resources in Colombia apply equally to both the foreign nationals working in the country and the Colombian employees. However, foreign nationals are subjected to some additional requirements about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs administration procedures. In addition, the different employee categories also adhere to other laws, and there are set minimum employment rights in the country. We will discuss all that in this article.

Human Resources in Colombia
Labor Disputes & Contract Law
Employment Contracts in Colombia
What is a Colombian SAS Corporation
Employee Termination & Liquidations in Colombia

Minimum Employment Rights in Colombia

These minimum employment rights apply to all types of employees, foreign or national.

Working Hours

Working Hours

The employers in Colombia are legally bound to offer at least a single day off in a week to each of their employees. The maximum working hours per day are eight and per week are 48. There is an allowance by the Colombian Labor Code for working these 48 hours over five days and taking two offs in a week. About the needs of the company, it can allot special shifts.


An employer cannot demand more than 2 hours of overtime work from an employee in a day. The limit of overtime work for a week is 12 hours. Here are some additional laws regarding overtime pay.:

  • If an employee works overtime between 6:00 am to 9:00 pm, they are entitled to be paid at a rate at least 25% higher than their ordinary hourly rate.
  • Employees who work overtime between 9:00 pm to 6:00 am need to be paid 75% more than their ordinary per hour pay. The per hour pay rate for the night shift is 35% more than the day shift.
  • No employer can ask for overtime work from an employee unless they have a special permit issued by the Ministry of Labor.

This overtime and working hour rules do not apply to personnel engaged in management, trust, or direction functions. Working as a simple vigilant service person or engaging in intermittent activities excludes you from the above rules. This is provided you stay at the workplace.


By 2021, the minimum wage in Colombia will be COP908,526 per month. It is equivalent to approx—$ 260. However, the number keeps changing every year. This is because the government of Colombia uses Consumer Price Index (ICP) as a reference to increase it every year.

There are two schemes under which the salaries may be agreed: integrated salary scheme and ordinary salary scheme. The following payments and fringe benefits on top of the monthly wages are mandatory under the common salary scheme:

  • A transportation allowance must be given to employees who earn less than two times the minimum wage. The allowance is COP106,454 for 2021. It is equal to $30.
  • In December, April, and August, all employers should offer work clothes to employees who earn less than twice the minimum wage.
  • Each year of service must allow all the employers to take 15 working days as a vacation.
  • Every calendar year, in December and June, the employees must get bonuses for their services. The amount of each bonus should be equivalent to 15 days’ salary of the respective employee. The day for the bonus in June is the last day of the month, and the bonus in December has to be paid in the first 20 days of the month. The bonus can be proportionate to the time the employee served during the respective semester.
  • All employees are to get an interest in severance. The interest rate is set at 12 percent of the severance payment, proportionally for fractions of a year.
  • Employees are entitled to severance aid equal to 30 days of their salary for each year of service, proportionally for fractions of a year.

Suppose the monthly salary is higher than 13 times the minimum monthly wage, i.e., COP11,810,839 in 2021. In that case, an integrated salary scheme may be agreed upon. Following are the fringe, social, and legal benefits that employees under this scheme are entitled to:

Travel allowances for traveling abroad or with the Colombian territory.

  • Subsidies and in-kin supplies
  • Days off night work surcharge and Sunday and holiday surcharge
  • Extralegal bonuses and legal service bonuses
  • Interest on severance aid
  • Severance aid

Sick Leave and Pay

The human resources in Colombia are bound to pay an employee for not attending work if they are ill or suffer an accident and provide medical authorization from a Colombian social security entity. The period for which the employee can receive sick pays and leaves is indefinite. However, the employer can claim the payment back from the country’s social security system from the third day of the sick leave.

Sick Leave and Pay

Parental or Maternity Leave and Pay

Human resources in Colombia must offer 18 weeks of maternity leave to all employed adoptive or pregnant mothers. They are distributed 17 weeks after childbirth and one week before it. However, if, for medical reasons, the mother needs to have a postpartum, they are entitled to 2 weeks of leave before the childbirth and 18 weeks of leave after it. In the case of death or sickness of the mother, the father is also entitled to this maternity leave. A father receives eight days of paid paternity leave in case of childbirth and the adoption of a child.

Some additional provisional and payment benefits offered to employees in Colombia during their employment course include:


EPS health insurance


ARL – Professional risk – Workers insurance


Pension – Social security


SENA – Government education program


Fund and guarantee for catastrophic health events


ICBF – Family health services tax


CCF – Employee benefit fund


Parafiscales – Taxes and parafiscal contributions

Independent contractors and employers, and employees must declare their income with several government entities. To avoid any legal complications, it is recommended to hire an expert accountant and a credible attorney to take care of all your legal needs and human resources matters in Colombia.

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