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Global Compliance Desk – Colombia

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Upcoming Amendments to Colombian Employment Law

In July of 2021, the Colombian Congress passed the Law 2101 of 2021 (“Act”) to gradually reduce the Colombian standard work week from 48 to 42 hours. The reduction of work hours will take effect steadily over a period of time (between 2023 to 2026) wherein the first transition from 48 hours to 47 hours weekly shall become effective from July 15, 2023

Gradual Decrease in Weekly Working Hours

Currently, according to Article 161 of the Labor Code, the maximum duration of the ordinary working day is 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week excluding overtime, which may be distributed, by mutual agreement, in either a 5 or 6 days work week always guaranteeing the day’s rest.         

Effective July 15, 2023, a reduction in the weekly working hours will be implemented, reducing the working hours per week from 48 hours to 47 hours. 

In order to facilitate a smooth transition to 42 hours, the reduction of the standard working week will be phased in over a period of 5 years, as outlined below:      

      • July 15, 2023:  Maximum weekly work hours reduced to 47.
      • July 15, 2024:  Maximum weekly work hours reduced to 46.
      • July 15, 2025:  Maximum weekly work hours reduced to 44.
      • July 16, 2026:  Maximum weekly work hours reduced to 42. 

The maximum duration of the ordinary working day shall be 42 hours a week and may be distributed, by mutual agreement, between employer and employee, in 5 or 6 days a week, always guaranteeing the day of rest, except for the following exceptions:

      • In tasks that are especially unhealthy or dangerous, the government may order the reduction of the working day.
      • The employer and the employee may agree, temporarily or indefinitely, on the organization of successive work shifts, which allow the company or sections of it to operate without interruption during all days. the week, as long as the respective shift does not exceed 6 hours a day and 36 hours a week. In such cases, there will be no nighttime surcharge or surcharge provided for Sunday or holiday work, but the employee will earn the salary corresponding to the ordinary working day and will have the right to a day of paid rest.
      • The employer and the employee may agree that the 42-hour weekday is carried out through flexible daily work shifts, distributed over a maximum of 6 days a week with a mandatory rest day, which may coincide with Sunday.

Currently, the maximum weekly working hours in a flexible working system do not exceed 48 hours per week on average.

The amendment to weekly working hours article 161 of the Substantive Labor Code, will reduce the hours in the working day and the legal maximum daily work shall be made flexible as per the Colombia flexible work system. The amendment shall no longer contemplate the forced limit of 8 hours standard daily work day, but now the employer and employee can mutually agree to carry out flexible daily work hours, to reach the average of 42 hours work week.

 Thus, the number of daily work hours may be distributed variably during the respective week, having a minimum of 4 continuous hours and a maximum of 9 hours a day without any surcharge for supplementary work, when the number of hours of work does not exceed the average of 42 hours per week.

The reduction in the working day will not imply a reduction in salary or benefit remuneration, nor the value of the ordinary working hour, nor does it exonerate employees from obligations. The overtime premium pay for day and night shift overtime work shall remain the same i.e. 25% premium for daytime work and 75% for night work.   

Introduction of Work for Change Bill in Colombia

In March 2023, a new bill called Work for Change was introduced suggesting several modifications to the Colombian Labour Statute. This bill is presently under discussion in Congress and the implementation of the same is anticipated in the near future. 

The primary amendments proposed in the labor reform are as follows: 

Day and Night Work Timing 

Currently, the period between 6 am and 9 pm is considered daytime, while the time between 9 pm and 6 am is classified as nighttime. 

The bill aims to redefine daytime as 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and nighttime as 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Premium for Sunday Work

Currently, if an employee performs work on a Sunday or rest day, they shall be entitled to a premium of 75% on the ordinary salary in proportion to the hours worked. 

In accordance with the bill, the premium for Sunday work shall be increased to 100% on the ordinary salary in proportion to the hours worked. 

Extension of Duration of Paternity Leave

Starting in 2025, the bill proposes an extension of paternity leave from 2 to 12 weeks.


Conclusion – Employers should proactively communicate the changes to their workforce, review and adjust work schedules and start making appropriate changes in their policies and employment contract.

It is also important to note that this reduction will not impact salaries or social benefits. 

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.
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Bhumi Hitesh Soni


Bhumi Hitesh Soni

A labor and employment lawyer at Deltek | Replicon who specializes in global compliance. Deltek | Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. Deltek | Replicon is an industry leader in global compliance and has a dedicated team which pro-actively monitors international labor regulations for ensuring proper adherence with specific country rule requirements.


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