Reduction of the working hours in Colombia


Reduction of working hours in colombia

On Saturday, July 15, 2023, Law 2101 of 2021 took a momentous step towards reshaping Colombia’s labor landscape. This legal milestone, representing a pivotal moment in the country’s labor reform, signals the commencement of a carefully planned and gradual reduction in working hours. Over the span of the next three years, from 2023 to 2026, this transition will see a reduction from the previous 48 hours to a more manageable 42-hour workweek.

Implications of the Workweek Reduction:
  • Maintaining Salary: Despite the reduction of the working hours, workers will not experience a decrease in their incomes. This crucial point ensures the financial well-being of employees remains intact.
  • Private Sector Flexibility: Private sector companies can implement this reduced working hours through agreements or collective bargaining, providing flexibility for employers and employees to adapt to the change.
  • Time Distribution: The workweek will be distributed to guarantee at least one day of rest each week. This means that hours will be spread across 5 to 6 days, offering a balance between work and leisure.
  • Flexible Daily Schedules: Employees can enjoy flexible daily schedules, with a minimum of 4 continuous hours and a maximum of 9 hours per day. This allows greater adaptability to individual worker needs.
  • Avoiding Double Shifts: In principle, double shifts on the same day will not be allowed, except for supervisory and trust roles, always with the worker’s consent.
Consequences of Not Implementing the Workweek Reduction:

If an organization fails to implement the reduced workweek, it may face legal challenges and significant risks, including:

  1. Constructive Dismissal: Workers may resign due to reasons attributed to the employer, potentially leading to cases of constructive dismissal.
  2. Common Grounds for Constructive Dismissal: Common reasons for constructive dismissal can include non-payment of wages or social benefits, worsening working conditions, failure to meet legal obligations, and, of course, non-compliance with the workweek reduction.
  3. Legal Sanctions: The new labor law provides for penalties for organizations that do not implement the reduced workweek, which can result in costly legal and financial issues.
  4. Worker Compensation: In the event of constructive dismissal, organizations may be required to pay compensation to the worker, depending on their salary and seniority.
Compensation Details:
  • Workers with a salary below 10 legal monthly minimum wages: 30 days’ salary if the worker has been employed for less than a year, and 30 days plus an additional 20 days for each subsequent year after the first.
  • Workers with a salary equal to or higher than 10 legal monthly minimum wages: 20 days’ salary if the worker has been employed for less than a year, and 20 days plus an additional 15 days for each subsequent year after the first.
Recommendations to Prevent Constructive Dismissal with the New Workweek:
  • Update the Internal Work Regulations: Ensure that the internal work regulations are updated to reflect the new work schedule.
  • Transparent Communication: Share and post the updated internal work regulations in a visible place for all employees.
  • Informative Meetings: Convene meetings with workers to share the new internal work regulations and ensure they are aware of the changes.
  • Attendance Record Signature: Make sure that workers sign an attendance record that includes the new internal work regulations.

The implementation of Law 2101 of 2021 is a milestone in the evolution of the Colombian labor market. Both workers and employers should be prepared to comply with the new regulations and seize the opportunities they offer, maintaining a balance between work and personal life. Early adaptation and effective communication will be key to ensuring a smooth transition in this new era of labor in Colombia.

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