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Colombia is the fourth-largest country in South America, with an estimated population of 50 million. Bogota is the capital and is located in the center of the country. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by most of the population. Colombia has abundant natural resources including coffee, oil, natural gas and coal. The United States is Colombia's largest trading partner.

Employment contracts in Colombia can be indefinite or fixed-term. Indefinite contracts have an undefined duration but a defined scope of work. Fixed-term contracts have a set duration of up to three years. Contracts between one to three years in length can be renewed indefinitely but cannot become an indefinite contract. Fixed-term contracts also cover an assigned task where the duration is not defined but ends when the task is complete and for occasional work where the duration is less than a month.

The statutory work week in Colombia is 48 hours per week and will gradually decline to 42 hours a week by July 15, 2026. Employers may adopt the 42-hour work week immediately. Employers and employees can agree to a flexible work schedule where the employee works no more than 42 hours a week over six days, with one day of rest. Work performed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., but is not overtime, is paid at 135% of the standard daytime rate, or 210% on a Sunday. Overtime is paid 125% of the standard salary on a regular day, or 175% for work performed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Employees receive paid sick leave in Colombia from the third day of illness if they have a medical certificate. The employer pays during the absence and then claims it back from the social security office.

Female employees receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave in Colombia. They can take a maximum of two weeks before the birth and then 16 weeks after the birth. They must submit a medical certificate with the due date and when the leave will start. For multiple births, maternity leave can be extended by two weeks. If there is a premature birth, the leave can be extended to include the earlier than expected arrival, if they can provide a medical certificate with the amount of extra leave specified. Male employees receive two weeks of paid paternity leave or adoption leave in Colombia.

In Colombia, a semi-annual bonus (prima de servicios) of 15 days of salary is paid on the final day of June and on Dec. 20 each year.

Employees receive 15 days of paid annual leave after a year of service and they must take at least six consecutive days of leave. Any remaining days can be carried over for up to two years. Those who are technicians, specialized workers or drivers can carry over their annual leave for up to four years. Some collective bargaining agreements allow for additional annual leave.

In Colombia, the public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day

  • Epiphany

  • Saint Joseph's Day

  • Maundy Thursday

  • Good Friday

  • Labor Day / May Day

  • Ascension Day

  • Corpus Christi

  • Sacred Heart

  • Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

  • Independence Day

  • Battle of Boyacá Day

  • Columbus Day

  • All Saints' Day

  • Independence of Cartagena

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • Christmas Day

  • Assumption of Mary

Colombia provides universal public healthcare. Companies also offer private healthcare insurance.

Employment contracts in Colombia can be terminated due to the death of the worker, mutual consent, end of a fixed-term contract, closure of a company, business suspension of more than 120 days, or the final judgment of an arbitration or hearing. When terminating a contract unilaterally, the employer must give 15 days of notice and specify the reason. Terminating a fixed-term contract requires 30 days of notice. When a permanent contract is unilaterally terminated, the employee receives severance that depends on whether their salary was more or less than 10 times the minimum wage and their years of service. There is no severance pay for dismissal with just cause. If the employee ends the contract without just cause or notice, they must pay the employer 30 days of salary as compensation.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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