Guide to employment, payroll and benefits in


Rivermate offers complete payroll, benefits and compliance services for


01. Overview

Last updated: 

August 19, 2021

Colombian Peso
Ease of doing business
GDP growth

02. Grow your team in


with Rivermate

Payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance can be difficult to manage in


, particularly if you don't have established local relationships. You can hire employees in


effectively, conveniently, and in full compliance with all relevant labor laws using Rivermate's global employment solution. We handle the responsibilities and legal risks associated with foreign employment so you can concentrate on growing your company.

03. Summary

Colombia, formally the Republic of Colombia, is a South American country with North American territories. The Caribbean Sea borders it on the north, Panama on the northwest, Ecuador and Peru on the south, Venezuela on the east, Brazil on the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Colombia is divided into 32 departments, with Bogotá as the capital and largest district. It has a population of 50 million people and occupies an area of 1,418,748 square kilometers. Colombian culture is influenced by the country's diverse communities of Amerindians, Europeans, Middle Easterners, and Africans. The official language of the country is Spanish, but it is also spoken in over 70 other languages. Since at least 12,000 BCE, Colombia has been home to a variety of indigenous peoples, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish arrived in La Guajira in 1499 and colonized parts of the area by the mid-16th century, founding the New Kingdom of Granada with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. In 1810, the United Provinces of New Granada declared independence from the Spanish Empire, forming what is now Colombia. Before declaring the Republic of Colombia in 1886, the new country experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation and then the United States of Colombia. In 1903, Panama seceded, resulting in Colombia's current boundaries. The nation has been plagued by asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and political violence since the 1960s, which worsened in the 1990s. Colombia has experienced unparalleled economic growth and development since 2005, with substantial improvements in security, stability, and rule of law. Colombia is one of the world's seventeen megadiverse nations, with the second-highest level of biodiversity. It is the only nation in South America with coastlines and islands on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and its territory includes Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, and deserts. Colombia is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, the Organization of American States, the Pacific Alliance, the Andean Community, and is a NATO Global Partner. It has the third-largest economy in South America, with macroeconomic stability and promising long-term growth prospects.

04. Public holidays

05. Types of leave

Paid time off

Employees are entitled to 15 days of paid vacation each year.

Public holidays

Colombia recognizes 18 public holidays.

Sick days

The employer is responsible for paying two-thirds of the daily wage for the first two days of sick leave. Sick leave is charged at the same cost by social security starting on the third day.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave is 18 weeks long and pays 100% of your wages. The boss pays the employee, and claims the money from social security (EPS).

Paternity leave

Paternity leave lasts for eight days and is paid at full pay. The boss pays the employee and then claims the money in the EPS system.

Parental leave

There are currently no provisions in the Colombian law regarding parental leave.

Other leave

Bereavement Leave: 5 days and leave can be paid or unpaid depending on the company policy.Marriage Leave: 5 days of paid leave.

06. Employment termination

Termination process

When an employee is terminated, the cause for termination must be given to him or her in writing. If the employer initiates the termination, the employer is not required to provide a reason for the termination unless there is an accusation of an unjust cause. Employers must get special clearance to fire pregnant or handicapped employees. To dismiss a unionized employee, the employer must obtain approval from a labor judge. If an employee's employment contract is terminated owing to an employer violation, the employee is entitled to severance compensation.

Notice period

Employers must provide a maximum of 15 days' notice when terminating an employee for unsatisfactory performance. At the very least, the employee is entitled to 24 hours to consider and respond to the dismissal notice. No notice is required in the event of misconduct or a dismissal for just cause. Written notification is required at least 30 days prior to the expiration of an employee's fixed-term agreement.

Severance pay

Employers are required to pay severance when employees are terminated without cause. Severance pay will be computed as follows for employees with an indefinite term agreement. Employees earning less than the legal minimum monthly wage of ten dollars are entitled to thirty days of pay during their first year of service and twenty days of pay during each subsequent year of service. Employees earning ten times the minimum legal wage or more are entitled to twenty days of salary during their first year of service and fifteen days for each subsequent year of service. Severance pay for employees covered by a fixed-term agreement would be equal to the employee's wage until the duration of the agreement expired.

Probation period

For indefinite contracts, the probation period is 2 months. For fixed-term contracts, the probation period cannot exceed more than 1/5 of the initially agreed employment term.

07. Working hours


Colombia, on average, has a 48-hour work week. Individuals typically work five days a week for approximately 9.6 hours per day, Monday through Friday, or six days a week for eight hours per day, depending on the business.

Employees in management, domestic services, shift work, and mechanical drivers are exempt from the legal work maximum.

Work performed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. that is not considered overtime is compensated at 135% of the standard daytime rate, or 210 percent on Sundays.


On a regular day, overtime is paid at 125 percent of the standard salary; between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., overtime is paid at 175 percent.

Daytime overtime is compensated at a rate of 125 percent of the regular rate of pay. Overtime is compensated at 175 percent of the regular rate of pay. Sunday overtime is paid at 125 percent of the regular rate for daytime work and 175 percent of the regular rate for nighttime work. Overtime on holidays is compensated at a rate of 75% of the hours worked.

Overtime compensation is not paid to employees who earn more than ten times the minimum wage or who hold positions of trust.

08. Minimum wage


Colombian compensation laws require that employees be paid on a monthly basis. Casual employees, on the other hand, may be paid weekly. While Colombia's minimum wage is currently 908,526 Pesos per month (2021), the country's legal minimum wage changes annually. Employers should closely monitor any changes that may affect their employees.

09. Employee benefits


Columbia offers free public healthcare to all employees. Private healthcare insurance is also provided by businesses.

Semestral Bonuses are available to employees (prima de servicios). Each year, this benefit equates to 15 days of compensation payable to the employee on the last day of June and 15 days of salary payable during the first 20 days of December. This reward is payable upon cessation of employment in proportion to the amount of time worked during the calendar semester in which the termination occurs.

10. Why Rivermate as your Employer of Record / PEO?

Establishing an entity in


to hire a team takes time, money, and effort. The labor law in


has strong worker employment protection, requiring great attention to details and a thorough awareness of local best practices. Rivermate makes expanding into


simple and effortless. We can assist you with hiring your preferred talent, managing HR and payroll, and ensuring compliance with local legislation without the hassle of establishing a foreign branch office or subsidiary. Our PEO and Global Employer of Record solutions in


give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about how Rivermate can help you hire employees in


via our Employer of Record / PEO solution.

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