Employ Candidates Compliantly in Colombia

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  1. Overview: Colombia
  2. Global HR Compliance
  3. Global PEO and payroll
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Expand without a company set up
  6. Contractor vs. employee: which is better?
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Global HR Compliance in Colombia

If you hire international workforce, or plan to hire, then Hiring and Firing Workforce in Colombia Guide below will help you understand the nuances of labor legislation in the country.

There are two main reasons for companies hiring foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company product or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who would exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with a unique expertise, often related to IT sphere that cannot be found in the home country or that costs less compared to local specialist with similar skills.

After you have found the right candidate, the question is how to hire and provide compensation to this person so you as a business remain 100% compliant when working with global workforce. Another thing to consider is whether you want to keep the talent long-term and how you can do that.

If you need to hire foreign workforce in Colombia so you can expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may be of help. We help you legally hire and reward your foreign workforce by making them employees via a global employment outsourcing service. This is simple as employ your in-house workforce with the only difference that workers can live anywhere in the world and Acumen International would be their legal employer on your behalf. This means we would bear all employment risks, not you. Also, we manage bonuses, vacations, sick leave and can rent the office and a car for your foreign sales representatives if that is what you need.

With our solution, you can test new foreign markets before deciding whether you are going to get established there. You gain flexibility and expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from the unattractive countries.

We are experts in global workforce employment in Colombia, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Colombia.

See the guide below for a general overview of labor rules and regulations in Colombia. Or contact us if you need to employ workers in Colombia or would like to get more details.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Colombia Guide

# Employment Contracts

Contract of employment in Colombia may be temporary, open-ended or fixed-term. Temporary contracts are those contracts for temporary or casual jobs with a maximum duration of 30 days. Open-ended contracts usually do not have any strict end date. Open-ended and temporary contract of employment may be drawn up in writing or concluded verbally. For a written contract, an employer must ensure to include the explicit details about the parties’ names, ID numbers, addresses, work description, contract length, intended place of work, compensation package and terms of payment, and any other important clause agreed by the parties. Fixed-term contract which has a maximum limit of 3 years must be concluded in writing. Fixed-term contract can be renewed or extended indefinitely by the parties’ mutual consent.

# Minimum statutory employment rights

# Hours of work
The statutory working hours in Colombia are 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Employees can legally work night shifts between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am, but for a pay that is 35 percent above the base pay. Employees are entitled to a rest day – Sunday – each workweek.

# Probation period
An employer may put his newly employed on probation at the start of an employment for an agreed duration to assess his capability to perform the job. The maximum duration an employee may be placed on probation must not be more than 2 months for open-ended contract, and 20 percent of the agreed contract duration for less than one year contracts. Probation period does not apply to employees with renewed contract.

# Annual leave
Employees are eligible to 15 days of paid leave per annum after they have worked for a full year.

# Parental leave
Every pregnant employee is entitled to 14 weeks of paid leave, which can begin two weeks prior to the anticipated date of birth. Of the 14 weeks of paid leave, the week prior to the anticipated date of birth is mandatory. In the case of multiple pregnancies, pregnant employees are entitled to 16 weeks of paid leave.
Maternity pay is equivalent to the employee’s salary during the leave. The pay during the leave is paid by the employer to the employee, but the Social Security System will reimburse such amount to the employer provided that the employee has been enrolled during the time of the pregnancy. Employees are eligible to receive maternity benefit if they have duly made contributions to the Social Security. Employees are entitled to a 30-minute breastfeeding break twice each day throughout her breastfeeding period. An employee cannot be terminated during the period of pregnancy or breastfeeding, and must be compensated with an equivalent of 60 days’ pay if dismissed within the first 3 months of giving birth.
Working fathers have the right to take 8 days of paternity leave for the arrival of their new babies. Employees are eligible for paternity benefit if they have contributed to the Social Security for 600 days (100 weeks) before the time they want to take the leave.

Working fathers have the right to take 8 days of paternity leave for the arrival of their new babies. Employees are eligible for paternity benefit if they have contributed to the Social Security for 600 days (100 weeks) before the time they want to take the leave.

# Sick leave
Employers are obligated to grant their sick employees sick leave upon providing a sick note for a period not exceeding 180 days, which can be extended once for an additional 360 days. Sick employees are entitled to 66.67% of their normal pay from the employers during the first 2 days of sick absence and 66.67% of their normal pay from the Social Security for the remaining sick period. After the first 90 days of leave the sick pay is equivalent to 50 per cent of the employee’s salary. Employees whose illness is occupational related are entitled to 100% of their salary during their sick absence.

# Overtime
Employees may be allowed to work more than the fixed statutory hours, provided the excess hours do not exceed 2 hours per day or 12 hours per week. Employees are entitled to receive a 25 percent premium pay for every overtime they work during the day and 75 percent premium pay for every extra hour spent during night shift. Works performed on a rest day or holiday must be compensated for at a 200 percent premium pay.

# State minimum salary
As at 1st of Jan. 2018, the minimum salary for employees in Colombia is 781,242 pesos a month. In addition to that, workers who earn as much as double the state minimum salary and civil service employees are entitled to monthly allowance for transport.

# Employment termination
An employer may terminate an employee’s indefinite-term contract of employment on just cause with no fewer than 15 days prior notice.
Employees whose indefinite-term contracts are terminated with no just cause and whose salaries are 10 times below the statutory minimum pay are entitled to receive a compensation payment from their employers as follows:

  • 30 days’ salary if they have served for less than 12 months period;
  • 30 days’ salary and additional 20 days’ salary for each completed year of service to the company if they have served for more than 12 months.

Employees whose contracts are terminated with no just cause and whose salaries are 10 times above the statutory minimum pay are entitled to:

  • 20 days’ salary if they have served for less than 12 months period;
  • 20 days’ salary and additional 15 days’ salary for each completed year of service to the company if he has served for more than 12 months.

In fixed-term agreements, the employer must give notice of its decision of not renewing the agreement within at least 30 days prior to the expiration date of the term.
In contracts whose terms are defined by the time it takes to complete the work, severance will be equal to the salaries corresponding to the time remaining until the completion of the duty or the hired work; however, severance may not be less than 15 days of salary.

Acumen International can help you fast-track your possibilities of entering and expanding your business in Colombia by providing you with our Employer of Record services. Our unique mix of PEO/EOR solutions will enable you to jumpstart your global operations almost immediately, cost-effectively and compliantly without any need to set up a legal entity first or afterwards.

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