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Colombia: working week lowered from 48 to 42 hours

Through . Published on 23 June 2021 à 14h17 - Update on 23 June 2021 à 13h13

On 17 June, Colombia’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favour (117 for and 8 against) of a bill ratifying a reduction in working hours. Tabled in October 2019 in the Senate by former president Alvaro Uribe, the bill met with government opposition (c.f. article No. 12276) although both are from the same political wing. A compromise was then secured between the Senate text that had sought a 40-hour working week and the government’s position. The law will be implemented in stages. From 48 legal hours in 2021, working hours will be reduced to 47 in 2023, 46 in 2024, 44 in 2025 and finally 42 in 2026. This gradual reduction will not result in a reduction in salary and companies will be free to apply the law more quickly for their employees. Weekly working hours can be completed over 5 or 6 days, depending on the agreement between the employer and the employee. Colombian employers have been resolutely opposed to the move and have tried to warn of the costs of this reform estimated at some $14 billion dollars, which they argue would make them lose competitiveness. Employers’ associations say they also fear that both unemployment and informal work will increase. Colombia’s representatives in contrast are advocating for a measure that will bring the country closer to the ILO recommendation and lead to improved productivity. At 48 hours, Colombia has also been the OECD country with the longest weekly working hours.

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