Colombia: Expectations on employment and compensation matters

Government of Gustavo Petro Urrego

In brief

On 7 August 2022, Gustavo Petro Urrego became the new President of the Republic of Colombia for the period 2022-2026, along with the Vice-President, Francia Márquez. Both are members of the political party Pacto Histórico, which is known for promoting center-left social, political and economic initiatives.


The governance plan of the President evidences that employment, compensation and social security matters will be part of the focal points of his office. Based on this governance plan, and the different public speeches and publications made by both the President and the Vice-President, we anticipate:

  1. An increase on some labor costs, which were diminished by Law 50, 1990, related to the percentages applicable to surcharges for overtime work and work performed at night, on Sundays and Holidays. Also, an increase in the amount payable as statutory severance for termination of employment without cause
  2. A structural reform to the pension social security subsystem
  3. The implementation of public policies aimed to reduce employment informality and to advance employment for young citizens
  4. Limitations to staffing and outsourcing schemes and a focus on the correct implementation of supply chains
  5. Audit compliance of health and safety regulations by employers
  6. Advocate for unionization in different economic sectors, and establish collective negotiations per industry
  7. Limitations to implement collective agreements with no unionized employees

The President appointed Gloria Inés Ramírez as Minister of Labor, who is a union leader who has held different important positions in our country, such as: President of the Colombian Educators Federation (FECODE - for its acronym in Spanish) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Colombian United Workers Head Office (CUT - for its acronym in Spanish). The new Minister is also a leader in defending women's rights and gender equality.

We anticipate that this Ministry will strengthen its powers of inspection, surveillance and control over employers and will focus on the management of supply chain; implementation of outsourcing and staffing schemes; and unionization. We believe it is very likely that this Minister will include a new focus on the audits related to equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Likewise, we anticipate an adjustment to the amounts of the fines imposed to employers upon verification of non-compliance situations.

We also predict that other authorities such as the Payroll and Social Security Tax Authority (UGPP) will also strengthen their surveillance and control powers and, thus, we expect a greater number of audits to companies during the coming years. It is clear that the government needs to improve its finance and we envisage it will do so through audits.

It is crucial that companies take prompt action to implement a legal revision plan on employment matters, through the implementation of internal audits focused on outsourcing and staffing schemes; payroll settlement; structure of compensation packages; existence and implementation of policies and corporate documents that serve as evidence in an eventual audit; implementation of corporate measures on equity, inclusion and diversity in the workplace; and the maturity of the labor relationships with unions and other representatives of employees. In general, it is essential for employers to be prepared for an eventual visit from the Ministry of Labor or any other authority, making sure that they meet compliance requirements and, most importantly, that they have all the documentation needed to demonstrate it.

Click here to download the Spanish version.

Copyright © 2024 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion: All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites. Attorney Advertising: This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction: Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.