Littler Global Guide - Colombia - Q1 2017

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

View all Q1 2017 Global Guide Quarterly updates

Maternity Leave Extension

Enacted Legislation

New Law 1822, approved by the Colombian Congress and effective since January 4, 2017, intends to enhance the early childhood care. As a protection measure, this Law extended the Maternity Leave to 18 weeks, modifying the article 236 of Colombian Labor Law which established the leave for only 14 weeks. It applies to mothers who give birth on January 4 or after. Employers must recognize the leave one week before the birth date or two weeks in advance when there is medical order. Father can join the maternity leave if the mother of the child dies or whenever the mother suffers a serious disease.

Breastfeeding Rooms

Enacted Legislation

Law 1823, approved by the Colombian Congress on January 4, 2017, introduced a new obligation to create breastfeeding rooms inside workplace, which provide mothers with the opportunity to correctly extract and conserve their milk during working hours. The rooms do not need to be a place for feeding the employee´s child. This law applies to some employers, depending on its capital and on the number of female workers. The Health Ministry will soon regulate the technical requirements of these rooms.

Paternity Benefits and Protection from Dismissal

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On January 18, 2017, the Constitutional Court decided to extent labor stability protection to fathers whose spouse or life partner is pregnant or during breastfeeding period. The labor protection applies when his partner is registered as his beneficiary for health insurance (Mandatory Health Insurance – EPS in Spanish), which implies that she is not employed and in consequence, that is not individually affiliated and contributing to health insurance. As happens with maternity immunity, the employer cannot dismiss the worker during pregnancy and breastfeeding period. Constitutional Court, Decision number C 005 – 2017.

Constitutional Court Clarifies Prohibition Related with Alcohol and Narcotics Effects During Working Hours

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On November 17, 2016, the Constitutional Court conditioned the interpretation of article 60-2 of Colombian Labor Law which prohibits to employees to be under alcohol or narcotics effects during working hours. The Court established that this situation may configure a serious misconduct whenever the alcohol or narcotics directly affects the performance of the employee and his labor activity. In that sense, employers shall previously evaluate each case in order to identify the possible affection or danger. Our suggestion is to include this prohibition to each job description relating the possible affection. Constitutional Court, Decision number C 636 – 2016.

Workers’ Rights


The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Colombia is falling short of its commitments under a bilateral trade agreement by failing to protect workers’ rights and vigorously enforce its labor laws.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.