Colombia: Reduction of the Maximum Working Time from 48 to 42 Hours Per Week
Through Law 2101 of 2021, the Colombian Congress has gradually reduced the maximum working time in the country, without affecting or changing the salary of employees in the private sector.
In order to reduce the maximum working time (MWT) of employees in the private sector, Law 2101 of 2021 modified article 162 of the Colombian Labour Code. The measure will take effect gradually, as follows:
- Current maximum working time – 48 hours per week, 8 hours per day
- Maximum working time as of July 2023 – 47 hours per week
- Maximum working time as of July 2024 – 46 hours per week
- Maximum working time as of July 2025 – 44 hours per week
- Maximum working time as of July 2026 – 42 hours per week
The reduction of the MWT shall not affect present salaries, wages per hour, social benefits, or other employer’s obligations.
Once the 42-hour MWT is in place (2026 or sooner if the new MMW is adopted), the employer will be exempted from the recognition of the specific purposes’ hours (art. 21 Law 50/1990) and the family day (art. 3 Law 1857/2017). During the transition period and gradual implementation of the 42-hour MWT, those obligations could be proportionally adjusted by agreement between the employer and the employee.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Even though the reduction of the maximum working time (MWT) to 42 hours per week will be mandatory as of July 2026, it is important to analyse the effects of this measure according to each employer’s needs and working structures, to determine whether an anticipated application is suitable and to what extent.