Colombian workers will go from working 48 hours a week, as is currently the case, to only 42 hours around the next three years, adjustment that will begin from mid-2023, when that reduction is one hour, that is, they will no longer work 48 hours a week but 47.

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Said adjustment in the working day of formal workers in the country refers to article 161 of the Substantive Labor Code, which was modified, and indicates that this change in the intensity of work hours in the country begins to apply as of July 2023 and would extend until the same month of 2026, allowing workers in Colombia to only work 42 hours a week from that year.

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Despite these modifications to the standard, users and companies that want to adopt all of the provisions of the Law 2101 of 2021, «which aims to gradually reduce the weekly working day, without lowering the salary or affecting the acquired rights and guarantees of the workers», and modifying the hours of its workers, may do so without any type of restriction.

The regulation states that: “After two (2) years have elapsed from the entry into force of the law, one (1) hour of the weekly working day will be reduced, remaining at 47 weekly hours… After three (3) years from the entry into force of the law, another hour of the weekly working day will be reduced, remaining at 46 weekly hours. Starting in the fourth year, two (2) hours will be reduced each year until reaching forty-two (42) hours per week.”

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Oecde) Colombia is in first place among the countries where more work is done with a total of 2,172 hours per year. This figure exceeds its Latin American peers such as Mexico (2,124), Costa Rica (1,913) and Chile (1,825). To make a comparison, those countries where fewer hours are worked per year are Denmark and Germany with 1,346 and 1,332 hours, respectively.

With these new provisions, it is sought that Colombia is at the level of countries like Israel where 42 hours a week is worked, although it would still be far from equaling the hours of work in countries like Belgium (38) and France (35 hours).

One of the many challenges that this regulation will have for companies is the rearrangement of staff schedules and all that this implies. In this area, it is important to consider issues such as an effective attendance control system that is in line with the gradual change of the reform.

Economy and business
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