Leave Policy in Colombia

Shraddha Saxena
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Table of Content

In Colombia, understanding and managing employee leave policies is not just a legal requirement but also a strategic advantage for businesses looking to attract and retain top talent. With the Substantial Labor Code of 2011 providing clear guidelines on various types of leave, it’s essential for employers, including those hiring employees from Colombia or through an Employer of Record (EOR) in Colombia, to be well-versed in these regulations to ensure compliance and foster a supportive work environment.

Annual Leave (Vacation)

  • Under Colombia’s Substantial Labor Code of 2011, employees are entitled to a minimum of 15 days of paid annual leave after completing one year of service. This leave is in addition to any public holidays. 
  • An interesting aspect of this law is its adaptability for certain roles: employees exposed to health risks, such as those suffering from tuberculosis or working with X-rays, are granted 30 days of paid leave.
  • Employers must also compensate for any unused leave if an employee’s contract ends prematurely. This ensures that employees receive fair treatment, fostering loyalty and satisfaction within your team.

Public Holidays

Date Day Holiday
1 Jan 2024 Sunday New Year’s Day
8 Jan 2024 Monday Three Kings Day
25 Mar 2024 Monday St. Joseph’s Day
28 Mar 2024 Thursday Holy Thursday
29 Mar 2024 Friday Good Friday
1 May 2024 Wednesday Labor Day
13 May 2024 Monday Ascension Day
3 Jun 2024 Monday Corpus Christi
10 Jun 2024 Monday Sacred Heart
1 Jul 2024 Monday Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul
20 Jul 2024 Saturday Independence Day
7 Aug 2024 Wednesday Battle of Boyaca
19 Aug 2024 Monday Assumption Day
14 Oct 2024 Monday Columbus Day Celebration
4 Nov 2024 Monday All Saints’ Day
11 Nov 2024 Monday Independence of Cartagena
8 Dec 2024 Sunday Immaculate Conception
25 Dec 2024 Wednesday Christmas

Sick Days

The legislation provides clear guidelines for sick leave. Employees are entitled to paid sick leave, with the employer covering the first two days at full pay. 

From the third day onward, the social security system (EPS) steps in, paying 66.67% of the regular salary up to 180 days. This approach balances employer responsibility and social support, ensuring employees can recover without financial stress. 

Employers must facilitate this by obtaining proper medical authorization. 

Maternity Leave

  • In Colombia, employed pregnant or adoptive mothers are granted 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. This includes 1 week before childbirth and 17 weeks after. If medical reasons necessitate, the leave can be adjusted to 2 weeks before childbirth, extending to 18 weeks postpartum.
  • Shared parental leave allows parents to distribute the last 6 weeks of maternity leave between them as they see fit.
  • Flexible part-time parental leave offers the option to exchange a portion of the leave for part-time work, effectively doubling the duration of the chosen leave period.

Paternity Leave

Male employees receive 2 weeks of paid paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child. For every 1% decrease in the national unemployment rate, an additional week of paternity leave is granted, up to a maximum of 5 weeks. The methodology for calculating the unemployment rate is published annually in December by the Ministry of Finance, the Colombian Central Bank, and the National Planning Department.

Adoption Leave

Adoptive parents are granted six weeks of paid leave, ensuring they too can bond with their new family members. The law ensures that adoptive parents receive the same benefits as biological parents, emphasizing the importance of family unity regardless of biological ties. Employers are required to pay regular wages during this period. This inclusive approach to family leave demonstrates a commitment to supporting diverse family structures. 

Voting Leave and Carry Forward Leaves

Employees in Colombia are entitled to half a day of paid leave to vote in elections, emphasizing the importance of civic duty. Additionally, the law allows employees to carry forward unused leave, provided they take at least six days annually. This flexibility can be crucial for employees with varying personal needs and schedules. Leave can be accumulated for up to two years, or up to four years for specific roles, allowing for greater adaptability. 

Other Leaves

In the unfortunate event of the death of an immediate family member, employees are entitled to five days of bereavement leave. This policy underscores the importance of compassion in the workplace. Employees are also entitled to five days of leave for marriages, celebrating significant life milestones. Additionally, employees can request unpaid leave, subject to the employer's approval, allowing flexibility for various personal needs. These provisions reflect a humane approach to employment, fostering a supportive work environment.

Hassle-Free Leave Policy Management in Colombia with Gloroots

At Gloroots, we understand that managing leave policies can be daunting, especially when expanding your business and hiring across borders. Our platform ensures compliance with Colombian labor laws, provides clear tracking of leave balances, processes leave requests efficiently, and generates comprehensive leave reports. By partnering with Gloroots, you can focus on growing your business while we handle the complexities of employee leave management. Contact us to discover how Gloroots can transform your HR processes and enhance your business operations.

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