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Norton Rose Fulbright’s online guide to global employment law is now available

More and more organisations are growing their global footprint and need to move their people around the world. In this global environment, it is essential to know, understand and comply with employment and labour laws in place across all of the jurisdictions in which organisations engage people. This will help to protect business from unnecessary risk, whether legal, financial or reputational.

We have launched a new interactive online version of our Global employment law guide first published in 2015.

Featuring 28 jurisdictions, our interactive guide helps clients navigate the often disparate and diverse national employment and labour laws, in particular … Continue Reading

¿What rights does an employer have to suspend an employee?

In Colombia, Article 51 of the Labor Code states the causes for suspension of the labor contract, including among others, the faculty of the employer to suspend the employee(s) due to serious misconduct after conducting a disciplinary investigation. In this case, the law limits the sanction to eight (8) days of suspension of the activities for the first time and up to two (2) months when it happens again.

The suspension is one of the disciplinary measures contamplated in the law and the employer could suspend the employee for a different number of days as long as it respects the … Continue Reading

Key employment law developments expected during 2017

2017 has started with the issuance of important rulings from the Constitutional Court, regarding special protection of stability for: (i) employees close to retirement, and (ii) for the mates of women who are unemployed and expecting a child. Also, at the beginning of the year the Congress issued new provisions on maternity leave. Finally, we are expecting some amendments to the current working hours legal provisions.

In Colombia public employees are entitled to a special protection when they are close to retirement. These employees cannot be dismissed within three years before obtaining the pension. There is an expectation that the … Continue Reading

¿What rights do workers have to rest breaks?

Article 167 of the Labor Colombian Code, establishes that “working hours during a work day, must be distributed in two sections, with at least one break or intermediate period, that rationally suit the nature of the work and the employee’s needs. Such resting time is not part of the working day”.

In this sense, Colombian labor law divides the working day of all employees in two sections, depending on their particular conditions (such as: position, duties, working schedule, kind of work, among others), with the purpose to grant them a minimum rest period during their working hours. As a general … Continue Reading

What are the latest developments on whistleblowing in the workplace?

The legislation relating to whistleblowing in the workplace can involve claims for labor harassment, crimes in the work place, corruption, non – fulfilment of regulations relating to outsourcing, hiring of foreign employees, the Health Committee responsible for supervising health and safety matters, amongst others.


Article 23 of the National Constitution, Article 24 of the Administrative Code and Law 1755, 2015 regulate the right of petition in respect of a general or particular interest and the right to obtain prompt and complete resolution. In accordance with this legislation, everybody has the right to present inquiries, complaints and to whistle blow … Continue Reading

What measures are in place (or proposed) to address gender pay inequality in the workplace?

Efforts to reduce gender pay inequality have been rising all around the globe, without Colombia being an exception. The challenge of gender inclusiveness has to do with generational aspects that have brought cultural changes, including the evolution of women’s role in society.

Colombian government has implemented initiatives to improve working conditions. Such initiatives have generated conscience against discrimination associated with gender and increased the opportunities to find a position or to be promoted to higher ones.

In 2013, the government implemented a special program named National Program of Labor Equity with a Gender Differential Focus (Programa Nacional de Equidad Continue Reading

Is it possible for employers to change the terms of employment contracts?

One wonders until what point the ability of the employer to subordinate an employee gives him the faculty to unilaterally amend the employment conditions.

According to Colombian legislation, employers could change unilaterally the terms and conditions agreed with its employees based upon its subordination faculty. However, such change shall obey to reasonable situations that in any case may affect neither the dignity nor the honor of the employees.

Therefore, the employer could change the place, quantity, time and the way in which the work is performed, as long as the employer protects the dignity, interests, honor, security and minimum labor … Continue Reading

What protection do employees have against race discrimination?

According to Article 13 of the Colombian Political Constitution, each individual is born free and equal before the law. The same protection and treatment from the authorities is guaranteed. Every individual is entitled to the same rights, freedoms and opportunities without any discrimination on grounds of race among others.

Article 10 of the Colombian Labor Code, states that all employees are equal. From a labor perspective the Constitutionality Block, understood as -those rules and principles that without formally appearing in the National Constitution are used as a mechanism of control of the constitutional provisions- is essential when analyzing discriminatory conducts.… Continue Reading

What are the employment implications of the transfer of a business?

Colombian labor legislation provides automatic transfer of employees or “substitution of employer”, when three requirements are met (i) change from one employer to another, due to an agreement, sale, transfer or any other cause, (ii) the business continues, which means that the scope of the business developed by the former employer keeps all of its essential activities, and (iii) the continuation; the employees that were hired in connection with the development of the business keep on providing their personal services as agreed with seller.

Article 69 of the Colombian Labor Code provides as general rule that the former and … Continue Reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on grounds of gender?

The Colombian legislation guarantees the equality within the employment environment, regardless of the gender. However, due to the role of women in society and at home, the reality shows that discrimination still occurs in the companies.

There are several mechanisms to fight against the discrimination of gender.

For instance, women have the possibility of filing a protection action called “Acción de tutela” when being discriminated in order to protect the equality in the labor environment as a fundamental right.

Furthermore and considering that discrimination in an employment environment involves labor harassment according to Law 1010, 2006; women could also whistle … Continue Reading

Notice rights – what rights do employees have to notice on termination of employment?

The rights that the employees do have to notice on termination of employment will mostly depend on the termination motive.

According to Colombian labor legislation, employment agreements may terminate (i) without cause; (ii) with cause; (iii) due to the expiration of the term of duration; (iv) due to the termination of the task or job hired; and (v) by mutual consent.

Under all the above mentioned scenarios, employees that are being terminated are entitled to verify if their final liquidation has been properly calculated (social benefits, vacations, legal indemnity and other labor concepts to which they are entitled to … Continue Reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on the grounds of sexual orientation?

Traditionally the grounds of sexual orientation have become a condition to discriminate. In Colombia, legal provisions focus in the prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to Article 13 of the Colombian Political Constitution, each individual is born free and equal before the law, the same protection and treatment from the authorities is guaranteed. Every individual is entitled with the same rights, freedoms and opportunities without any discrimination on grounds of gender, race, nationality or family origin, among others. On the other hand, Article 10 of the Colombian Labor Code, states that … Continue Reading

Working time- Are there any restrictions on an employee´s working week?

According to Article 158 of the Colombian Labor Code, the working shift may be agreed by the employer and the employee. In absence of such agreement, the working shift will be the maximum determined by law.


The maximum working schedule is of eight daily hours and forty-eight (48) weekly hours. The daytime working shift goes from 6:00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Work done between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is considered night work and has a 35% surcharge.


The following employees are excluded from the daily working shift hours (i) executive, management or trust employees; and (ii) security … Continue Reading

What rights do employees have to a minimum wage?

Article 145 of the Labor Code, states the right that every employee has to receive a minimum wage that allows fulfilling personal and familiar needs. According to labor provisions in this regard, the following criteria shall be taken into account when determining the amount of the minimum wage: cost of living, working modalities, companies´ economic capacity, specific conditions of each region or economic activity, place of work and special circumstances of some employers that have to provide special benefits (feeding and housing aids) to their employees.

The Constitutional Court has pronounced in several opportunities, not only about the right to … Continue Reading

What protection do employees have against discrimination on grounds of age?

To begin with, employment discrimination on grounds of age is not a problem only for workers in a specific age group in Colombia. For instance, young people feel discriminated against because of their lack of experience when seeking jobs for the first time, and the elderly feel rejected and undervalued when they are interested in finding a new job, or even keeping their current one.

Colombia’s Constitution, laws and jurisprudence strictly protect the principle of equality, and penalize any kind of discrimination based on age. Furthermore, Article 53 of the Constitution establishes fundamental labour principles, providing equal opportunities for employees … Continue Reading

Obligations of the employers in Colombia regarding collective consultation on redundancy

In Colombia, companies are not obliged to request authorization from the unions to carry out downsizing processes.

However, it is advisable to review if the collective bargaining agreements entered into with the unions include any obligation in this regard.

According to Colombian labor law, redundancy, economic reasons and the fact that a role is no longer required by the employer will be construed as unilateral terminations without cause giving rise to the payment of a legal indemnity according to rules that depend on the type of labor contract and the length of service.

However, Article 67 of Law 50 of … Continue Reading

Religion and other beliefs: May not constitute an issue to discriminate an employee in Colombia

Traditionally religion and other beliefs have become a condition to discriminate.  In Colombia, legal provisions focus in the prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on demonstration of religion or belief in worship.

According to Article 19 of the Colombian Political Constitution, freedom of religion is guaranteed. Every individual has the right to freely profess his/her religion and to disseminate it individually or collectively. On the other hand, Article 10 of the Colombian Labor Code, states that all employees are equal.

On 2011, Colombian Congress issued Law 1482, which amends the Criminal Code in order to ensure the protection of … Continue Reading

Minimum salary increase in Venezuela

On November 17, 2014, the President of the Republic issued Decree Nº 1.431 (the Decree), through which he increased the minimum salary for public and private sector workers by 15%. Such became effective on December 1, 2014.

  • Minimum salary

The Decree fixed the following scales for workers’ minimum salaries, with effect on December 1, 2014, notwithstanding the number of workers rendering services for the employer:


From 12/1/2014

(Day shift)



Public and private sector workers

Bs. 4,889.11

Bs. 162.97

Adolescents / Apprentices

Bs. 3,635.95

Bs. 121.20

According to the provisions of article 7 of the Decree and in … Continue Reading

Employees’ right and obligations relating to the use of social media

This post was contributed by Yanet C. Aguiar, Partner, and Valentina Albarrán, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright Caracas.

Social media has become the new way of expression of everyone, from children to adults, now more than ever people share their lives. There is no question about each person’s right to share as much of their personal lives as they find appropriate, but that question remains as to whether or not people can share as much as their personal lives as they find appropriate from their work place, during working hours and using working tools.

There are no specific laws or regulations … Continue Reading

Amendment on the Nutrition Law

On November 13, 2014, the President issued a Decree with the Rank, Value and Force of Partial Amendment of the Nutrition Law for the Workers (“Nutrition Law”).

The most innovative aspects of the amendment of the Nutrition Law, are the following:

  • Value of the nutrition benefit

The Nutrition Law increased the basis for the calculation of the benefit, setting as lowest limit the equivalent of 0.5 Tax Unit (“TU”) and as top limit the equivalent of 0.75 TU per working day or shift (Currently it is Bs. 63.50 and Bs. 95.25). Previously, the value of this benefit could not be … Continue Reading

Protection from discrimination to disabled employees

Law 1618, 2013 guarantees the recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities, including affirmative actions to eliminate all forms of discrimination in accordance with 1346, 2009 Law.

This provision ensures the following: recognition of the rights of children with disabilities; accompanying families; the right to habilitation and rehabilitation; to health; to education; to social protection; to work; access and accessibility; transport; housing; culture; access to justice; among others.

On the other hand, whenever a person has suffered or is medically considered to be disabled, a reinforced legal protection will apply in accordance with International Law of Human Rights, and … Continue Reading

Are disabled employees under Venezuelan labour legislation protected from discrimination?

Yes, disabled employees are protected against discrimination in Venezuela pursuant to the Disable Person’s Law and the Organic Law on Prevention, Working Conditions, and the Work Environment. In fact, there is an express prohibition of discrimination by reason of incapacity.

The purpose of the Disabled Persons’ Law is to establish the rules according to which disabled persons will have the chance to lead normal lives within their surrounding society, their dignity and respect assured, with access to equal opportunities, protection and suitable employment conditions in accordance with their available faculties, social security, education, culture, sports, and economic rights, among others.… Continue Reading

Youth Employment Law

This post was contributed by Valentina Albarrán, Associate, Norton Rose Caracas.

Youth Employment Law On October 8th, 2014 a Youth Employment Law (the “Law”) was approved by the Venezuelan President under the Enabling Law granted to the Executive Power by the Venezuelan Parliament.

The Law has yet to be published in the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and, in consequence, the public has had no access to the information regarding the content of the law. The publication in the Official Gazette is a necessary procedure for the Law to be deemed enacted, according to article 215 of … Continue Reading

Flexible working – achieving a work life balance under Venezuelan labour legislation

This post was contributed by Yanet C. Aguiar, Partner, Norton Rose Caracas and Valentina Albarrán, Associate, Norton Rose Caracas.

In the modern age, work has become an increasingly important part of a person’s life. From the standpoint of western civilization, work is not only viewed as an activity people do in order to subsist, but as a true form of personal development.

From a very early age, children are taught to think about their future, questions such as; what do you want to be when you grow up, and school activities such as Career Day, send an … Continue Reading