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Colombia – Employer of Record

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Country Introduction – Colombia

Capital – Bogota
Currency – Colombian Peso (COP)
Population – 50.88 Million
GDP – $273.1 Billion
Language – Spanish
Major Religions – Christianity

Colombia is the most populous nation of Spanish-speaking South America. More than one-third of its inhabitants live in the six largest metropolitan areas, of which Bogotá is the largest. The nation’s political instability has been historically tied to the unequal distribution of wealth and the drugs trade (mainly cocaine) which remains a major disruptive factor in Colombian life.

Colombia is home to the Cano Cristales – the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow.” Located in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta, the river’s bed changes color between yellow, green, blue, black, and especially red, beginning the end of July and through November.

Contract of Employment

Employment agreements do not be in writing unless they are fixed term contracts. It is a legal requirement for all fixed term or limited term contracts to be placed in writing and agreed up on. It is recommended to have all agreements in writing in local language specifying the terms and conditions of employment.

Probation Period

Up to a maximum of 2 months.


Notice period in Colombia for indefinite contracts is 30 days’ notice.

The notice to end employment must be made in writing and the relevant government authorities must also be notified. The employer must make payment within 10 calendar days of the employees last working day.

Working Hours

Monday to Friday – 48 hours per week


Overtime should be agreed in the employment agreement, the maximum number of hours allowed per week are 12 hours. For employees working overtime during the day, over time is paid at 1.25x the salary rate.

For night workers (9pm to 6am) the overtime rate is 1.75x the day rate salary.

Overtime on Sunday or Holidays is paid at 1.75x the salary rate. For overtime worked on Sundays or on Holidays the employee will also be compensated by the employer with a paid day off.

Annual Leave

Minimum of 15 days of annual leave after the completion of a year of service.

Sick leave

The first 2 days of sickness are paid by the employer at 2/3 of the regular salary rate. From day 3 to day 180 the employer will pay the employee at 2/3 of the regular salary and then reclaim from the Social Security.

Medical authorisation must be obtained from the Social Security for the employee to be paid for the sick leave.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 18 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. The employer will pay and then reclaim in full from Social Security (EPS).

Male employees are entitled to 8 days of full paid paternity leave. The employer will pay the the employee and then claim in full from Social Security (EPS).


19% VAT

Income Tax

Income tax in Colombia is calculated based on tax units, referred to as UVT (Unidad de Valor Tributatrio). 1 UVT = 38,004 COP and the applicable rates are stated below:

0 – 1,090 UVT:  0%
1,091 – 1,700 UVT:  19%
1,701 – 4,100 UVT:  28%
4,101 – 8,670 UVT:  33%
8,671 – 18,970 UVT:  35%
18,971 – 31,000 UVT:  37%
31,001+ UVT:  39%

Employer/Employee Contributions


Employer contribution is between 20.52% and 26.96%.

Pension fund –  12%
Medical insurance –  8%
Occupational risks –  0.52% – 6.96%

The employer contribution can increase depending on if the employee is earning more than 10 minimum wage monthly salaries. The following are the contributions that would fall on the employer in such cases.

Family compensation funds –  4%
ICBF –  3%
SENA –  2%


The total employee payroll contributions are 8%.

Pension fund –  4%
Medical insurance –  4%

13th Month Salary

A 13th month salary is mandated by Colombian law. The employer must pay the first half of the 13th month salary within the first 15 days of June, the second half must be paid within the first 20 days of December.

Public Holidays

There are 18 paid public holidays in Colombia

Severance Pay

Severance pay is determined by the employees length of service and earnings.

For employees earning less than 10 minimum legal salaries (COP 9,085,260), the severance compensation is 1 month of salary for the first year of service and 20 days of salary for each additional year of service (or proportional to the fraction of the year).

For employees earning the equivalent of 10 minimum legal salaries or more, severance compensation is 20 days of salary for the first year of service and 15 days of salary for each additional year of service (or proportional to the fraction of the year).

For employees on fixed term contracts the severance compensation is equivalent to the remaining term of the fixed term contract.

Work and Residence Permits (Expatriates)

M-Visa is the most common visa obtained by foreigners working in Colombia. To obtain the visa the employee must have a job offer letter from a local employer. Upon entering Colombia the employee must visit, in person, the Ministry of External Relations (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores). The M-visa will be issued for 5 years. Once the visa has been issued, within 15 days the employee must obtain a Foreigners Identity Card.

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