Government of Colombia presents labor reform to Congress, seeks to improve conditions for workers

Government of Colombia presents labor reform to Congress, seeks to improve conditions for workers

The Government of Colombia will file a labor reform project in Congress on Thursday to increase benefits for workers, guaranteeing stability, reducing the weekly working day and raising compensation for dismissals, but which, according to businessmen, would increase costs and discourage job creation.

The project is part of the initiatives of the leftist president Gustavo Petro to combat poverty and inequality in the country of 50 million inhabitants, along with a controversial reform to the health system that is being processed in Congress and another to pensions that will be presented next week.

Up to now Petro has a majority in Congress with a coalition of parties from the left, the center and even the right that would guarantee the approval of the initiatives, despite the fact that within the Government and the legislature critical voices arose to reforms such as that of health, which led to the removal of a minister.

“We bring the human being, the worker and worker, to the center so that their rights are respected and their working hours valued and paid fairly,” said the Minister of Labor, Gloria Inés Ramírez, before filing the project, questioned by employers with the argument that higher labor costs will reduce job creation.

“It is much more oriented towards improving the conditions of those who have jobs today, but it forgets about the unemployed, about the opportunity to access work and about the possibilities that informal workers can become formal at work, due to the high costs,” Jaime Alberto Cabal, president of the National Federation of Merchants, Fenalco, told reporters.

The initiative, which must be debated and approved by Congress and then subjected to legality control by the Constitutional Court, seeks to establish a working day of eight hours a day and 42 hours a week, in addition to guaranteeing at least one day off weekly.

The current working day in Colombia is 48 hours per week.

The project seeks to reduce the hours considered as daytime work to between six in the morning and six in the evening. Currently the daytime shift extends until 10 pm.

In no case may daytime or nighttime overtime work exceed two hours per day and 12 per week, while work on Sundays or holidays will be remunerated with a surcharge of 100% of the ordinary salary.

The bill also seeks to regulate work on digital delivery platforms such as Rappi, forcing companies to enroll employees in the part-time health and pension system.

If platform workers are self-employed, the contracting company must verify that they are affiliated with social security and that they comply with their obligations to make contributions or otherwise, they must directly assume 100% of the payments.

The initiative also seeks to guarantee equal working conditions for migrants and force sports clubs to sign contracts with social security coverage with national and foreign athletes.

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Written by Editor TLN

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