Colombia has initiated a significant reduction in the workweek, a policy set to evolve from July 2023 through 2026. This strategic decision, encapsulated in Law 2101 of 2021, marks a transformative shift in Colombia’s approach to labor, aiming to balance work demands with personal life.
A Gradual Shift: Ensuring Economic Stability and Worker Well-being
The process of workday reduction in Colombia begins on July 15, 2023, with the workweek being reduced to 47 hours from the current 48 hours. This step is the first in a series of reductions, targeting a 42-hour workweek by 2026. The gradual nature of this policy is designed to allow Colombian businesses, especially MSMEs, to adjust their operations without compromising productivity and profitability.
While the workday reduction in Colombia is seen as a positive development for employees, it has raised concerns among micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. María Alejandra Osorio, from the Colombian Association of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, underscores the potential impact on labor productivity and competitiveness. She emphasizes the challenges MSMEs face, including competition with imported products and the necessity for technological adaptation to maintain efficiency with reduced labor hours.
Legal Provisions and Worker Safety: A Comprehensive Approach
The Colombian government, through the Ministry of Labor, is set to engage with unions to address challenges and ensure a smooth transition. The law also provides flexibility in work hours distribution and includes specific provisions for hazardous jobs and adolescent workers, prioritizing their safety and health.
While the concept of reduced work hours aligns with global trends, Colombia’s specific economic and technological context presents unique challenges. The potential for increased unemployment and economic strain are concerns that need careful consideration during this transition.