Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

The Political Constitution of Colombia provides for equal opportunities for minimum wage. Labour Code also provides for minimum wage. In accordance with the Labour Code, minimum wage is the minimum remuneration that all workers are entitled to receive to ensure them and their families a decent quality of life in the material, moral and cultural level.

The monthly minimum wage is set by the Permanent Commission on the Harmonization of Wage and Labour Policies. If the Commission cannot reach a consensus by December 30 of each year, the national government fixes the monthly minimum wage through a decree.  The legislation provides that minimum wage can also be determined by collective agreement provided that it cannot be lower than legal minimum wage.

Minimum wage rate is adjusted to ensure decent quality of life for the worker and his/her family in the material, moral and cultural level. Other factors that are taken into account while determining the minimum wage include the cost of living of each region, contribution of wages to the GDP, economic capacity of the undertakings and employers, the inflation rate, and the conditions of each region and activity.

Minimum wage rate is applicable to all without any discrimination on the basis of occupation, or sector or religion. It is adjusted on yearly basis.

Source: §53 of the Constitution of Colombia 1991; §1, 4, & 145-148 of the Labour Code 1961, amended in 2013; §8 of the Law No. 278 of the Permanent Commission on the Harmonization of Wage and Labour Policies 1996

Regular Pay

In accordance with the Labour Code, wage does not only mean the ordinary remuneration, but all that the worker receives in cash or in kind as a direct compensation for the service rendered.

Article 134 of the Labour Code requires that wage period must not be greater than a week for daily workers and that the monthly workers must be paid once in a month. Wages must be paid in legal tender at the workplace during working hours or immediately after work. Wages are paid directly to the worker or to a person authorized (in writing) by the worker.

Payment of wages in kind, wholly or partially, is permitted as a part of the remuneration and it may consist of food, accommodation or garments to the worker or his/her family. The employment contract expressly provides these allowances however; these may not exceed 30% of the minimum wage.

The employer is not allowed to deduct, withhold or offset any amount of salary without worker's consent. The employer is authorised to deduct wages for discounts, union dues, legally authorized savings cooperatives, contribution to compulsory social security, and disciplinary sanctions imposed pursuant to approved Regulation. The employer and employee may agree in writing to grant loans, advances, deductions, withholding of wages or compensation, indicating the deadline for the gradual repayment of debt.

According to the Labour Code, failure in compliance with labour legislation is a criminal offence and leads to fines of between one and one hundred times the current minimum wage rate depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Source: §134-140 & 149-153 of the Labour Code 1961, amended in 2013

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Código del Trabajo, 1951, modificado en 2011 / Labour Code (Codigo del Trabajo), 1950, amended in 2011
  • Ley N º 278 de la Comisión Permanente sobre la Armonización de Políticas Salariales y Laborales, 1996 / Law No. 278,The Permanent Commission on the Harmonization of Wage and Labour Policies, 1996