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In brief

The Government recently enacted Law 2101 of 2021 (“Law“) which came into force on 15 July 2021 and aims to reduce the working week from 48 to 42 hours in a gradual manner (from 2023 to 2026).

Highlights of the Law

Among others, the Law:

  • Amends Article 161 of the Substantive Labour code: The maximum legal ordinary working week will now be 42 hours a week, which can be distributed over 5 or 6 days a week.
  • It establishes that the implementation may be gradual, as follows: 
DateMaximum weekly work
2023 (July 15)47 hours
2024 (July 15)46 hours
2025 (July 15)44 hours
2026 (July 15)42 hours
  • It means that the new limit on weekly working hours will have the following exceptions:
    • Maximum working hours for adolescents: (i) 15 – 17 years: 6 hours in daytime (until 6 pm), for a maximum of 36 hours per week; (ii) over 17: maximum working day of 8 hours per day and 40 per week, until 8 pm; 
    • The 6×36 working day; and
    • The special 56-hour working week.
  • Establishes that the reduction in working hours may not entail a reduction in salaries, social benefits, the value of the working hour, or the employer’s other obligations. 
  • Provides that the new maximum working week shall be understood as modified in all articles that refer to the 48-hour working week. 
  • Changes the daily working hours limit for flexible working hours. It will now be 9 hours a day instead of 10. 
  • It states that during the time of gradual implementation, the working day devoted to recreational, cultural, etc. or training activities will be adjusted proportionally by mutual agreement, as well as the Family Semi-Annual Working Day. When the maximum of 42 hours is reached, the employer may be exempted from these obligations.

Tatiana Garces Carvajal is a lawyer and a specialist in Labor Law, graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, with post-graduate studies in Commercial Law from Universidad de los Andes. She has over 30 years of experience advising major clients on matters related to individual and collective Labor Law. For three years, she worked at Alcalis de Colombia, occupying the positions of Director in charge of the HR Department, head of the Legal Division of the Betania Plant, and as a Lawyer in the Legal Department. Previously, she worked as Head of the Personnel Department at AGA Ltda., and as a paralegal at the law firm Esguerra, Gamba, Barrera y Arriaga Asociados. In addition to her experience as professor, lecturer, author of several publications and arbitrator in labor collective disputes, she served as technical adviser to the employers’ delegate for Colombia at the 98th Session of the International Labor Organization in Geneva (2015). She also participated at the 93rd Conference (2009). Currently, Tatiana is a member of the Javeriana University Law School Council representing graduates from Universidad Javeriana. She joined Baker McKenzie Bogotá office in 1992 as an Associate in the Labor Law department and was appointed partner on July 1st, 2000. In 2017 she was appointed as Managing Partner for Baker McKenzie Bogotá office, which made her the first woman in Colombia to hold this position in a law firm. In addition to this position, she led the Employment and Compensation group in Latin America, until June of 2021. In the exercise of these functions, Tatiana was part of the Steering Committee of the Global Employment and Compensation Group, as well as of the Global Policy Committee of Baker McKenzie. Currently, she is part of the Employment and Compensation Steering Committee for Latin America, leads the Bogotá Employment & Compensation practice and as a member at large is part of the Global Employment & Compensation Steering Committee of Baker McKenzie.


Evelyn Romero-Ávila joined Baker McKenzie Colombia in 2000 as a associate in the labor department. She was named local partner in 2009. Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Romero was an associate for an important local law firm and a legal assistant for Science Applications International Corporation. She has also written numerous articles on Colombian labor law for Legal Review Latin America.

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