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Overview of Colombia

Columbia is located in the northwestern corner of South America. It has coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Ocean. The capital city is Bogota and it is the third highest capital in the world. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and one third of the country is covered by the Amazon rainforest. It is the 25th largest country on Earth. It has a population of 49.65 million. It is mandatory for radio and public television in Colombia to play the national anthem every day at 6 am and 6 pm. Columbia is the third largest exporter of coffee in the World after Brazil and Vietnam. Columbia is also the world’s leading souce of emerals. The official language is Spanish.

Columbians take pride in being put together and well polished. When meeting with them, one should dress well to make a good impression. In Columbia, business is personal. People want to get to know you when doing business with you. Face-to-face meetings are neccessary for continued communication. Networking and sozialising is a big part of Columbian business culture. When at a meeting, do not rush into the business part of it. Small talk and getting to know one another is very important.

Currency of Colombia

  • Colombian Peso

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of Colombia

Colombia’s healthcare system is made up of the public social security sector and the private one. The General Social Security Health System has 2 plans – contributory and subsidised. Enrolment in the General Social security Health System is compulsory. The public plan is called EPS (Entidades Promotoras de Salud). As an employee, one is automatically registered in this system. This system covers medical, dental, and vision care service.

Private healthcare is available, but one must be registered in EPS to be able to have access to private healthcare.

Employer cost of Colombia

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Colombia is a plus of 21.00% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of Colombia

Employees are paid with either biweekly or monthly.

Employees receive a 13th salary. Most employers pay the 13th salary in two installments, one before June 30th and the other before December 18th.

Public Holidays in Colombia

Colombia has the second-most public holidays in the world with 19.

  • January 1st – New Year’s Day
  • January 6th – Epiphany
  • March 19th – Día de San José
  • moveable – Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday
  • May 1st – Labour Day
  • 39 days after Easter Sunday – Ascension Day
  • 60 days after Easter Sunday – Corpus Christi
  • 68 days after Easter Sunday – Sacred Heart
  • June 29th – Saint Peter and Saint Paul
  • July 3rd – Cali Declaration of Independence
  • July 20th – Declaration of Independence
  • August 7th – Battle of Boyacá
  • August 15th – Assumption of Mary
  • October 12th – Columbus Day
  • November 1st – All Saints Day
  • November 11th – Independence of Cartagena
  • December 8th – Immaculate Conception
  • December 25th – Christmas

Working Hours in Colombia

Office hours are from 8:0am till 12am and from 1pm till 5pm. to 7:00pm, Monday to Friday and some Saturdays.

A regular work week is 48 hours.

Overtime during the day is paid at a rate of 125% of the ordinary hourly rate.

Vacation in Colombia

Employees are entitled to 15 days of paid vacation.

Sick Leave in Colombia

When an employee gets sick in Colombia, it is necessary to obtain a medical certificate from a Colombian Social Security entity in order to receive pay during the sick days. During the first 2 days, an employee receives 2/3rds of their salary directly from their employer. From the third day and up until 180 days, employees will receive the same amount from their social security system.

Termination/Severance in Colombia

An employee in Colombia can be terminated with or without just cause or by mutual consent between both parties. Just cause is defined in Article 7, Decree 2351 of 1965 (for example insubordination, providing false infromation with the purpose of obtaining an improper advantage, breach of confiditality etc). The notice period for just termination is 15 days.

If the employer decided to terminate the contract without just cause, there is no notice period. A severance payment must be paid. This is calculated based on how long the employee was employed and what his wage was.