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In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many circulars and decrees issued by the national government, in order to adequately regulate a situation for which we were not prepared; without being oblivious to this, the Ministry of Labor has issued several recommendations to protect the work of Colombians and prevent a rise in unemployment rates in the country, below, we will tell you the 6 labor solutions provided by the Ministry of Labor:

  1. Compensable paid leave:

    This option allows workers and employers to reach an agreement on a period in which workers will not work, but will continue to receive their salary with the commitment to compensate such time in the future; this is usually the case when workers work overtime to “pay” for the day off of a holiday, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day or Easter.

  2. Modification of the working day and salary agreement:

    Given the evident slowdown of the economy in many sectors, for some companies, it is completely feasible to reduce working hours and reach an agreement on the corresponding monetary compensation, generating a decrease in the company’s payroll. Please note that under no circumstances may it be less than the legal minimum wage.

  3. Modification or suspension of extralegal benefits:

    These types of benefits are provided at the mere discretion of the employer, since they are not mandatory, nor are they required by law. None of these benefits are intended to remunerate the work, as they are not in the nature of a payment, since they do not imply a direct consideration for a service rendered, for this reason, it is completely feasible to suspend or renegotiate them, achieving a relief in the company’s expenses.

  4. Vacation, caused, anticipated or collective:

    The use of vacations, either in advance, caused or collective, has been one of the most used measures, due to the need to close office facilities and operation centers, it is worth remembering that to notify this period it is sufficient to do so one day in advance.

  5. Telework / Work from home:

    While it is possible, teleworking is the winning option, without interrupting the productive processes and keeping the whole organization safe; it is recommended to establish communication protocols with the workers and, very important, to implement information security controls.
    information security controls
    of your company.

  6. Exempt industries:

    s the days go by and we go through the stages of the pandemic one by one, the government has reopened certain industries that will be able to reactivate their operations, as long as they comply with the necessary biosecurity protocols to guarantee the safety of workers and customers.

It is very important to emphasize that COVID-19, per se, is not classified as a force majeure or an act of God, so suspending contracts under Article 51, paragraph 1 of the substantive labor code, may be a risky decision and much more detrimental to your company; however, unpaid leave could become a solution as long as the proposal is made freely and voluntarily.
freely and voluntarily
The Ministry has deployed numerous investigations for alleged irregular cases.
Finally, it is recommended that each of these options be analyzed and that it be taken into account that they can be used at the same time, according to the specific conditions of each case, for which the permanent accompaniment and approval of the legal advisor will be necessary.

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