How to Hire Employees in Colombia: A Complete Guide for Overseas Employers

With one of the fastest-growing economies in South America, Colombia is home to many skilled workers who may fit your company’s need for remote talent. Colombia is also popular with expats, who may be available to fill specialized roles.

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With one of the fastest-growing economies in South America, Colombia is home to many skilled workers who may fit your company’s need for remote talent.  Although the educational system is sound, English is not as widely spoken as it is in Europe for example, so that has to be taken into consideration when recruiting for some positions.

Colombia is also popular with expats, who may be available to fill specialized roles, and could help bridge any language barriers if they have lived in the country long term. 

Every country has its own work culture, customs and labor regulations that will affect the success of hiring abroad, and Colombia is no different.  This guide will give you the essential items for hiring either residents or expats in Colombia.

What you need to know before hiring in Colombia

Before you take the step of recruiting and hiring Colombian or expat employees, you will want a full understanding of the specifics of Colombian employment and labor laws.  This will allow you to select the best hiring method, and to remain in compliance throughout the employment relationship.

Employment in Colombia

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are only required for fixed-term employment, but contracts are recommended for every hire, and must conform to Colombian laws and be drafted in Spanish.  Fixed-term contracts cannot be longer than three years initially, but they can be extended.

Labor Laws

There is an array of labor laws in Colombia designed to protect employee rights and provide entitlements, which include:

  • Paid annual leave (15 days), maternity leave (18 weeks) and paternity leave (8 days)
  • Indefinite paid sick leave (with certification) but employers can get reimbursed by social security after the third day
  • 30-day notice requirement for termination
  • Severance pay of one month’s salary for each year of service
  • There are mandatory labor harassment and data privacy policies
  • Non-competition and non-solicitation clauses are unenforceable

Even if some of these rules are more employee-friendly than in your home country, Colombia’s laws will apply to local workers regardless of the location of the employer...read more

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Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd

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