The Colombian government passed a law (No. 2114/2021) introducing the following changes:
- Extension of government-paid paternity leave from eight working days to 15 working days (three weeks)
- Introduction of a government-paid shared parental leave of six weeks
The law, which is aiming to promote gender equality, entered into effect on 29 July 2021.
Paternity leave, shared parental leave and flexible leave arrangements apply to birth parents as well as adoptive parents, regardless of whether the child is born prematurely or on their due date. The changes apply to private and public sector employees.
Paternity leave increased from eight working days to 15 working days. Paternity leave will then be gradually extended an additional five weeks for a total of eight weeks of paternity leave in the next five years or so. The Colombian government is planning to increase paternity leave by one week per year for five years, subject to a yearly decrease of the unemployment rate by 1%. Therefore, for every 1% decrease in unemployment, male employees will be allowed to have an additional week of paternity leave, subject to an increase of five weeks in five years.
Shared parental leave
Female employees remain entitled to 18 weeks of government-funded maternity leave (20 weeks for multiple births). However, the last six weeks of a female employee’s maternity leave may now be shared with an agreement between the mother and the father (breastfeeding breaks are not affected). The weeks of shared maternity leave remain funded by the government.
The law also states that employees must provide their employers with a signed agreement explaining the agreed distribution of the shared weeks between the father and the mother of the newborn child. Shared parental leave should be taken in one single block and may not be taken simultaneously by both parents. Male or female employees who have been convicted of domestic violence (in the last five years) or other family-related crimes (in the last two years) will not be allowed to take the shared parental leave.
Flexible leave arrangements
The law allows both male and female employees to extend part of their family leave by opting for part-time and/or remote work arrangements with the agreement of their employer. The part-time leave will be paid by the government while the part-time work shall be paid by the employer. Male employees may claim this option in the second week of paternity leave and female employees starting from the 13th week of their maternity leave. Employers must respond within five days of such a request.
This article was written in collaboration with our Colombian Global Partner: