With the passage of Law 1468 on 30 June 2011, the Colombian congress extended paid maternity leave from twelve to fourteen weeks, making it consistent with International Labour Organization (ILO) recommendations. The new law also grants eight days of paternity leave to the father.
In order to benefit from the new regulations, the pregnant woman must present a medical certificate which confirms her pregnancy and indicates the probable due date and the recommended date from which her leave should begin. In order to benefit from paternity leave, the father must present a birth certificate to the Health Promoting Entities (Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS)) within 30 days of the birth.
According to the law, the leave period should begin at least two weeks, and no less than one week, before the expected due date. The remaining weeks (a maximum of 13) are taken after childbirth. In cases of multiple births, two additional weeks are added to the leave period. When the birth is premature, the difference between the actual date of childbirth and the expected due date are added to the leave period. Adoptive mothers (or single, adoptive fathers) benefit from the same leave conditions, wherein the legal placement date is used instead of the date of childbirth as a basis for calculating the length of leave. If the mother dies before her leave period ends, the father obtains the right to take the remainder of the leave period.
Notably, the new law also lifts the qualifying period of nine months of contributions previously required to obtain entitlements, although paid benefits are calculated based on the salary perceived prior to the birth. If the salary was variable, benefits are calculated based on the average salary over the covered period, up to a year.
Finally, the law protects against the firing of a woman because of pregnancy or breastfeeding. If a woman is fired during pregnancy or the three months after childbirth for unauthorized reasons, she has the right to complete her period of paid leave and to receive the equivalent of 60 days of severance pay in addition to any contractually determined severance-related benefits.
The new regulations effectively amend articles 236, 239, 57 and 58 of the labour code.
Source: "Ley 1468 de 2011", Diario Oficial, No. 48.116 de 30 de junio de 2011, Congreso de la República. Available at: http://secretariasenado.gov.co/senado/basedoc/ley/2011/ley_1468_2011.html; "Nueva Ley de Licencia de Maternidad", Cacarol.com, 17 July 2011. Available at: http://www.caracol.com.co/blog.aspx?id=1510748; "Aspectos importantes de la Ley 1468 de 2011", Famisanar. Available at: http://www.famisanar.com.co/files/1_339_licencias-de-maternidad.pdf.
Implementation date: 30.06.2011