Employment Protection and Maternity Leave

Find out about the maternity leave and employment laws for pregnant and nursing women in Colombia...

By law the Labor Code (Codigo Sustantivo de Trabajo) provides special protection for pregnant women.

  • No worker can be dismissed while pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Women who are dismissed within three months of giving birth are entitled to compensation payment equivalent to the wages of sixty days, in addition to any compensation and benefits included in the work contract

Further information is available from the Ministry of Labor (in Spanish).

Maternity Leave

Women are entitled to 14 weeks paid maternity leave, which can be taken from up to two weeks before the expected date of delivery. One week’s maternity leave is mandatory.

Mothers should inform their employees about their pregnancy and enclose medical documents indicating the due date.

After the 37th week of pregnancy, the mother should ask her doctor to prepare a Licencia de maternidad pre parto, entitling her to maternity leave one or two weeks prior to the birth of the baby. In the event of a premature birth the mother should contact the health service provider to follow the procedure with the employer.

In order to benefit from the Licencia pre parto and receive maternity benefits from the health provider, the following requirements must be met at the time of the application and during the period before the birth:

  • The mother must be registered with the same health provider, during the entire period of pregnancy
  • It is important that the employer has paid all contributions during the year prior to the date of application for the maternity leave.

There is also a Licencia de lactancia (nursing leave) allowing the mother two thirty minutes breaks a day during work hours to breastfeed the child.

Paternity Leave

Fathers are entitled to eight days of paid leave. These eight days are totally independent of the maternity leave.