Last Monday, Gloria Inés Ramírez, the new labor minister appointed by President Gustavo Petro, spoke about the first reforms that the Ministry of Labor wants to advance. The minister contemplates that in the first 100 days of work (three months) it is expected to reach a consensus between employees, employers and the ministry to establish the first implementations at the labor level.
What does the minister propose?
The first thing that Ramírez emphasizes is that a new Labor Statute should be contemplated, since the one that currently governs the country is obsolete according to the minister. Said like this, Mintrabajo intends to establish a day shift and a night shift with a uniform schedule, which would be 12 hours. In other words, the day shift would be from 6 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon, while the night shift would be in force again from 6 in the afternoon and not from 9 at night as it is currently established. Clearly, it must be taken into account that the permitted work hours are between 8 and 9 hours a day.
“The working day is just one element. In Colombia the theme was reformed and the daytime was put on from 6 in the morning until 10 at night. Well, I want to correct that,” Ramírez explained in an interview with Revista Semana. Put like that, Ramírez hopes employees can earn a nightly premium, as well as overtime.
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How would overtime and night surcharges work?
Bearing in mind that working hours must be between 8 and 9 hours a day, overtime would be those that are worked once the daily working day has ended. That is, if your work schedule is from 8 to 5 and you must work one day until 7 at night due to some circumstance, the two extra hours must be paid. Likewise, the hours worked after 6 in the afternoon must be paid as night hours, so they must have the respective increase in the night surcharge.
Will this apply to telecommuting?
The answer is uncertain, but it would be expected that this regulation would also apply to the remote mode. Although the minister spoke about the working day, she did not delve into the issue of teleworking and other labor “branches”. However, we must take into account that Ángel Custodio Cabrera, the labor minister of the Duque government, left a list of regulations for the formulation of public policy to strengthen teleworking.
Faced with said list, the former minister argued that the following should be considered: “formulation and regulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The guidelines for the formulation must contain the axes of infrastructure and telecommunications, access to computer equipment, training, incentives and permanent evaluation, among others”. Now, we have to see how Mintrabajo proceeds with respect to this list.
Image: Twitter Gloria Ines Ramirez