Writing business

Brazil and Colombia: Labor law and remote work – the basics | Knowledge

Brazil

Colombia

Minimum wage

The legal minimum monthly wage is BRL$1,212 (US$224).

The legal minimum monthly wage is COP$1 million (US$250).

Outsourcing services

Outsourcing is allowed, including for core activities. Since the labor reform of 2017, any activity can be outsourced, provided that the provisions of Law 13.429/2017 are complied with. This law concerns temporary workers but also extends to subcontracting activities. It is the responsibility of the contracting company to guarantee the safety, hygiene and health conditions of the employees, when the work is carried out in their installations or at a place designated by them, and the contracting company will grant the employees contractors the same a medical, outpatient and catering service made available to their own employees, for example.

Outsourcing of labor is permitted provided the parties comply with applicable regulations. Specific rules regarding direction and control, subordination and autonomy in the way they carry out the work must be followed in order to reduce exposure to misclassifications and/or administrative sanctions.

Responsibility for work

Under labor outsourcing programs, the contracting party is secondarily responsible for the labor rights of the contractor’s employee. In case of proof that the outsourcing is illegal, the contracting party can be considered as the real employer and, therefore, will be responsible for all labor rights.

Under labor outsourcing programs, the contracting party is jointly and severally liable for the labor rights of the employee of the contractor, provided that the activities carried out or the services rendered are equal, similar or related to the principal activity of the contracting party.

Remote/Hybrid Work

The Brazilian Labor Code provides that remote work is work performed most of the time outside the premises of the company. For fully remote work roles, the company must cover work associated with work/home office costs. The Labor Code is not clear in this respect, but case law considers that an indemnity must be paid to cover the additional costs of the Internet and electricity. For employees working in a hybrid model, the requirements are unclear. A company must provide fully remote employees with adequate resources to do their jobs. This is usually limited to providing a laptop.

The remote working conditions are inserted in an addendum to the employment contract.

Colombian labor rules recognize different types of remote work:

  • Telecommuting (applies when the employee works remotely more than two days a week)
  • Home office (for extraordinary and temporary circumstances)
  • Remote work (applies when the entire employment relationship is carried out outside the employer’s premises).

Specific rules apply to each work modality.

work tools

As a general rule, employers must provide employees with all work tools (eg computer, telephone, means of transport) and cover the costs associated with the work for the company.

The employer has the right to monitor work e-mails, the sites consulted by the employee and any file saved on the work laptop, for example.

Likewise, employers must provide employees with all work tools (e.g. computer, telephone, internet connection, means of transport).

In the context of teleworking, the parties may agree in writing that the employees will provide their own work tools.

Disconnect from work

In Brazil, there is no law dealing with the employee’s right to disconnect, although Bill n. 4044/2020, currently under discussion in the Senate, provides for work disconnection rules and may make changes to the Labor Code, in the section relating to remote work and exempt employees (not subject to the control of the time/no overtime pay).

Colombia recently enacted Law 2191 of 2022 establishing the rules for disconnecting from work. According to these regulations, employees have the right not to be contacted outside working hours. Exceptions to work disconnection are employees in a managerial or trusted role, on-call, in force majeure or emergency situations.

Health and safety – biosecurity protocols

The employer must comply with health and safety standards regardless of the working method (face-to-face, hybrid, remote, teleworking).

When employees return to the employer’s premises, biosecurity protocols must be in place to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace. In addition, biosecurity protocols must take into account the vaccination status of employees. Nevertheless, data protection rules must be observed.

The employer must comply with health and safety standards regardless of the work modality (face-to-face, hybrid, remote, telework).

When employees return to the employer’s premises, biosecurity protocols must be in place to ensure their health and safety in the workplace. In addition, biosecurity protocols must take into account the vaccination status of employees. Nevertheless, data protection rules must be observed.