In Colombia, the month of June has traditionally been known for being the moment in which employees received the service premium payment.

This special bonus is a labor law that seeks to recognize and reward the effort and dedication of workers in the performance of their work.

(Keep reading: These workers won’t get the mid-year bonus—check to see if you are.)

The history of the service premium in Colombia goes back many years, when it was determined as a measure to ensure economic stability of the employees.

Over time, it has become a fundamental benefit in the labor relations of the country.

The premium has undergone a legal evolution that has sought to guarantee equality and the protection of workers’ rights.

How did it come about?

The first reference of the Constitutional Court on the service premium is found in the Decision C-051 of 1995.

In this decision, the Court declared unconstitutional the section that conferred on the National Government the power to classify «employers», referring to bosses, to determine the proportion or amount of benefits.

The Court would expect this difference in treatment between groups of workers to be discriminatory and that it was not justifiable to grant advantages some employees to the detriment of certain workers.

(Also read: Mid-year bonus: how to calculate it in 2023).

changes in time

In the Colombian context, the history of the payment of this benefit in the month of June has experienced a legal evolution that has sought to guarantee equality and the protection of workers’ rights. Here are some of the rulings that have been filed over the years:

Ruling C-083 of 1996: The Constitutional Court held that the principle of equality is not mathematical and that the legislator can introduce distinctions as long as they are not unreasonable, arbitrary, or disproportionately restrict the rights of a group.

Judgment C-710 of 1996: The Court declared the constitutionality of article 307 of the Substantive Labor Code, which establishes that the service premium It is not a salary factor.

It was argued that the premium seeks to provide worker participation in the company’s profits and replace old forms of compensation.

Ruling C-034 of 2003: The Court results in the exclusion of workers dismissed with just cause from the payment of the premium for services.

This exclusion will be extended violated the principles of proportionality and reasonablenessso it would be considered unconstitutional.

Ruling T-158 of 2011: The Court addressed the issue of premiums for services in the health sector. recognized the fundamental right of health workers to receive the service premium and the retroactive payment of premiums not recognized in the past is affected.

It was argued that the exclusion of the premium for workers in the health sector violated the right to equality and the right to the vital minimum.

The cousin today

The Court has continued to develop and refine its jurisprudence on this issue, with the aim of ensuring the recognition and protection of this fundamental labor right.

He Article 306 of the Substantive Labor Code establishes that workers have the right to receive a service premium, which is equivalent to thirty days of salary for each year worked.

This payment is made in two parts: half will be delivered no later than June 30 and the other half will be paid no later than the first twenty days of December.

The service premium is recognized considering the period workedeither for the entire semester or proportionally to the time worked.

One of the most valued changes was recorded in the Law 1788 of 2016whose purpose was to ensure universal access to the payment of the premium for services.

Domestic workers, family service drivers, day workers or farm employees in Colombia are included.

At first they were excluded, since according to the Court these exclusions were contrary to equality and the principle of social solidarityand affirmed that if the State wanted to stimulate certain activities, it should do so at its cost and not at the workers’ expenses.

(You may be interested in: How to calculate the mid-year premium for domestic employees?).

Why is the premium important?

For the experts, the service bonus is especially significant for workers, since it gives them the opportunity to have a additional income to cover your needs, make investments or enjoy a well-deserved rest.

In addition, this payment contributes to the boost of the national economysince it generates an increase in consumption and stimulates the market.

These regulations of the Substantive Labor Code seek to ensure that employees receive this bonus fairly and within the established deadlines.

Video: If I haven’t worked for a company for a year, am I entitled to a bonus?


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