Measure To Compensate "Unfavourable" Conditions Faced By Women In The Workplace By Reducing The Requirement Of Contribution Weeks For Old-Age Pensions

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The Constitutional Court of Colombia has made an important change in its ruling regarding the required amount of their contribution weeks for women in order to get recognition...
Colombia Employment and HR
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The Constitutional Court of Colombia has made an important change in its ruling regarding the required amount of their contribution weeks for women in order to get recognition of the old age pension. Women regularly face unfavourable conditions in the workplace that hinder them from making the whole amount of contributions and consolidating their right to recognition of the minimum pension guarantee in the Individual Savings with Solidarity Scheme (Pension Private Funds).

This section of the law was questioned as a regulation that violated the fundamental rights to equality since it provided identical treatment between men and women and did not incorporate gender focus that would recognise the discrimination that women have faced in the labour and pension market and to social security since the absence of a measure with a differential and gender focus put at risk the possibility that women would be able to obtain a pension allowance that would guarantee the satisfaction of their basic needs in old age.

The Court emphasised that the beneficiaries of the minimum pension guarantee are low-income members of the private funds who do not have enough contribution money in their individual savings account to finance a pension amounting to at least one minimum wage. In this sense, it pointed out that by de facto limiting the access to the minimum pension guarantee, the law in question put at risk the minimum vital needs of low-income women.

However, the Constitutional Court decided to defer the effects of the decision until 31 December 2025 for two main reasons:

(i) The immediate declaration of unenforceability and the consequent reduction in the number of weeks of contributions required of women would increase the number of beneficiaries and reduce the contributions of female members, which would deplete the Minimum Pension Guarantee Fund way earlier than was budgeted for.

(ii) The Constitution does not require that the historical discrimination that women have suffered in the labour market must necessarily be remedied by a reduction in the minimum number of weeks of contributions, so it is constitutionally admissible for the legislator to maintain identical treatment in terms of the density of weeks to compensate for the discrimination, to adopt other affirmative measures to guarantee equality and to ensure that women affiliated with private funds have the same material opportunities to make contributions to the pension system.

The Corporation emphasised that, in the event of inaction by Congress, the minimum number of weeks required for women to access the old-age pension in the Public Fund would also be gradually reduced to 1,000.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

In accordance with the new position of the Constitutional Court, this decision is one step forward against sex discrimination. It is a position of the Court to try to reduce the gap for women who are not able to get recognition of their old age pension. Nevertheless, now it is a duty of Congress to establish the regulation and the rules for gradually reducing the contribution weeks for women. We suggest that employers be aware of the new regulations in this matter.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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