Since the last decades, information technologies have evolved rapidly, generating reat changes in the way we communicate, facilitating interaction at any time and place. This has brought countless benefits for individuals and companies, bringing people closer and allowing quick access to information located anywhere on the planet, however, it has also contributed to work obligations permeating rest and family and personal life, a situation that in some cases affects the boundary that should exist between work and private life.
Because of the above, and as a reaction to the negative effects of information technologies on labor relations, there have been several jurisprudential pronouncements that highlight the importance for the worker to recover from the wear and tear generated by the provision of the service and to balance his private and work life in order to realize and advance in his life project, such as, in judgment C-103 of 2021, which refers to the right to work disconnection, recalling the articles of Colombian law and the norms contained in various instruments of International Human Rights Law, which are positioned in favor of the right to rest and give it great importance in the context of labor law.
Therefore, from jurisprudence and from various instruments of international law, they refer to the right to rest and enjoy the time in the private sphere without interruptions, from labor law as the right to work disconnection, however; it was not a right clearly and literally recognized in the Colombian labor law, until January 6, 2022, when the Congress of the Republic, issued Law 2191, which regulates the labor disconnection – Law of Labor Disconnection, which aims “create, regulate and promote the labor disconnection of workers in labor relations within the different hiring modalities …. with the purpose of guaranteeing the effective enjoyment of free time and rest time, licenses, permits and/or vacations to reconcile personal, family and work life”.
This law aims to materialize the right to work disconnection, giving it a legal meaning in the first place, defining it as “the right of all workers and public servants to have no contact, by any means or tool, whether technological or not, for matters related to their field or work activity, at times outside the ordinary working day or maximum legal working day, or agreed upon, or during their vacations or breaks”
1 Article 1 of Law No. 2191 of 2022
2 Article three of Law 2191 of 2022
Likewise, in order to protect this right, the law establishes certain guarantees and obligations, such as the following:
- It recognizes the guarantee to disconnect from work once the working day is over and during rest time, licenses, permits and vacations.
- It establishes that any clause or agreement that goes against the object of the law will be ineffective.
- It establishes that the non-observance of the right to work disconnection may constitute a conduct of labor harassment, in the terms and in accordance with the provisions of Law 1010 of 2006.
- It obliges the Employers to have an internally regulated labor disconnection policy that defines the way in which the right is guaranteed, the procedure for presenting complaints and verifying that they are processed, solved and that what has been agreed upon is complied with.
With these tools, the worker is given the opportunity to demand and file complaints for the violation of his right to disconnection from work, even going to the labor inspector to investigate a particular situation, however, this law also establishes as exceptions the positions of direction, trust and management, those activities or trades that require and must have permanent availability as the public force and relief agencies and when situations of force majeure or fortuitous event occur, provided that the non-existence of another viable alternative is justified.
In short, since the enactment of this law, it clarifies the content of the right to disconnection from work and provides tools, obligations and rights to ensure compliance with this right, which we hope will stimulate respect for the private life of all employers and improve the quality of life of workers.
At López & James we are more than willing to provide support on this issue, as we also have professionals specialized in the areas of Labor Law, Civil Law, Corporate Law and other areas of law. Likewise, our team of financial, administrative and foreign trade consultants is ready to offer advice on any concerns regarding these and other issues through its virtual channels, at any time, through the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our landline in Bogotá (+601) 7498261. For more information, please visit www.lopezjames.com.
About the author:
Guillermo Sánchez is a lawyer graduated from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, specialized in Business Law from Universidad del Rosario, and is part of the legal team of López & James Colombia.
He has extensive experience in Trademark Law and Habeas Data. He specializes in the areas of Corporate Law and Family Law.
Bogotá D.C. August 4, 2022.