In the past, Colombia required physical documentation in order to formalize and execute an employment agreement. This has been an increasing irritation for employers that wished to finalize various employment-related documents with telecommuting and/or virtual employees. Therefore, in order to relieve the parties from onerous documentation requirements and facilitate the hiring process, the ministry of labor issued Circular 060, 2018 authorizing electronic and/or digital signatures for entering into employment agreements.

This circular acknowledges that electronic signatures are valid for governing employment relationships and invites employees and employers to utilize these technological advances.

The following mandatory requirements must be met when using electronic signatures:

  1. Both parties must use the electronic signature;
  2. Mandatory clauses must be included (Article 39 of Colombian Labor Code); and
  3. No additional cost can be charged to the employee for using the electronic signature.

While some grey areas remain, such as whether electronic signatures are appropriate for fixed-term agreements, probation periods or all-inclusive salaried employees, and the circular does not resolve all the issues derived from relying exclusively on a wet signature, it does provide safer grounds for employers to start implementing technology tools to improve the process of executing labor documentation.

This reform is seen as an important step towards the improvement of labor relations and increased flexibility in Colombian labor and employment law.

Written by Carolina Camacho, Hermes García, and Jairo Jaller of Posse Herrera Ruiz and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins

© 2020 Posse Herrera Ruiz and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.