Social Security Retirement Age Raised in Colombia

By Roy Maurer May 5, 2014

The social security retirement age in Colombia was increased at the start of the year from 60 to 62 for men and from 55 to 57 for women. Additionally, the minimum weeks of coverage needed to qualify for a pension under the public pay-as-you-go system is being gradually increased.

Colombian workers can choose whether to participate in the public pension system, which is administered by Colpensiones, a state-owned financial institution supervised by the Ministry of Labour, or to have contributions made by them and their employers deposited in an individual account, which can be provided by any of the five private pension funds operating in the country. It is also possible to switch back and forth between the public system and the individual account system.

Workers must meet a minimum number of weeks of coverage to qualify for a public pension, a requirement that does not apply to individual account plans.

“The purpose of the amendment is to improve the sustainability of the retirement system and to reflect changing workforce demographics,” said Misael Guzman, finance and accounting manager at management consultancy Towers Watson.

The main changes employers doing business in Colombia need to be aware of are:

  • The retirement age is increased to 62 for men and to 57 for women, except for men age 60 and women age 55 before April 2014 who had at least 750 weeks of coverage before 2005.
  • Required workweeks to retire under the public pension system are increased to 1,275 in 2014, instead of the previous 1,250-week requirement.
  • Required workweeks will increase to 1,300 in 2015.

“The natural consequence of this change is that workforces will gradually shift toward older, more experienced employees with longer service,” said Guzman. “Employers should review their long-term workforce planning and benefit plans to make sure they continue to meet their intended objectives in light of these changes.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him at @SHRMRoy

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