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Women will be able to retire with less than 1,150 weeks in the private regime

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Women will be able to retire with less than 1,150 weeks in the private regime

The Constitutional Court of Colombia has marked a milestone in the fight for gender equality in the country’s pension system. Through ruling C-054 of 2024, the High Court has ruled on a significant modification in the minimum pension guarantee for women within private pension funds, highlighting a notable decrease in the number of weeks of contributions required, 1,150 to 1,000 weeks.

This change arises in response to the evident violation of the fundamental rights of women, who, due to the structural conditions of discrimination in the labor market, face greater obstacles to complying with the necessary contributions under the current scheme. The Court has recognized that the same demands imposed on men ignore the historical inequalities and the specific challenges that women face, affecting their right to equality, non-discrimination, social security and minimum living standards.

The decision comes after an in-depth analysis of how current regulations not only perpetuate gender inequality but also contradict the principle of solidarity of the individual savings regime (RAIS) and the financial stability of the pension system. By equalizing the conditions without considering the context and the specific barriers that women face, the previous regulations failed to offer real and effective protection of their fundamental rights.

The Court, by issuing this ruling, has not only corrected a long-held injustice but has also established a precedent for future policies and reforms. The ruling highlights the need to adopt a gender approach in social security policies, recognizing and compensating for structural inequalities that limit the participation of women on equal terms.

Let us remember that in June 2023 the Constitutional Court had resolved that, as of January 1, the minimum required time of 1,300 weeks for women in public funds would be gradually reduced until it reached 1,000 weeks. But it was not a ruling that forced the private AFPs to do so. So this ruling is consistent with last year’s.

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This regulatory change will not be immediate. The Court has deferred the effects of this ruling until December 31, 2025, providing a deadline for Congress to adjust the corresponding legislation. As of January 1, 2026, if no legislative adjustments have been made, an annual reduction of 15 weeks in the contribution required for the minimum pension in private funds will be implemented, until the stipulated 1,000 weeks are reached.

This ruling not only benefits the country’s working women, offering them a more accessible path to security in old age, but also sends a powerful message about the importance of gender equality in all aspects of politics and the law. The Court has urged Congress to work together with the National Government to implement affirmative measures that address and mitigate the adverse conditions that women face in the labor market.

In the midst of the debate on pension reform in Congress, which already contemplates a gradual reduction in the number of weeks of contributions for women, this ruling reinforces the urgency and need for more inclusive and equitable policies. It is a call to recognize inequalities and act decisively to eliminate them, ensuring that the Colombian pension system equitably protects and serves all its citizens.

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