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Employee Benefits and Entitlements

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Contracts of Employment

Contracts of employment are not obligatory, however, where no contract of employment has been signed between the employer and the employee or where there is a written contract that does not include all the information as per regulations, the employer is obliged to send a letter of engagement or a signed statement. Article 4 of LN 431 of 2002 stipulates that the employer has up to eight working weeks from commencement of employment to provide the employee with the statement wherein, it should include all the basic conditions of employment.

 

A contract of employment must as a minimum contain:

  • The particulars of the employer and the employee
  • The date of commencement of employment
  • The normal and overtime rates of pay, and the intervals at which the payment of wages falls due
  • The normal hours of work and paid holidays, vacation and sick leave, and other leave entitlements
  • The conditions under which fines may be imposed by the employer
  • Details of the probation period
  • The agreed duration of the contract (if on a fixed-term basis)
  • The paid holidays, vacation, sick and other leave which are entitled to the employee
  • The title, grade or category of the work for which the employee is employed
  • The notice periods to be observed by the employer and the employee
  • The agreement governing the employee’s work conditions
  • Any other relevant or applicable conditions of employment

Although it is not obligatory to include a job description in the contract of employment, this can serve to guide the employee to know what is expected of him. 

Other matters related to the contract of employment include the following:

  • Collective Agreement– This agreement regulates the terms and conditions of employees in their workplace and supersedes a contract of employment if the conditions of employment are agreed by both parties and under the law are more favourable to the employee. 
  • Bonus Scheme– These can be used as an incentive for the employees to achieve a particular objective or to encourage commitment. A bonus scheme can be optionally added to the contract of employment and it must include a timeframe.
  • Promotion- In the case of an employee being granted a promotion, it is advisable that a new contract of employment is drawn up in order to stipulate the new conditions of employment.

 

Maternity Leave

All female employees, both on full-time and part-time employment, are entitled to maternity leave.  Whereas full-time employees are entitled to fourteen weeks of paid maternity leave,  part-time employees, whose employment is their principle employment, are entitled to a pro rata maternity leave calculated on the number of hours worked.

The employee has to utilize the maternity leave by taking six weeks of maternity leave immediately after the date of confinement.  Moreover, as discussed with the employer, the female employee could avail of four weeks immediately before the expected date of confinement.  The outstanding balance could then be taken altogether or segregated in part immediately before or after. 

At least four weeks prior to the commencement of the maternity leave, a written notification is to be given to the employer by an employee. The employee is also still entitled to leave during the maternity leave.

After the expiration of the maternity leave, the employee is obliged to work for a period of six months.  If the employee does not satisfy this criterion, then the employer is entitled to request the employee for a refund of payments made during the maternity leave. Should the employee refuse, the employer has the right to take action against the employee.

 

Adoption

In the case of a female employee who decides to adopt a child, she is not entitled to maternity leave and is instead entitled to parental leave which is unpaid leave.

 

Termination of Employment and Notice Periods

Information with regard to termination falls under Article 36 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, 2002 Chapter 452. 

The notice periods pertaining to the employment period include:

Length of Employment

Notice Period Required

More than one month but not more than six months

One week

More than six months but not more than two years

Two weeks

More than two years but not more than four years

Four weeks

For more than four years but not more than seven years

Eight weeks

For more than seven years, an additional 1 week for every subsequent year of service up to a maximum of twelve weeks

Or such longer periods as may be agreed by the employer and employee in the case of technical, administrative, executive or managerial posts

 

The notice period starts accruing from the day after which the letter of resignation has been submitted.  In the event that the employee would like to have the option not to work the full notice period then the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, 2002 stipulates the following:

·     If the employee gives notice, then he has the option to either work the notice period or not. If the employee does work the notice period, then he will be entitled to full wages. Conversely, if he does not work the notice period then the employee shall be entitled to half the notice period.

 

·     On the other hand, if the employer gives notice of termination, the employer will have the option either to allow the employee to work the notice period or not. In both cases, the employee shall be entitled to full wages for the notice period.

 

·     If the employee fails to give notice to the employer, then the employee shall have to pay the employer a sum equivalent to half the wages of the notice period.

 

·     Where the employer fails to give notice, then the employer shall have to pay the employee full wages for the notice period.

 

·     If an employee is dismissed, then no notice period is required.

 

Part-Time Employment

Under the law, there is no distinction between part-time and full-time employees.

 

Definite Period of Employment

Where an employee is subject to a definite contract of employment, then notice periods only apply during the probationary period.  Once the probationary period has been completed and either the employee or employer would like to end the contract of employment, then either party will have to pay half the salary of the unexpired period.

 

Probationary Period and Notice Period

The notice period shall be calculated from the first day of employment hence the probationary period shall also be included.

 

Other Matters

Should the employer decide that the employee should not work the notice period then, the employer still has to pay the employee in full. 

 

Should you wish for more information regarding employee benefits and entitlements, please do not hesitate to Contact Us and we will gladly assist you with any queries you might have.

 

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