While Angola has a large labour force, the workforce is mainly unskilled and the labour market is heavily restrictive for example fixed-term employment contracts are disallowed by law and the legislated minimum wage is among the highest in Africa.
The main legislative instrument is Act 2/2000 of February 11, the General Labour Law (“Lei Geral do Trabalho”/LGT), which sets out the principles and rules governing the employment relationship in Angola. The employment relationships of foreign non-resident employees are regulated by Decree 5/1995, 7 April and Decree-Law 6/2001, 19 January, which approves the foreign and non-resident employment regime.
As a rule, employment contracts are considered to be indefinite; fixed-term contracts are not permitted by law unless in exceptional cases as listed below:
Term contracts may be made for a duration ranging from 6-36 months, depending on the circumstances.
A fixed-term contract is deemed to be an indefinite-duration contract if its maximum duration has elapsed and the employee continues in service for 15 days following the date of lapsing, or the return of the worker replaced if the replacement worker has not been advised in advance (15, 30 or 60 days in advance, depending on whether contract lasted up to one year, one to three years or more than three years).
There are also other types of employment contracts provided for in the LGT: (i) the group contract; (ii) the construction-work or task contract; (iii) the apprenticeship and traineeship contract; (iv) the aboard merchant ship and fishing boat contract; (v) the aboard aircraft contract; (vi) the at-home contract; (vii) the civilian workers in military manufacturing establishments contract; (viii) the rural contract; (ix) the non-resident foreigners contract; and (x) the temporary employment contract, among others.
A written employment agreement is only required for temporary employment agreements and employment agreements entered into with foreign employees. For foreign employees, the agreement must include the following:
a) full name and registered address;
b) professional qualification;
c) place of work;
d) weekly timetable;
e) salary amount and payment method;
f) commitment to return to the country of origin after termination of the agreement;
g) date and commencement of the services to be performed;
h) place and date of signature of the agreement; and
i) signature of both contracting parties.
On the date of the signature of the agreement, the non-resident foreign worker shall sign a sworn statement through which he undertakes to respect and ensure the respect for the laws of the Angolan Republic.
The agreement shall be made in three ways and registered at the Employment Office in the company’s premises, upon an employer’s application stating the grounds for the recruitment, together with the following documentation:
a) work visa; and
b) staff plan distributed by occupational categories and citizenship.
The above mentioned application shall be registered at the respective Employment Office 30 days prior to the beginning of the employee’s professional activity.
The employment agreement must be written in a language that both parties and the Angolan authorities are able to understand and speak (in most cases this will be Portuguese).
The standard probationary period stipulated by law is 60 days. However, the parties can extend this period, in writing, to 4 months when a highly qualified employee is concerned, or to 6 months when the worker is hired to perform highly complex technical work or if he/she occupies a managerial position which requires high level education.
Probationary periods for fixed-term contracts can be stipulated in writing provided that it does not exceed 15 days for unskilled workers and 30 days for skilled workers.
Either party may terminate the employment contract without providing prior justification, notice and compensation during the probationary period.
Employers can only terminate an employment contract for the following reasons:
With just cause.
Redundancy due to the abolition of the work position.
Just cause includes:
The employee being unjustifiably absent for more than three days per month or 12 days per year.
Serious disobedience to the employer’s orders and instructions.
Serious lack of respect for his superior officers and/or colleagues.
For dismissal due to just cause, a disciplinary proceeding must be held. Once completed, the employee can be dismissed without notice or compensation.
If an employee feels that he or she was dismissed unfairly, the employee is entitled to challenge the disciplinary penalty in the industrial courts. In the case of unfair dismissal, the employer may be required to reinstate the employee or compensate him with the employee’s basic salary multiplied by his years of service (but not less than three months’ salary). Additionally, the employee is entitled to compensation of up to a maximum of nine years’ salary.
Collective dismissal and redundancy
Redundancies and mass layoffs are only allowed for the following reasons:
Employees are represented by any existing unions or associations and the intervention or supervision of the Ministry of Employment can be requested.
Depending on the seniority of the employee, the employer must give between 30 and 60 days’ notice.
All employees are entitled to compensation corresponding to the base wage at the date of termination, multiplied by the number of years of seniority with the limit of five, the product being increased by 50% of the said base wage multiplied by the number of years of seniority in excess of the said limit. However, employees dismissed for misconduct are not entitled to any compensation.
Employees are not permitted work for more than eight hours daily and 44 hours weekly.
Employees are entitled to 22 days of annual leave per year. Holidays under fixed term contracts are the exception to the rule. For the latter, the employee is entitled to 2 days for each completed month worked, when the initial or extended contract is not longer than 1 year.
While there is no mandated number of days for medical leave, employees are entitled to be absent from work with paid remuneration due to illness, without limitation, provided that such absence is documented and justified by means of a medical certificate.
Employees are entitled to three days of leave a month (up to a maximum of 12 working days a year) to provide urgent assistance to members of the employee’s household, spouse, parents, grandparents, children over 10 years of age or relatives of the same lineal degree.
Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), in medium and large companies the base salary of employees on medical leave will be fully paid by the employer for the first two months of absence. From the third month to the 12th month of absence, the employer must pay the employee 50% of the base salary until the relevant social protection entity takes over.
An employee is entitled to paid family leave of up to eight days a year.
Female employees are entitled to ninety days (30 days or less before, and 60 days or more after confinement) of maternity leave. Where a women worker gives birth to a stillborn child or has a miscarriage due to illness or an accident, she is entitled to 45 days of leave after the birth or miscarriage.
According to Angolan social security legislation, all employees are required to register with the National Social Security Institute and contribute to it on a monthly basis, unless they can prove that they contribute to the social security scheme of their home country. As such, foreign nationals are not required to make social security contributions if they can prove that they are covered by the social security system in another country.
The current contribution rates are 8% for employers and 3% for employees. The contribution amounts are uncapped.
Self-employed persons are subject to social security contributions based on a predefined monthly notional salary. The rate of the contributions is 8%, but it may be increased to 11% if additional benefits are covered.
Compliance with local employment requirements is just one of the issues foreign companies face when employing staff in Angola. For companies which intend to employ their staff directly through their incorporated Angolan entity, professional legal advice is recommended. Shield GEO provides an alternative path for companies to outsource the employment of their staff in Angola.
As a Global Employer Organization (GEO), Shield GEO acts as the Employer of Record and ensures the employment is compliant with host country regulations regarding employment. In addition Shield GEO will handle payroll processing, tax and immigration. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Angola.
The Shield GEO solution is an attractive alternative where
– the company is looking to employ staff quickly
– the company doesn’t have an appropriately incorporated entity in Angola
– the company wants to work within a defined budget
– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Angola
– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Angola