Morocco has a relatively modern labour system, with the workforce roughly divided into one third agriculture, one third mining, manufacturing and construction, and the remaining in the trade, finance and service sectors. A large informal economy also exists, made up of street vendors, domestic workers and other underemployed and poorly paid individuals.
While unionisation does not make up a significant proportion of workers, several trade unions do exist in the country; the largest being l’Union Marocaine du Travail with 700,000 members.
The employment relationship is mainly governed by the main employment legislation, the Labour Code and industry-wide collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
The Labour Code governs specific labour and employment issues, including in particular:
- Conditions of employment and work, employment contracts, termination of employment and dismissal;
- Terms of employment and wages, including minimum wage, minimum age for employment, maternity protection, hours of work and overtime, paid annual and holiday leave, policies for special categories of workers, and occupational safety and health protection;
- Trade union affairs, election and functions of labor representatives;
- Collective bargaining and the settlement of collective labor disputes, including conciliation and arbitration;
- Labour inspections, including the roles and responsibilities of labour inspectors.
|Statutory Working Hours ?||
Moroccan employees in an industry, commerce or liberal profession work a maximum of 44 hours per week (2288 annually) while those in the agricultural sector work a maximum of 2496 hours per year. It is compulsory to arrange a weekly rest period of at least 24 hours, from midnight to midnight, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or, in rural areas, the local weekly-market day. Weekly rest must be granted simultaneously to all the employees working at a single workplace unless approved otherwise by the employment authorities.
|Medical Leave ?||
Employees are required to inform employers within 48 hours of any medical-related absences. A medical certificate is required for leave exceeding 4 days. In case an employee is absent for medical reasons (other than for a work-related illness or injury) for more than 180 consecutive days in a 365 day period, his employer can assume he has resigned.
|Annual Leave Accrual Entitlement ?||
All employees working for more than six months at the same company or employer is entitled to:
Workers are entitled to an extra day and a half for every extra 5 years worked, up to a maximum of 30 days.
|Maternity Leave in Morocco ?||
Female employees are entitled to 14 paid weeks off for maternity which may be taken after delivery or in increments of 7 weeks before and 7 weeks after delivery. The employee has the right to take an additional period not to exceed 90 days beginning after the 14 weeks of Maternity leave have passed. A woman may take up to and additional 1 year of unpaid maternity leave, subject to permission of her employer.
|Probation Period ?||
Article 14 of the Labour Code states that the maximum probationary periods are as follows:
1. Contracts of indefinite duration:
Probationary periods may only be extended once.
2. Fixed-term contracts:
However, shorter trial periods are permitted if stated in the respective CBA or employment contract.
Unless the employment contract or CBA expressly provides otherwise, the employment contract may be terminated without any restrictions (i.e., without justification or indemnities) during the probationary period. However, employers need to comply with a minimum statutory termination notice period during the probationary period if the probationary period is at least equal to one week (for example, the termination notice will be two days if the employee is paid daily, weekly or fortnightly; or eight days if the employee is paid monthly).
Compliance with local employment requirements is just one of the issues foreign companies face when employing staff in Morocco. For companies which intend to employ their staff directly through their incorporated Moroccan entity, professional legal advice is recommended. Shield GEO provides an alternative path for companies to outsource the employment of their staff in Morocco.
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 Morocco.
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 Morocco
– the company wants to work within a defined budget
– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Morocco
– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Morocco
GEO Solutions or DIY Employment
Companies entering Morocco must make a decision whether to use their own resources for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach, or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle payroll and employment responsibilities. A GEO or Morocco Employer of Record solution makes it faster, easier and cheaper to deploy staff if they don’t have a Moroccan entity established that can run payroll.
A DIY approach will typically take 6-9 months until there is a properly incorporated WFOE ready to run payroll and cost up to 6 figures if registered capital is required. Shield GEO can deploy foreign staff in 4-6 weeks and local staff in 48 hours. Additionally Shield GEO is responsible for all compliance issues related to the employment.
|Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs||
Please contact us for a quote
Shield GEO pays the employee on a monthly basis, typically on the last working day of the month although we can adapt to your preferred schedule. Income tax and social security (where applicable) are deducted at source and paid to the local tax authorities.
Morocco dirham, MAD
|Tax Returns Supplied||
|Corporate Tax Requirements||
The fiscal year begins on 1 January and ends on 31 December of the same year.
Companies must file a corporate income tax return together with a copy of the financial statements with the inspector of direct taxes for the district in which their company headquarters are located within 3 months after the end of the fiscal year.
Companies must make advance payments of corporate income tax. For companies with a 31 December year-end, the payments must be made by 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. Each payment must be equal to 25% of the previous year’s tax. If the minimum tax does not exceed MAD3,000, it is fully payable in one instalment. Payment of the minimum tax exceeding this amount is made in accordance with the rules applicable to the corporate income tax.
The corporate tax amount cannot be lower than a minimum contribution (MC), MAD 1500 and must be made in a single payment, before the end of the third month following the start of the current financial year
|Employers Social Security and statutory contributions||
Employers are required to make the following contributions:
1. Family benefits: 6.4%
2. Death and other daily compensation for illness, pregnancy etc: 8.6% (capped at MAD 6,000)
3. Professional training tax: 1.6% (uncapped)
4. Mandatory health insurance: 3.5% (uncapped)
For more details, please refer to the section on Employment.
|Employees Social Security and statutory contributions||
Employees are required to make the following contributions:
1. Death and other daily compensation for illness, pregnancy etc: 4.29% (capped at MAD 6,000)
2. Mandatory health insurance: 2.0% (uncapped)
For more details, please refer to the section on Employment.
Foreign companies operating in Morocco may find it challenging to deal with the complexities of the country’s tax system. The primary concerns for a foreign company that needs to comply with tax laws in Morocco are: Individual income tax (IIT) for employees in Morocco, social security costs, VAT, withholding tax, business tax and permanent establishment concerns.
|Remote Payroll ?||
A remote payroll in Morocco is where a foreign company, i.e. a non-resident company, payrolls a resident employee in Morocco. This applies to both local and foreign employees. One option for a non-resident company to payroll its employees (local and foreign) in Morocco is to use a fully outsourced service like a GEO or PEO which will employ and payroll the staff on their behalf.
|Local Payroll Administration ?||
In some cases, a company will register their business in Morocco under one of the forms available but prefer to have another company administer its payroll. This can be accomplished through a payroll provider. It is important to note that the company, as the Employer of Record, is still fully responsible for compliance with employment, immigration, tax and payroll regulations. But the payroll calculations, payments and filings can all be outsourced to the payroll provider.
|Internal Payroll ?||
Larger companies with a commitment to Morocco may wish to run their own local payroll for all employees, foreign and local. In order to accomplish this, they will have to complete the incorporation, register the business and then hire the necessary staff. There will be a need for in country human resources personnel who have the background needed to manage a Moroccan payroll and can fulfil all tax, withholding tax and payroll requirements.
This approach carries significant cost and requires some knowledge of local employment and payroll regulations. The company will need a local accounting firm and potentially legal counsel to ensure full compliance with Moroccan employment laws.
|Fully Outsourced Payroll & Employment ?||
Companies can outsource the employment and payroll of their staff in Morocco to a GEO, like Shield GEO. This is possible for both foreign workers and Moroccan nationals. This is the easiest, fastest and safest way to payroll staff in Morocco.
Shield GEO manages all aspects of payroll for workers in Morocco, including taxes, withholding, social security payments and other statutory requirements. Shield GEO becomes the Employer of Record and employs the staff on behalf of the client.
Staff are paid monthly with tax and social security deducted at source and paid to local authorities. Shield GEO will invoice the client monthly in advance of the payroll date. The invoice consists of the Total Cost of Employment (Base salary + Employers Statutory Contributions + Additional statutory contributions) and a Management Fee. Shield GEO provides the employees with payslips.
Read more about outsourced payroll and employment through Shield GEO.
|National Currency ?||
Morocco dirham, MAD
|Corporate Income Tax ?||
The current corporate income tax rate (impôt sur les sociétés) is 30%. However, a special rate of 37% applies to insurance and banking and financial institutions.
Preferential rates apply to companies with a taxable income of MAD 300,000.
|Income Tax Rate ?||
|Payroll Tax ?||
|Sales Tax ?||
VAT is imposed on the supply of taxable goods and services in Morocco. Taxable persons charge VAT on their taxable supplies (output tax) and are charged with VAT on goods which they receive (input tax).
The current standard rate of VAT imposed on taxable goods and services is 20%, with reduced rates of 14%, 10% and 7%.
|Withholding Tax ?||
Morocco imposes withholding tax (WHT) on certain classes of income earned by non-residents:-
A reduced rate may be available under an applicable Double Tax Treaty.
|Other Tax ?||
|Time to prepare and Pay Taxes ?||
|Time required to start a Business ?||
As in most other countries, the hiring of foreign nationals in Morocco is subject to the availability of qualified local candidates to perform the role. Foreigners wishing to work in Morocco are required to obtain a work permit and registration card, which indicates the nature of the work that will be performed in the country.
Foreign nationals are permitted to work in Morocco if they fall under one of the following situations:
A foreign company that wishes to employ foreign nationals must first set up its Moroccan subsidiary / branch / representative office. This Moroccan entity is then required to apply for the relevant work permit for the employee before the employee commences work in Morocco.
Step 1: Certificate from ANAPEC (not secondment)
Companies are only able to hire foreign nationals after proving that there are no suitable local candidates for the job. This is done by obtaining a certificate from the National Agency for the Development of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), confirming the non-availability of any Moroccan candidates to fill the position offered to the foreign applicant.
Categories of employees exempt from the requirement to obtain a certificate issued by ANAPEC:
Step 2: Contract endorsement from the Ministry of Employment and work permit application
Companies wishing to employ foreign nationals must also obtain approval from the Ministry of Employment. Foreign nationals’ employment contracts must follow the model established by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training. The forms to be completed can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website. Next, the contract must be certified by the Department of Employment in the Moroccan Ministry of Employment.
The Ministry has launched an online service for the instruction and endorsement of employment-contract files for foreign employees (first establishment and renewal). For first-time applicants, the following documents are required:
Authorisation is granted in the form of a visa stamped on the employment contract. If authorisation is denied, the employer must bear the costs of sending the employee back to his country of origin or residence.
The date of the visa is the date at which the employment contract takes effect. Any modification to the contract (e.g. working conditions) must be communicated to the ministry and requires a new visa and authorisation, which can be withdrawn at any time by the Ministry of Employment. For indefinite-term employment contracts, foreign nationals may also be required to apply for a new residency permit and visa every year.
Step 3: Obtain an entry visa to Morocco
Applicants must submit the following documents to the Moroccan diplomatic and consular authorities:
Note that the individual diplomatic authorities may request further documentation, depending on the individual application.
In countries without a Moroccan diplomatic presence, applications should be made to the accredited diplomatic authority in the relevant country or via honorary consuls. If no such representation is available, applications should be made directly to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Department of Consular and Social Affairs, in Rabat (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the visa to be forwarded for collection at the airport.
Step 4: Obtain registration card
All foreign nationals intending to work in Morocco are required to obtain a work permit and registration card (indicating the nature of the work). These are valid from 1 – 10 years (maximum), but are renewable for an unlimited number of times.
Foreign nationals are required to go to the National Security Service or Royal Gendarmerie in the municipal district where they reside and submit a registration application, before their visa expires or within ninety days of entering Morocco. On making an application to obtain a registration card, the foreign national is given a receipt which is valid for a provisional period.
The length of the registration card is determined based on the reasons for the application and the documents submitted, as well as any bilateral conventions or agreements between Morocco and the applicant’s nationality.
For registration cards that are “for work reasons”, foreign nationals must submit an employment contract endorsed by the Moroccan Ministry of Employment, plus an entry visa to Morocco bearing the words “for work reasons”. Foreign nationals wishing to practice a professional activity subject to licensing must furnish a Moroccan entry visa authorising them to practice the intended activity.
Agency: National Security Service or Royal Gendarmerie
Cost: MAD 100 per year of intended duration of the registration card
Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hands, coordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.
|Category||Description of Visa|
1. A visa application form duly filled out in capital letters and signed
Generally valid for 90 days.
Foreign nationals wishing to set up independent companies or businesses in Morocco may elect to be self-employed. However, they must hold valid work permits and residence cards. The minimum amount of capital required depends on the type of business or company that a foreign national intends to start.
Family members intending to reside with the foreign national in Morocco are required to independently apply for their own work and residence permits.
When setting up a company you may want to consider these factors:
Generally, Morocco does not impose any restrictions on foreigners wishing to invest in the country. In deciding on whether to invest in Morocco, you may also want to consider the following when making your decision :-
Location will be another factor. Separate cities and regions may have different rules, costs and availability. It is always recommended to seek advice from relevant professionals, such as business or legal advisors, accountants and others depending on your need.
There are three types of business forms available to foreign companies in Morocco. Each of these business forms has distinct advantages and disadvantages, as well as differing scope of business activities, registration requirements and minimum capital requirements. In most cases it will depend on the degree of commitment a company has to Morocco and the planned business activity.
When setting up a company in Morocco, you have the following options:-
This article provides a general guideline for foreign businesses on entering Morocco for business purposes. In particular, it looks at common pathways to establishing a business presence in Morocco, generally through a corporation, branch office or liaison office. In addition, various economic, tax and regulatory factors are provided throughout as a source of useful information to assist those who will enter the Moroccan economy. The guide also looks at some immigration requirements such as obtaining appropriate visa status.
Data is based on the time of writing, November 2015 or closest available dates.
In Morocco, there are two main types of corporations (registered companies) that can be set up:
1.Private limited company (S.a.r.l.) [société à responsabilité limitée]
Investment capital requirements
There is no minimum capital requirement for foreign investors intending to establish a private limited company in Morocco, with the share capital free to be set in the by-laws by its partners. However, it is common practice that the standard share capital is set as MAD 10,000. 25% of the share capital must be paid up upon set-up. Shares in the S.a.r.l. are divided into shares with equal par value, which must all be subscribed by the partners. The maximum amount of shareholders a S.a.r.l. may have is 50. The sole shareholder of the S.a.r.l. also cannot be another S.a.r.l. formed by a single person.
Funds from paid up capital are deposited into a blocked bank account within the 8 days following their receipt if the fixed share capital exceeds MAD 100,000. They can only be withdrawn after registration with the Trade Register
Contributions made in kind must be fully paid-up.
Shares are freely transferable by inheritance and between partners, spouses, parents, and allies, but can only be transferred to a third party after approval by the majority of the partners owning at least ¾ of shares.
Management of a S.a.r.l. can be assumed by one or more natural persons. The managers (gérants), may be appointed by the articles of association or by a 3/4 majority decision of shareholders. They may also be chosen among the shareholders themselves or third parties. The managers make all management decisions on behalf of the company and he/she may be held personally liable under civil and criminal law to the company or third parties.
Generally, there are no management restrictions for foreign nationals, except in certain specific business sectors (for example, pharmaceuticals).
Accounting / auditing requirements
The company’s annual accounts and management report must be filed with the clerk of the Commercial Court within six months of the end of the fiscal year and within 30 days of the ordinary shareholders meeting (if the annual accounts have not been approved, a copy of the minutes of the meeting must be filed).
There are several reporting requirements to the Trade Registrar, such as filing:
Approval of the annual accounts.
Auditors’ reports on the financial statements.
Companies with an annual turnover exceeding MAD 50 million must appoint at least one auditor.
2. Public limited company (S.A.) [Société Anonyme]
Investment capital requirements
Incorporation of an SA requires a minimum of 5 shareholders and a minimum of MAD 300,000 [MAD 3,000,000 for publicly traded S.A.s]. 100% of the capital must be fully subscribed during incorporation, however only 25% of this must be paid up with the remaining 75% paid up within the following three years. All contributions in kind must be fully paid up when issued. Shares can only be publicly traded once the corporation has registered with the Trade Register or after a capital increase. The par value of the shares cannot be less than MAD 50. However, the minimum par value for publicly traded S.A.s is MAD 10.
The Executive Board (directoire) consists of a maximum of 5 members (who must be natural persons) [7 for quoted companies] who appointed by the Supervisory Board. They may not necessarily be shareholders of the company. However, only one member is required if the company has a share capital less than EUR 150,000. They have a tenure of 4 years.
The Supervisory Board (conseil de surveillance) consists of at least 3 members and a maximum of 12, appointed in the company’s by-laws. Members are elected by shareholders during the Ordinary General Meeting. Members of the Supervisory Board cannot also be named to the Executive Board. The Supervisory Board has permanent control over the Executive Board and defines major business goals.
Accounting / auditing requirements
One or more auditors will be assigned to the monitoring and follow-up of the business’s corporate account.
3. Simplified public limited company (S.A.S.) [Société Anonyme Simplifiee]
A simplified public limited company is a company consisting of two or more companies with a view to creating or managing a common subsidiary, or to creating a company which will become their common parent company.
Investment capital requirements
Each partner must contribute a minimum capital of MAD 2,000,000. The S.A.S. is formed through by-laws signed by all its partners.
All the fixed capital must be fully-paid up during the time the by-laws are signed. The S.A.S. is also not permitted to trade on a stock exchange.
The president (who can be a legal person) is initially appointed by the company’s by-laws. Thereafter, he or she will be appointed in the manner described in the by-laws.
Steps for Incorporation
Incorporation in Morocco is a relatively quick and straightforward process.
Step 1: Obtaining a “Certificat Négatif” online, which registers the company name at the Regional Investment Center (CRI, Centre Regional d’Investissement)
The Certificat Négatif is proof that the business name required is not already in use and that it may be registered with the Trade Register. It is issued by the OMPIC (Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office) and is valid for one year. After one year, negative certificates that have not been submitted for registration with the Trade Register will be cancelled while negative certificates that have not been collected will be cancelled after one month.
Documents required: Completed application form (the form is initially provided by the CRI), National identification card or passport, Photocopy of the national identification card or passport if the investor is being represented by another person.
The certificat négatif can be obtained in person or online here.
Time: 1 day
Cost: MAD 230 (MAD 210 + MAD 20 droits de timbres)
Step 2: Establishment of the company by-laws and completion of company subscription form
The by-laws are a group of contractual provisions which define the rules applicable to a specific legal situation. They can take one of two forms: notarial or private deed. The subscription form is a document to be filled in the case of a contribution to the formation of a business’s capital. It includes a cash pledge.
Agency: Private law firms
Step 4: Freezing of paid-up capital
The deposit must be made within 8 days after the company has received the funds. A freeze certificate will be issued by the bank.
Documents required: S.A. and S.A.Ss will require the company by-laws, negative certificate, identification, subscription forms. S.a.r.l.s will require all documents except the company subscription form. Subsequently, the company will need to draw up the statement of subscription and payment.
Agency: Private law firms, bank
Step 5: File documents with CRI to register with the Ministry of Finance for patent tax, with the Tribunal of Commerce, and for social security and taxation
The applicant is required to download a single declaration form for setting up a busienss (formulaire unique declaration de création d’entreprise) from the Internet. After completing the form, the applicant files the incorporation documents at the CRI. The Centre Regional d’Investissement (CRI) acts as a central processing centre for the following procedures:
Deposit of by-laws
• Rent contract or deed of purchase
• The minutes of the appointment of the manager or of the nomination of the president, auditors, or administrators
Corporate tax registration
Cost: No charge
Trade registration at the commercial trade registry
Cost: MAD 350
Social security registration
Cost: No charge
Publication in the Journal of Legal Notices and Official Bulletin
Once registered with the Trade Register, the applicant is required to make two publications: one in the Journal of Legal Notices and one in the Official Bulletin within a month of the company’s registration.
When submitting the form and all documents, the applicant is required to include the text for publication in both publications in typed Arabic. Although the announcement is published in the Official Gazette in 30 days, a receipt from submitting the publication is sufficient for filing the registration documents with the Tribunal of Commerce.
Cost: Variable. DH 150 publication fee (DH 8-9/ line in business paper, DH4/ line in the official bulletin).
The applicant will receive the “patente,” the fiscal identification, the commercial registration certificate, legal books, and the social security registration (CNSS registration) after about one week.
Step 6: Obtain a company seal
Agency: Seal makers
Time: 1 day
Cost: MAD 200
For more information on the incorporation process, please refer here.
Foreign corporations operating in Morocco can operate as a branch office (succursales) without the need to incorporate. However, it is generally advisable to incorporate rather than set up a branch office in Morocco, given the numerous drawbacks associated with having a branch office.
It is sometimes advisable to form a separate corporation abroad to act as the head office of the Moroccan branch for various reasons, including tax considerations. In general, a branch office may be suitable for the following situations:
1) Where a specific contract project is involved and no future commercial or industrial activity in Morocco is planned
2) Where the duration of the contract or project is for a limited period, for instance up to two or three years (not applicable to waste water treatment services).
Investment capital requirement and management
There is no minimum level of investment capital and only one branch manager is required.
Steps for setting up a branch
While some investors may feel that setting up a branch is simpler, in practice it is neither simpler nor quicker to form a branch than to set up a limited liability company.
A branch is not recognised as a separate legal entity under Moroccan corporate legislation. As such, it is required to legally appoint a representative to act on its behalf in Morocco. The powers of the legal representative must be clearly defined in writing and a notary public or the Moroccan Embassy/Consulate in the country of origin must authenticate the signatures of head office officials empowered to delegate such powers to the local representative. Furthermore, the branch is subject to all laws applicable to its foreign parent company.
Before opening a branch in Morocco, the foreign parent must file two certified copies of its articles, which have been translated into French with the Commercial Court. Each year, the foreign company also has to furnish two certified true copies of its accounts [translated into French].
Branch profits are also subject to branch remittance tax of 15%, unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable Double Tax Treaty.
A liaison office (bureau de liaison) is not an independent legal entity and hence, may not conduct direct commercial or revenue-generating activities with the execution of contracts, receipt of funds, sale or purchase of goods, or provision of services. Its sole purpose is to collect market information and promote the foreign corporation’s business.
Liaison offices must be registered with the Trade Register and their managing directors must have business permits.
Whether to incorporate in Morocco, and what sort of entity to setup are just two of the many choices companies must make when expanding into a new market.
If the company intends to have staff in Morocco, they must also decide whether they will administer that employment internally or use a Global Employment Organisation to handle payroll and employment responsibilities. A GEO Employer of Record solution is an attractive alternative where
The complexity of employment regulations in Morocco makes the use of a GEO advisable coupled with local legal counsel to ensure full compliance with employment laws, for example the drafting of local contracts for workers.
Shield GEO provides a comprehensive service in Morocco allowing companies to deploy their staff quickly with reasonable, clearly stated costs and timeframes. The company contracts directly with Shield to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf in Morocco.
Shield GEO then becomes the Employer of Record. Shield GEO assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, sponsoring them on work permits, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Morocco. Read more about outsourced employment through Shield GEO.
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