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Country snapshot

Key considerations
Which issues would you most highlight to someone new to your country?

Angola is one of the main oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa. When the civil war ended in 2002, the national economy grew very quickly, driven mainly by the development of the oil and gas and mining industries. However, the Angolan economy has become much more diversified, and as a result the recent decrease in the international crude oil price has not interfered with the country’s economic growth.

The country’s public institutions can generally deal with all issues. The labour authorities are particularly active in enforcing the complex administrative and reporting duties established by national employment laws.

What do you consider unique to those doing business in your country?

Angola has numerous regulations governing all aspects of the employment relationship.

The most relevant regulation is the ‘Angolanisation’ principle, or the 70/30 rule. Under this principle, at least 70% of the workforce at a company that employs more than five workers must be Angolan nationals and only 30% may be foreign non-resident (ie, expatriate) individuals.

Angolan employment law sets out two categories of employee:

  • national and foreign resident employees; and
  • foreign non-resident or expatriate employees, who are subject to complex immigration restrictions and specific recruitment and hiring rules.

There are also regulations dealing with mandatory allowances and specific social security benefits (eg, the family allowance) which must be paid by employers in lieu of the social security system.

The new General Labour Law (7/15), which comes into force on September 15 2015, uses the concept of micro, small, medium and large companies to differentiate the legal rules applicable to various aspects of the employment relationship.

Is there any general advice you would give in the employment area?

Angolan employment law offers excellent protection to employees. Termination is subject to strict rules and an employee can be dismissed based only on either serious infringement by the employee or an objective and economic reason that is not the fault of the employer and renders it impossible for the employment relationship to continue. Thus, employment litigation is common, as employees enjoy a broad set of rights.

In addition, a company’s human resources department must fulfil many administrative and reporting duties; failure to do so exposes the company to fines.

Emerging issues/hot topics/proposals for reform
Are there any noteworthy proposals for reform in your jurisdiction?

The new General Labour Law (7/15) was recently enacted, repealing the former General Labour Law (2/00). The new law comes into force on September 15 2015 and sets out substantially different rules regarding the key aspects of the employment relationship.

What are the emerging trends in employment law in your jurisdiction?

The General Labour Law uses the concept of micro, small, medium and large companies to differentiate the legal rules applicable to various aspects of the employment relationship. The law states that micro, small and medium companies are subject to more flexible work rules and more efficient and cost-effective work standards. For example, micro, small and medium companies may enter into fixed-term employment contracts with a maximum duration of 10 years, unlike large companies, which can enter into contracts of up to five years only.

The new law is also designed to reduce certain labour costs (eg, overtime premiums) and compensation in case of termination.

The employment relationship

Country specific laws
What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?

At present, the General Labour Law (2/00) is the main statute that governs all aspects of the employment relationship. On September 15 2015 it will be replaced by the new General Labour Law (7/15). There is also other derivative legislation on various lateral aspects of the employment relationship.

The recruitment and hiring of foreign non-resident (expatriate) employees is subject to the following specific legislation:

  • Decree 5/95;
  • the Regulations on the Exercise of Professional Activities by Foreign Non-resident Employees (Decree 6/01);
  • the Visa Law (2/07); and
  • the Visa Law Regulations (Presidential Decree 108/11).

Collective labour law is governed by the following statutes:

  • the Trade Union Law (21-C/92);
  • the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining (20-A/92); and
  • the Strike Law (23/91).

Who do these cover, including categories of worker?

The General Labour Law (2/00) applies to all categories of worker. Both the General Labour Law and the new General Labour Law (7/15) exclude from the scope of application the following categories of worker:

  • employees hired on a permanent basis by the diplomatic or consular representatives of other countries, or at the service of international organisations, who perform their activities within the scope of the Vienna Convention;
  • members of cooperatives and non-governmental organisations whose employment is regulated by the organisation’s articles of association or, if there are none, by the Commercial Law;
  • family employees;
  • occasional workers;
  • consultants and members of the administration or directorship bodies of companies or social organisations provided that they carry out only tasks that are inherent to such positions without any subordination pursuant to an employment contract; and
  • public servants or employees performing their professional activity within the public, central or local administration, in a public institution or in another government agency.

Foreign non-resident (expatriate) employees are subject to specific statutes; however, the General Labour Law applies to them on a complementary basis.

Misclassification
Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?

Yes. Article 3.3 of the new General Labour Law (7/15) defines an ‘employment contract’ as “a contract whereby an employee undertakes to make available his professional activity to an employer’s benefit, within its relevant organization and under its guidance and authority, in consideration for remuneration”. The definition of ‘employee’ is set out in Article 3.27 of the same law: “Any natural person, national or foreign resident, who freely undertakes to make his professional activity available to an employer, in consideration for remuneration, within the employer’s organization and under its authority and guidance.”

Under Article 1154 of the Civil Code, a ‘services agreement’ is the “agreement whereby one of the parties undertakes to make available the result of his/her intellectual or manual work, with or without pay”.

Contracts
Must an employment contract be in writing?

No. However, certain specific types of employment contract (eg, fixed-term employment contracts and training contracts) must be in writing.

Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

Yes. For example, employment contracts for an unlimited term are always subject to an implied probation period of 60 days.

Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?

Under the General Labour Law (2/00), all labour disputes fall under the sole jurisdiction of the provincial labour courts. Any agreements providing for alternative means of dispute resolution are invalid and unenforceable.

Once the new General Labour Law (7/15) comes into force on September 15 2015, agreements to arbitrate will be valid and enforceable. However, all arbitration proceedings will be subject to the procedural rules set out by the law. Conciliation and mediation proceedings will also be possible before the General Inspectorate of Labour Services and the Public Attorney’s Office.

How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

In general, employers may make unilateral amendments to existing employment agreements if this prerogative has not been expressly excluded by the employment contract or a legal provision. The new General Labour Law (7/15) grants employers broader prerogatives to vary certain aspects of the employment relationship unilaterally (eg, workplace and working hours).

Foreign workers
Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?

Yes. National and foreign resident employees (ie, foreign citizens holding a residency permit) are subject to the same rules on recruitment, hiring and termination as set out by the General Labour Law (2/00). Foreign non-resident employees (ie, foreign citizens holding a work visa) may be hired only on a fixed-term basis (ranging from three to 36 months) and are subject to recruitment and hiring requirements, plus specific immigration restrictions.

Recruitment

Advertising
What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

All jobs must be advertised under non-discriminatory terms. The advertisement should set out the basic terms and conditions for recruitment and hiring – for example, the type of employment contract, the workplace and the work schedule (ie, full time or part time). All job offers must be referred to the employment centre with jurisdiction over the employer’s location.

If the job offer is included in the process of hiring a foreign non-resident, the offer must also be referred to the competent employment centre and advertised in the media. In this case, it is essential that the offer make a detailed description of the required and applicable skills, educational and professional qualifications and certifications, in order to demonstrate to the employment centre that no Angolan nationals were suitable for the job, in case the employer fails to appoint someone.

Background checks
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a) Criminal records?

The employer may request the employee to present a copy of his or her up-to-date criminal record if the position requires the employee’s record to be pre-screened.

(b) Medical history?

Employers are required to request employees to present copies of their vaccination cards to confirm compliance with the national vaccination programme.

Further, the employer may submit employees to pre-employment medical examinations and regular medical examinations. The employer is free to define the medical and physical requirements for the performance of a job and the examinations needed to assess employees’ fitness. In this context, the employer may require employees to present information on their medical history to the medical professional carrying out the examinations and testing. The employer must have access to the medical certificate confirming the employee’s fitness or unfitness for work, which must be available for audit by the General Inspectorate of Labour.

In general, testing for HIV and AIDS and related medical history is not allowed. If permitted, it must be based on exceptional reasons of public safety in relation to the specific job and be authorised previously and supervised by the labour and medical authorities.

(c) Drug screening?

In general, drug screening is allowed in the context of pre-employment and regular medical examinations. Invasive testing (eg, blood tests) is subject to particular requirements.

(d) Credit checks?

An employer may ask employees to declare their credit status during the recruitment process and on a regular basis for positions which require a positive credit status. In general, credit checks with third-party authorities, banks and other credit institutions are not allowed, as this is considered to be privileged and confidential personal information.

(e) Immigration status?

An employer is required to confirm the nationality and immigration status of all employees.

(f) Social media?

An employer may look into employees’ social media use if the employees agree, in line with the Angolan data protection laws and the site rules.

(g) Other?

Other background checks and enquiries must be based on the need of the employer to confirm an employee’s suitability for the job. The employer must adhere to non-discriminatory principles and ensure that the employee’s personal information is processed under the applicable data protection laws.

Wages and working time

Pay
Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

Yes. The national minimum wage is set according to industry sector. Presidential Decree 144/14 (June 9 2013) established the following values for the national minimum wage:

  • commerce and mining – Kz22,504.50 (approximately $230);
  • transport, services and manufacturing – Kz18,754 (approximately $190); and
  • agriculture – Kz15,003 (approximately $160).

Are there restrictions on working hours?

The maximum normal working hours are 44 hours a week and eight hours a day, Monday to half-day Saturday. The weekly limit may be extended to 54 hours for shift, modular or variable working hours where a recovery timetable applies, the work is intermittent or the employee's mere presence is required.

The daily work limits may also be extended:

  • to nine hours a day when the work is intermittent or requires the mere presence of the employee, and the employer concentrates the working week in five consecutive days;
  • to 10 hours a day when the work is intermittent or requires the mere presence of the employee and the employer adopts shift, modular or variable working hours, or where a recovery timetable applies; and
  • to 12 hours a day for rotational work timetables of up to four weeks of consecutive work followed by an equal period of rest.

Working hours exceeding these limits are deemed to be overtime.

Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

Under the General Labour Law (2/00), all employees are entitled to a break of between one and two hours on each working day, so that they do not work for more than five consecutive hours. On the employer’s request, the General Inspectorate of Labour may authorise the daily break to be reduced to 30 minutes for operational reasons. The daily break may also be removed in exceptional circumstances (assessed on a case-by-case basis), on prior consultation with the employees’ representative body and authorisation of the General Inspectorate of Labour.

Pursuant to the new General Labour Law (7/15), as of September 15 2015 employees will be entitled to a break of between 45 and 90 minutes each working day.

How should overtime be calculated?

The General Labour Law (2/00) provides that work performed outside the normal daily work period – whether before or after the working day, during rest or meal breaks or on the weekly non-working days – is deemed to be overtime. Further, the following limits apply to overtime:

  • two hours for each day of work;
  • 40 hours for each month of work; and
  • 200 hours annually.

Overtime carried out on regular working days and Saturdays entitles employees to the following compensation:

  • an additional 50% of the employee’s hourly salary, up to the limit of 30 hours’ overtime per month; and
  • an additional 75% of the employee’s hourly salary for overtime exceeding the 30-hour monthly limit.

Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), micro, small and medium-sized companies will be subject to reduced overtime premiums.

Overtime carried out on Sundays and public holidays entitles employees to the following:

  • an additional 100% of the employee’s hourly salary, with minimum compensation of three hours of overtime work at this rate; and
  • the right to a compensatory rest period to be taken during the following week, with a duration equal to a half-day of work if the employee carries out less than four hours of overtime or a full day of work if the employee carried out four or more hours of overtime. The compensatory rest period for overtime work rendered on a public holiday should be taken in the three working days following the holiday.

Overtime premiums are set based on the employee’s hourly salary and calculated as follows: (monthly base salary x 12) : (52 x weekly work schedule).

The compensation for overtime is calculated by applying the relevant percentage on top of the applicable hourly salary rate.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

Under the General Labour Law (2/00), all personnel at all levels are eligible for overtime. An employee may be partially excluded from overtime only under the exemption from a fixed work schedule. The exemption from a fixed work schedule applies only to the following employees:

  • Employees in managerial positions are by definition, and without requiring authorisation from the General Inspectorate of Labour, exempt from a fixed work schedule and are not subject to the maximum daily and weekly work limits. However, work rendered on Sundays, public holidays and the weekly half-day of rest (generally Saturday afternoon) qualifies as overtime and entitles employees to the related compensation. These employees are not entitled to any additional allowance in consideration for their exemption from a fixed work schedule. The new General Labour Law (7/15) widens the scope of this type of exemption to all management, leadership, advisory and supervisory positions.
  • Employees who perform confidential or inspection duties for the employer, as well as employees who regularly perform work outside of a fixed work location and whose work is not subject to close supervision and control, may also be exempt from a fixed work schedule. This exemption depends on the employer requesting authorisation from the General Inspectorate of Labour. Under the new General Labour Law, such authorisation will no longer be required. Work rendered on Sundays, public holidays and the weekly half-day of rest (generally Saturday afternoon) qualifies as overtime. These employees cannot work more than 10 hours a day and are always entitled to a daily break of one hour. Under Article 110 of the General Labour Law, they are entitled to specific compensation of at least one hour of overtime work a day.

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Yes. Under the General Labour Law (2/00), employees are entitled to 22 days of paid holiday a year.

When an employee starts a new job, the holiday allowance for the first year of employment corresponds to two working days for each month of work, with a minimum of six working days, which matures on July 1 for employees hired in the first semester and on January 1 of the following year for employees hired in the second semester. Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), the right to holiday in the year of starting work matures on January 1 of the following year and holiday can be taken only once the employee has worked for six months.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

The salaries paid to employees in Angola are subject to two legal deductions: income-related tax (IRT) and social security contributions.

The IRT rates are progressive depending on the salary amount, with the highest rate being 17%.

Social security contributions are shared between the employer (8%) and the employee (3%), amounting to a total contribution of 11%. Employers pay their contributions by applying the 8% rate on top of employees’ base salaries and the remaining relevant allowances, and must deduct employees’ 3% contribution from their monthly remuneration and remit the total contribution to the Social Security National Institute by the 10th day of the following month. Expatriate employees need not pay Angolan social security contributions if they can prove to the local social security authority that they are covered by the system of their home country.

Record keeping
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Employers must keep records of the payroll list or the relevant payslips. Tax and social security payment forms must also be kept on file.

Discrimination, harassment & family leave

What is the position in relation to:
Protected categories

(a) Age?

The minimum working age is 14 years. The General Labour Law (2/00) provides that an employer may enter into an employment relationship with a minor aged between 14 and 18, provided that authorisation is obtained from the parent, legal guardian, person or institution in charge of the minor or, in their absence, from the General Inspectorate of Labour or other appropriate entity.

Employees aged between 14 and 18 benefit from additional protection regarding:

  • the type of work they may carry out;
  • the medical examinations to which they are subject;
  • their work schedule (no more than 34 hours a week);
  • overtime; and
  • termination (intervention by the General Inspectorate of Labour is required).

(b) Race

Angolan law sets down the general principle of equality of rights between employees regardless of their race and therefore prohibits discrimination based on race.

(c) Disability?

Employees who are disabled (with reduced working capacity) enjoy additional protection regarding:

  • the type of work they may carry out;
  • their work schedule (ideally part time);
  • overtime; and
  • termination.

(d) Gender?

Angolan law sets down the general principle of equality of rights between employees regardless of their gender and therefore prohibits discrimination based on gender.

(e) Sexual orientation?

Angolan law sets down the general principle of equality of rights between employees regardless of their sexual orientation and therefore prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

(f) Religion?

Angolan law sets down the general principle of equality of rights between employees regardless of their religion and therefore prohibits discrimination based on religion.

(g) Medical?

Angolan law sets down the general principle of equality of rights between employees regardless of medical conditions and therefore prohibits discrimination based on medical conditions.

Disabled employees are entitled to particular protection in terms of overtime and termination.

(h) Other?

In regard to employees with HIV/AIDS, the employer must implement specific regulations. It must set up education and awareness programmes on HIV/AIDS involving the families of employees and trainees. Further, employers cannot:

  • conduct HIV tests at the workplace (except when requested by the employee) as a prerequisite for hiring;
  • discriminate against HIV-positive employees in the workplace; or
  • use HIV-positive status as a factor in dismissals or promotions.

Family and medical leave
What is the position in relation to family and medical leave?

Under the General Labour Law (2/00), employees are entitled to be absent from work due to illness, without limitation, provided that such absence is documented and justified by means of a medical certificate.

Provided that a medical certificate is supplied, an employee is entitled to remuneration for the period of absence, paid in the form of sick leave by the employer or the local social security authority (in the case of natural illness), or the insurer (in the case of occupational disease) under the mandatory work compensation insurance policy.

Regarding family leave, 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.

Valid absences from work due to illness or family assistance cannot affect the employee’s position or be deducted from the employee’s annual holiday allowance.

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.

Harassment
What is the position in relation to harassment?

Neither the General Labour Law (2/00) nor the new General Labour Law (7/15) makes specific provision to prevent harassment. However, under the General Labour Law, both parties to the employment relationship (ie, the employer and the employee) have the duty to treat each other with respect and loyalty.

Whistleblowing
What is the position in relation to whistleblowing?

The law makes no specific provision in regard to whistleblowing.

Privacy in the workplace

Privacy and monitoring
What are employees’ rights with regard to privacy and monitoring?

The employment law makes no specific provision in regard to privacy and monitoring. However, the Constitution provides that “private means of communications” (including emails) cannot be breached without a judicial order to that effect. Under Angolan law, although a company may own a laptop or email account, it is not the owner of private messages sent to a specific employee. Pursuant to both the General Labour Law (2/00) and the new General Labour Law (7/15), the employee has the right to be treated with consideration and respect. It is commonly accepted that this includes respect for his or her private life and personal communications (even if those communications are received through tools provided by the employer).

To what extent can employers regulate off-duty conduct?

Employers may regulate off-duty conduct to the extent that it has a detrimental impact on the employment relationship.

Are there rules protecting social media passwords in the employment context and/or on employer monitoring of employee social media accounts?

No rules specifically address the protection of employees’ social media passwords or the monitoring of employees’ social media accounts. Nevertheless, general principles such as the constitutional right to privacy, dignity and integrity do not allow the employer to intrude into employees’ social media accounts without authorisation. The employee’s consent may be deemed null and void in the context of an employment relationship.

Trade secrets and restrictive covenants

Intellectual Property
Who owns IP rights created by employees during the course of their employment?

The law provides for a coexisting set of rights over intellectual creations protected by copyright:

  • moral rights (ie, the right of paternity and the right to be mentioned on the work), which according to the law belong in a permanent and inalienable way to the natural person who created the work; and
  • economic rights (ie, the right to market and exploit a work and use it in any way), which may be transferred, in whole or in part, by means of an agreement between the author and any third parties.

Copyright belongs to the employer only to the extent that this does not comprise moral rights, as these remain with the author (ie, the employee).

In relation to industrial property rights (ie, patents, utility models and industrial designs), the right to apply for a patent for an invention made under a contract belongs to the employer. However:

  • the application to register the patent must be filed in Angola;
  • the employer must file a declaration supporting its right; and
  • the inventor/employee must be identified on the patent registration form.

The right to apply for a patent for an invention created in the course of an employment contract belongs exclusively to the employee if the invention was developed with the employee’s own equipment, materials or means.

If both the employer and the employee have contributed to the invention equally, unless agreed otherwise between the parties, they will both own the invention. In this case the employer has the right to use/develop the invention and the employee has the right to remuneration as agreed between the parties. However, the patent must be used by the employer within one year of registration; otherwise, the employee will be considered the sole owner of the patent.

Restrictive covenants
What types of restrictive covenants are recognised and enforceable?

Both the General Labour Law (2/00) and the new General Labour Law (7/15) address agreements between employers aimed at restricting the hiring of employees. The laws provide that employers shall “not enter into or adhere to agreements with other employers aiming at the limitation in the hiring of employees who have rendered services to them, and not to hire, under penalty of incurring in civil liability, employees still included in the personnel list of another employer, whenever such hiring would result in unfair competition”.

Non-compete
Are there any special rules on non-competes for particular classes of employee?

If the employee consents, it is possible to establish a non-compete obligation for a period of up to three years following termination, provided that the following requirements are met:

  • A non-compete clause is included in a written employment contract or an addendum thereto.
  • The activity in question may cause real damage to the employer and is deemed unfair competition.
  • The employee is paid compensation during the restricted period, and the amount of compensation is stated in the contract or an addendum thereto. The compensation may be reduced equitably if the employer incurred costs in training the employee.

At present, non-compete obligations apply only to work within 100 kilometres of the location of the previous employment. This rule will cease to exist under the new General Labour Law (7/15).

Discipline and grievance procedures

Procedures
Are there specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures?

Yes. Disciplinary procedures are subject to the mandatory provisions set out in the General Labour Law (2/00) and new General Labour Law (7/15). There are no specific laws regarding grievance procedures.

Industrial relations

Unions and layoffs
Is your country (or a particular area) known to be heavily unionised?

Except in the oil and gas, mining and banking sectors, there is generally a low degree of employee unionisation. However, in these sectors unions are very active.

What are the rules on trade union recognition?

The Trade Union Law (21-C/92) sets down no rules or procedures for union recognition by employers. As soon as a union is incorporated and registered with the Ministry of Justice and has affiliated employees, it may represent employees. The law sets out no minimum percentage of employee representation.

What are the rules on collective bargaining?

All employers and unions may enter into collective bargaining agreements under the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining (20-A/92). Where there is no union representation, the employees may set up an ad hoc commission aimed at negotiating and concluding a collective bargaining agreement with the employer, subject to complex requirements.

If more than one union represents an employer’s employees, the unions must set up a joint negotiation committee composed of representatives from each union in the same proportion as the employees are represented.

The negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement must be finalised within 90 days of the employer receiving the union/employees’ initial proposal. If this process is unsuccessful, the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve collective labour conflicts – notably conciliation, mediation and arbitration. Unions/employees may call a strike if the negotiations are deadlocked when the deadline for reaching an agreement passes.

A collective bargaining agreement requires all the parties to maintain social peace while it is in force, rendering illegal any strike action or collective labour conflict during that period. Once the effective period has elapsed, the agreement shall continue to bind the parties until it is replaced by a new or amended collective bargaining agreement.

Termination

Notice
Are employers required to give notice of termination?

In general, termination by serving a notice period is not allowed. However, for fixed-term employment contracts the employer must serve the employee with prior written notice of two weeks before the contract expires.

Redundancies
What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?

Under both the General Labour Law (2/00) and the new General Labour Law (7/15), redundancy occurs when the employer faces economic, technological or structural circumstances that give rise to an internal reorganisation or conversion or the reduction or closure of activities, which makes it necessary to eliminate or significantly alter jobs. The law provides for two main types of redundancy procedure: collective dismissal and individual redundancy.

Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?

Under the General Labour Law (2/00), if the redundancy process will affect five or more employees and the termination of the employment contracts will occur within three months, the employer may proceed with a collective dismissal. Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), a collective dismissal can take place if the redundancy procedure covers more than 20 employees. Otherwise, the more flexible individual redundancy rules shall apply.

A collective dismissal requires the employer to:

  • serve an initial redundancy notice on the union committee and the Ministry of Labour;
  • carry out a mandatory information and consultation process with all parties concerned; and
  • serve a final collective termination notice on the employees.

The Ministry of Labour has supervisory powers over the process and the prerogative to reject the collective dismissal process.

All cases of redundancy give the employee the right to a notice period of 30 days for unskilled personnel and 60 days for skilled personnel (or payment of salary in lieu), plus compensation of one month’s base salary per full year of service up to five years of seniority and 50% of the monthly base salary per each additional year. Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), micro, small and medium-sized companies may pay reduced compensation to redundant employees.

Protections
What protections do employees have on dismissal?

Employees may bring a case for reinstatement (which involves the payment of their salary while the legal proceedings are pending) or compensation calculated pursuant to their monthly base salary per full year of service, with a minimum of three monthly base salaries. The claim for reinstatement must be filed within 180 days of termination; compensation may be claimed within 12 months of the same date.

Courts/tribunals

Jurisdiction and procedure
Which tribunals or courts have jurisdiction to hear complaints?

Labour complaints must be filed with the competent provincial labour court. Under the new General Labour Law (7/15), after September 15 2015 employment disputes may be resolved through:

  • conciliation before the Public Attorney’s Office with the competent provincial labour court;
  • mediation before the General Inspectorate of Labour; or
  • voluntary arbitration.

What is the procedure and typical timescale?

As soon as the claim is filed with the court by an employee, the employee and the employer are given notice to attend a conciliation hearing with the purpose of reaching an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the judicial phase begins. The timescale for completion of the procedure varies on a case-by-case basis and also depends on the court´s workload. The average timescale for a first-instance proceedings is two years.

Appeals
What is the route for appeals?

An appeal may be filed with the Court of Appeals by either the employer or the employee in relation to an unfair dismissal claim. A further appeal to the Supreme Court is possible, but is subject to complex requirements.