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Country snapshot

Key considerations

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

The employment of foreign workers is subject to special procedures and priority is given to Moroccan citizens. Except for Senegalese, Algerian and Tunisian citizens, employment offers to foreign applicants are therefore made only if no qualified Moroccan citizen applies for the same job. Employers must prove that foreign candidates can offer special or rare skills to the Moroccan labour market, and that no equivalent Moroccan citizen is currently available for the role. To this end, employers must obtain a foreign worker activity certificate from the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), which must be attached to the work permit application.

The use of temporary workers and the termination of employment agreements are highly regulated by the Labour Code.

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

Relatively low wages and benefits are unique to those doing business in Morocco.

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

Parties should always enter into an employment agreement (even though a written agreement is not mandatory for indefinite employment relationships).

Emerging issues/hot topics/proposals for reform

Are there any noteworthy proposals for reform in your jurisdiction?

No.

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

The emerging trends in employment law include:

  • the limited role of labour inspectors during dismissal procedures – they need only be notified by the relevant employer (Article 62 of the Labour Code); and
  • greater clarity – particularly in regard to severance pay calculations.

The employment relationship

Country specific laws

What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?

Employment relationships are governed by:

  • Dahir 1-03-194 of 11 September 2003 promulgating Law 65-99 on the Labour Code; and
  • Decree 2-91-517 of 5 April 1993 adopted for the implementation of Dahir Law 1-93-16 of 23 March 1993 setting out incentives for companies organising training courses on professional integration.

Who do these cover, including categories of worker?

These laws cover all categories of worker with an employment contract, irrespective of:

  • the terms of its execution;
  • the nature of the remuneration; or
  • the nature of the company in which it is carried out.

Misclassification

Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?

Employment relationships are characterised by the superior-subordinate relationship between employers and their employees. According to Article 6 of the Labour Code, employees must pursue professional activity under the direction of one or more employers.

As independent contractors are not considered employees, they are not bound by the Labour Code.

Contracts

Must an employment contract be in writing?

Written contracts are required only for fixed-term and foreign employee contracts.

The employment of foreign workers is subject to special procedures and employers must obtain foreign worker permits, which are authorised by the Ministry of Labour.

Article 516 of the Labour Code provides that: 

Any employer wishing to hire a foreign employee must obtain an authorization from the governmental authority responsible for the employment, which is granted in the form of a visa affixed to the employment contract.

This requirement is a public policy provision. Based on this authorisation, employees must submit a request to obtain a residence card.

Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

N/A.

Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?

Yes.

How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

Employers can make changes to existing employment agreements by inserting an addendum, which must be signed by both parties. 

Foreign workers

Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?

Yes. Foreign workers are subject to special procedures.

Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

The only requirements concern the hiring of foreign workers.

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

(a)Criminal records?

Yes – checks are permitted in this regard.

(b)Medical history?

Yes – checks are permitted in this regard.

(c)Drug screening?

Yes – checks are permitted in this regard.

(d)Credit checks?

N/A.

(e)Immigration status?

Yes – checks are permitted in this regard.

(f)Social media?

Yes – checks are permitted in this regard.

(g)Other?

N/A.

Wages and working time

Pay

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

Yes – the national minimum wage is Dh13.46 per hour (approximately Dh2,570.86 per month).

Article 356 of the Labour Code provides that the minimum wage cannot be lower than this amount.

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Yes – the following restrictions apply:

  • For non-agricultural activity, working hours cannot exceed 10 hours per day, 44 hours per week or 2,288 hours per year.
  • For agricultural activity, working hours are 2,496 hours per year according to Article 184 of the Labour Code.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

There are no requirements regarding meal and rest breaks unless provided for by the applicable employment agreement. The only rest break provided for in the Labour Code relates to work by successive teams and cannot exceed one hour.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime is subject to a wage increase of:

  • 25% when performed between 6:00am and 9:00pm; and
  • 50% when performed between 9:00pm and 6:00am.

These percentages increase to 50% and 100%, respectively, where overtime is performed on the employee's weekly rest day (even if compensatory leave is granted).

What exemptions are there from overtime?

N/A.

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Yes. Under Article 231 of the Labour Code, employees aged 18 and over are entitled to one-and-a-half days’ paid holiday per month (18 days’ paid holiday per full year of service). Employees under the age of 18 are entitled to two days’ paid holiday per month (24 days’ paid holiday per full year of service).

When granting leave, employers must consider the employee’s service duties and ensure that the company will continue to run effectively. Dates of absence are thus determined according to operational and employee requirements.

Employees are encouraged to use all of their annual leave within the given entitlement period; unused annual leave may be carried forward to the following entitlement period only.

Employees do not work on national holidays. Therefore, in addition to paid annual leave, employees benefit from the following non-working holidays:

  • 1 January (New Year's Day);
  • 11 January (commemorating the presentation of the independence manifesto);
  • 1 May (Labour Day);
  • Eid al-Fitr;
  • 30 July (Throne Day);
  • 14 August (Oued ED-Dahab Day);
  • 20 August (Revolution Day);
  • 21 August (National Youth Day);
  • Eid al-Adha;
  • Awal Moharram (Islamic New Year’s Day);
  • 6 November (Green March Day);
  • 18 November (Independence Day); and
  • 12 and 13 Rabi-ul-Awwal (birthday of the Islamic prophet).

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

In Morocco, wages are paid in gross. In the abovementioned wages, personal income tax and social contributions are deducted.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

All employers must maintain a pay register.

Discrimination, harassment & family leave

What is the position in relation to: Protected categories

(a) Age?

Workers under the age of 15 cannot be employed in any professional activity.

Workers under the age of 18 cannot be employed for an activity exceeding their capabilities.

(b) Race

Discrimination based on race is prohibited under Article 9 of the Labour Code.

(c) Disability?

Discrimination based on disability is prohibited under Article 9 of the Labour Code.

Disabled employees may be employed for any position which does not exceed their capabilities (ie, one that is impossible due to the nature of the work or the severity of their disability).

(d) Gender?

Discrimination based on gender is prohibited under Article 9 of the Labour Code. The law also provides for maternity protection. 

(e) Sexual orientation?

N/A.

(f) Religion?

Discrimination based on religion is prohibited under Article 9 of the Labour Code.

(g)Medical?

Discrimination based on health status is prohibited under Article 9 of the Labour Code. 

(h)Other?

Discrimination based on marital status, political opinion, national or ethnic background, social origin, affiliation or trade union activity is also prohibited.

Family and medical leave

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

The rules applying to family and medical leave are as follows.

Family leave

  • Childbirth (Article 269 of the Labour Code):
    • paternity leave – a continuous or intermittent three-day period in the month following childbirth; and
    • maternity leave – 14 weeks’ (or more if provided for in the employment or collective agreement).
  • Marriage (Article 274 Al 1 of the Labour Code):
    • employees – four days; and
    • children of employees or children of partners (including children of a spouse or partner from a previous marriage) – two days.
  • Death (Article 274 Al 2 of the Labour Code):
    • the death of a partner or spouse, child, grandchild, parent or a child of a spouse or partner from a previous marriage – three days; and
    • the death of a sibling or the sibling or parent of a spouse or partner – two days.
  • Other types of leave of absence (Article 274 Al 3 of the Labour Code):
    • circumcisions – two days; and
    • surgical operations of a partner or spouse or a dependent child – two days.

Medical leaveAccording to Article 271 of the Labour Code, if an employee cannot get to work because of illness or an accident, they must provide proof of the accident or illness in the form of medical documents and inform their employer within 48 hours (except in cases of force majeure).

If the medical leave extends beyond four days, the employee must notify their employer of the anticipated duration of their absence and present a medical certificate (expect in cases of force majeure).

Harassment

What is the position in relation to harassment?

Sexual harassment is considered serious misconduct under Article 40 of the Labour Code. However, moral harassment is difficult to prove, rarely constitutes serious misconduct and seldom leads to an employment agreement being terminated.

No employee may be penalised for having been harassed or refusing to be harassed by their employer or representative or any person who, in abusing the authority conferred on them by their duties, has forced orders, uttered threats, imposed constraints or exerted pressure of any kind on said employee for the purpose of obtaining favours of a sexual nature for their benefit or the benefit of a third party.

Whistleblowing

What is the position in relation to whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is not provided for in the Labour Code; however, Law 113-12 on the National Authority of Probity, Prevention and the Fight Against Corruption (as amended) sets out the legal framework for whistleblowing in relation to corruption.

The National Authority of Probity, Prevention and the Fight Against Corruption is the competent authority which receives and examines all complaints and information relating to corruption cases. If necessary, it transmit them to the competent authority (eg, a public prosecutor).

However, Moroccan law does not expressly prohibit a company from establishing an internal professional whistleblowing system. These systems must be notified to the National Control Commission for the Protection of Personal Data.

According to Article 82-7 of Law 37-10, whistleblowers are protected for revelations made in good faith and for well-founded reasons relating to:

  • bribery, undue influence, embezzlement, dilapidation, extortion and money laundering; or
  • one of the offences provided for in Article 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (eg, threats relating to national security, terrorism, criminal conspiracy, murder, poisoning, kidnapping, hostage taking, counterfeiting and forged currencies, narcotics offences, weapons, ammunition, explosives or health protection.

Personal data which is processed under a professional whistleblowing system must be deleted within two months of the relevant investigation’s completion. If disciplinary or legal proceedings are brought against the person in question or the whistleblower who made an abusive alert, the data relating to the alert may be kept until the end of the relevant judicial procedure.

Privacy in the workplace

Privacy and monitoring

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

According to Law 09-08 on the protection of individuals regarding the processing of their personal data, the processing of employees’ personal data is prohibited without their prior consent. Employees also have opposition and rectification rights regarding their personal data.

To what extent can employers regulate off-duty conduct?

N/A.

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

Yes. The law protects individuals with regard to the processing of their personal data.

Trade secrets and restrictive covenants

Intellectual Property

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

Employers own the IP rights created by employees.

Restrictive covenants

What types of restrictive covenants are recognised and enforceable?

The following types of restrictive covenant are recognised and enforceable:

  • confidentiality provisions;
  • non-compete provisions; and
  • exclusivity provisions.

Non-compete

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

No specific rules apply to non-competes for particular classes of employee. However, non-compete clauses must be limited in time and space.

Discipline and grievance procedures

Procedures

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

Yes. Employees may be dismissed without notice or compensation in cases of serious misconduct.

The following are considered serious offences:

  • an offence affecting the honour, confidence or good morals of another person which is judged to have deprived that person of liberty;
  • the disclosure of a professional secret causing damage to the company; and
  • the following acts, where these are performed inside the company or during working hours:
    • theft;
    • a breach of trust;
    • public drunkenness;
    • narcotic consumption;
    • bodily aggression;
    • a personal offence;
    • the deliberate and unjustified refusal to perform work competently;
    • unjustified absences of more than four days or eight half days in a 12-month period;
    • acts which cause the deterioration of equipment, machinery or raw materials (either intentionally or as a result of gross negligence);
    • material damage;
    • the failure to follow instructions to ensure the safety of the workplace, company and personnel;
    • the incitement of immoral behaviour;
    • any form of violence or aggression against an employee, the employer or their representatives which affects company operations; and
    • the dissemination of confidential data outside the company or to any unauthorised person without prior written authorisation.

If the act is not considered a serious offence under Article 39 of the Labour Code, management may impose on the employee one of the following disciplinary penalties as stipulated in the Labour Code:

  • notice;
  • primary reprimand;
  • secondary reprimand or temporary layoff of up to eight days; or
  • tertiary reprimand or transfer to another department or other premises (considering the employee’s place of residence).

The last two penalties can be applied only after interviewing the employee (Article 62 of the Labour Code).

Industrial relations

Unions and layoffs

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

No.

What are the rules on trade union recognition?

Professional unions may be freely constituted by persons exercising the same profession or similar occupations.

Union representatives must submit the following to the local administrative authority:

  • the union's articles of association; and
  • the complete list of persons responsible for administrating or managing the union.

A union’s administration members must:

  • be Moroccan nationals;
  • enjoy their civil and political rights; and
  • have no criminal convictions.

As professional unions have civil personality, they are entitled to sue.

Unions cannot engage in any other paid or commercial activity.

What are the rules on collective bargaining?

The rules on collective bargaining are set out in Articles 92 to 103 of the Labour Code. The object of collective bargaining is to improve working conditions and the relationship between employees and their employers. It is provided for only in specific sectors (eg, transport and construction) and collective bargaining agreements must contain specific details – for example, the coefficients applicable to remuneration and conditions and methods of hiring and dismissal.  

Collective bargaining must be submitted free of charge to the registry of the first-instance court and the government labour authority.

Termination

Notice

Are employers required to give notice of termination?

Yes – the notice period is provided by Decree 2-91-517 and is determined as follows:

  • executive employees must give:
    • one month’s notice where they have worked for the employer for less than one year;
    • two months’ notice where they have worked for the employer for between one and five years; and
    • three months’ notice where they have worked for the employer for more than five years; and
  • non-executive employees must give:
    • eight days’ notice where they have worked for the employer for less than one year;
    • one month’s notice where they have worked for the employer for between one and five years; and
    • two months’ notice where they have worked for the employer for more than five years.

Redundancies

What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?

Before an employee is dismissed, the employer must respect the special procedure set out in Article 62 of the Labour Code.

First, employees facing second-degree disciplinary action (eg, temporary removal or secondary reprimand) or dismissal must be given the opportunity to meet with their managers in order to defend themselves against and explain any charges.

Before the preliminary meeting, management must send a letter to the employee, delivered by hand and with proof of receipt (eg, a registered letter), to the address registered in their administrative file at the time of hiring. The letter must include the date, time and place of the preliminary meeting.

Employees must be able to defend themselves and be heard by their managers in the presence of an employee or union representative of their choice, based on a list attached to the convening letter, within eight days from the date of acknowledgement of the alleged acts.

Minutes of the meeting are drawn up by the company's administration and signed by both parties. These must list the allegations against the employee and the reasons for the allegations. Two copies are drawn up, one of which will be provided to the employee.

If an employee refuses to attend the preliminary meeting or sign the minutes therefrom, management will refer the matter to the labour inspector.

Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?

Yes. Article 66 of the Labour Code provides for dismissal for technological, structural or economic reasons. Collective dismissals are subject to authorisation granted by the governor of the location of the company’s headquarters. Requests for authorisation must explain the financial difficulties faced by the employer or the technological or structural reasons behind the dismissal, and be documented by evidence of such. Further, the employer must inform the employees' and their union representatives.

Protections

What protections do employees have on dismissal?

Preliminary hearings allows employees to defend themselves. Further, any termination for a cause that is not considered gross misconduct is considered unfair dismissal and would result in the employer paying compensations as follows:

  • Pay in lieu of notice – depending on the employee’s position and employment agreement, the pay in lieu of notice often varies between the equivalent of one and three months' salary.
  • Dismissal indemnity (Article 53 of the Labour Code) – depending on the seniority of the employee, dismissal indemnity is calculated as follows:
    • 96 hours of salary per year of service for the first five years;
    • 144 hours of salary per year of service for the next five years;
    • 192 hours of salary per year of service for the next five years; and
    • 240 hours of salary per year of service for any additional years.
  • Damages – these are calculated on the basis of the equivalent of one-and-a-half months' salary for each year of service.

Courts/tribunals

Jurisdiction and procedure

Which tribunals or courts have jurisdiction to hear complaints?

The first-instance tribunal and courts of appeal have jurisdiction to hear employment cases. Cases regarding employment agreements are held in the court where the agreement was signed, while those regarding work accidents are held in the court where the accident took place or that of the victim's domicile or beneficiaries.

What is the procedure and typical timescale?

The typical procedure in a first-instance tribunal is as follows:

  • filing the request before the competent court;
  • assigning the judge and fixing the date of the first hearing;
  • notifying parties of the dispute and hearing date;
  • exchanging memoranda between the claimant and the defendant;
  • setting the case for deliberation; and
  • receiving the court’s decision.

The typical timescale is between six months and three years.

Appeals

What is the route for appeals?

The route for appeals is as follows:

  • filing the request on time (ie, 30 days from the date of notification of the judgment rendered by the first-instance tribunal) before the competent court of appeal;
  • assigning the judge and fixing the hearing date;
  • notifying the concerned parties of the dispute and of the date of the hearing;
  • exchanging memoranda between the claimant and the defendant;
  • setting the case for deliberation; and
  • receiving the court’s decision.

Judgments are final and binding after notification. The typical timescale is between one and three years.