Country Information

Barbados is an island nation located in the Caribbean region of North America. The official language is English however a variation of English-based Creole is also spoken throughout the country. Agriculture has been a historic staple of the economy. Expansion into offshore finance and manufacturing sectors have begun to show great potential. Barbados offers an investment-friendly government and political and economic stability for businesses considering international expansion.

Employment Contracts

An employment contract must be written and include the start date, job title, job description, work hours, probation period, notice period, workplace location and annual leave entitlement. Employers can use fixed-term contracts for projects of a specific length, and they can use indefinite contracts for permanent work.

Working Hours

The standard workweek in Barbados is 40 hours over five days. Overtime is paid at 150% above the basic rate on a weekday and 200% on a public holiday. Special rules apply to younger workers.

Sick Leave

There is no statutory sick leave. However, it is common that employers grant a number of sick days leave with pay.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave after one year of service. Generally, expectant mothers take six weeks of leave before the expected due date, with the remaining weeks of maternity leave taken after the birth. Maternity leave can be extended by six weeks in the event of a pregnancy-related illness. There is no statutory paternity leave.


Employers are not required to pay employees bonuses, but may elect to do so as part of their compensation package. Bonuses based on performance are common in Barbados.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive 15 days of paid annual leave after a year of service, which increases to 20 days after five years of service. The employer decides the dates for the annual leave, and it must be taken in a single continuous period.

Public Holidays

The following holidays are observed in Barbados:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Errol Barrow Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • National Heroes’ Day
  • May Day
  • Whit Monday
  • Emancipation Day
  • Kadooment Day
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

If a public holiday occurs on a Sunday, it is moved to Monday.

Health Insurance Benefits

Barbados provides universal healthcare but private supplementary healthcare is recommended.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Employers and employees both can terminate an employment contract by providing notice. The notice period ranges from one to 10 weeks depending on the employee’s length of service. Special rules apply to redundancy and disciplinary dismissals. Severance pay is two and a half to three and a half weeks for every year worked, depending on length of service.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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Partner with Atlas

Partnering with Atlas when expanding into Barbados, can dramatically reduce the standard brick and mortar processes of doing business in foreign markets and allow you to focus on what you do best, growing your company! To discover more about how Atlas can simplify your ability to expand globally, please feel free to contact us.
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