Country Information

Cape Verde is an island nation located in the central Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of 10 volcanic islands, which rests off the coast of Senegal. The economy revolves around tourism with service-based employment comprising the majority of the jobs on the island nation. Cape Verde has very close ties to Portugal and is part of the same island group as the Canary and Madeira islands. Cape Verde is designated as a developing nation, but due to its rapidly developing tourist industry, good quality of life and economic stability, it is showing major signs of growth.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Cape Verde can be verbal or in writing. However, it is common to have a written employment contract. Contracts can be for a fixed or indefinite term. A fixed-term contract can be executed if the work is for a short duration, to replace a worker who is on leave, to perform temporary tasks or seasonal work or due to periodic fluctuations in work. The duration of fixed-term contracts ranges from three to five years, including extensions. If a fixed-term contract extends beyond five years, the contract is treated as an indefinite-term contract. Indefinite-term employment contracts are for an indefinite period and specify a commencement date and commonly include a probationary period.

Working Hours

The standard work week in Cape Verde is 44 hours and is capped at eight hours a day. Employees are entitled to 24 hours of rest a week, which is generally on Sundays but can be another day. Overtime cannot exceed two hours a day or 160 hours per year. The annual limit is increased to 300 if there is written consent from the employee. Overtime is paid at a percentage of the basic salary if performed on a regular workday, or 100% if the overtime is performed on a rest day or public holiday. The eight-hour-a-day limit does not apply to upper management positions or certain highly qualified employees. However, these employees are entitled to premium pay between 20% to 35% of the ordinary wage. The regular work period for employees between the ages of 16 and 18 years old is 38 hours per week and is capped at seven hours a day. Overtime is only allowed in cases of force majeure and cannot exceed two hours per day, or 30 hours per year. Workers under the age of 18 cannot work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless required for their professional training and authorized by Cape Verde’s Labor Department. Night work is performed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Employees working at night receive an additional 25% of the basic salary. In some instances, workers are entitled to this higher rate of pay for night work, even after transitioning to daytime work. Overtime worked at night is capped at seven hours a week.

Sick Leave

Employees receive up to 1,095 days of paid sick leave. The first three days are paid at 100% by the employers. Starting on the fourth day, pay is provided to eligible employees through Cape Verde’s social security program. If the illness last more than 30 days, a medical certificate is required. To be eligible, employees must have made at least four months of contributions, including 30 days in the three months before leave.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees in Cape Verde are entitled to 60 days of paid maternity leave. If the employee is not eligible for social security benefits, the employer pays the employee’s entire amount. Employees are eligible for maternity benefits through social security if they have made at least four months of contributions, including 30 days in the three months before leave. A male employee is entitled to paternity leave only if, within 120 days of the birth, the mother is unable to take care of the child due to physical or mental incapacity or the mother dies. The period of leave is 60 days less any amount already taken by the mother, but no less than 30 days if the mother dies.


Cape Verde has a minimum wage. Bonuses are not required but are a common.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive 22 days of paid annual leave. This leave must be taken in the year it was given unless there was a specific agreement between the employee and employer regarding transferring unused annual leave. If an employee is under an indefinite period employment contract, the employee must work for six months before becoming eligible for paid annual leave. Fixed-term contract employees are eligible for annual leave, which is proportional to the length of service once the period contracted is halfway complete.

Public Holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • Democracy Day
  • Heroes Day
  • Labor Day
  • Youth Day
  • Independence Day
  • Assumption Day
  • All Saints’ Day
  • Christmas Day
Health Insurance Benefits

Healthcare in Cape Verde is funded through the social security program.

Employment / Termination / Severance

An employment contract can be terminated by the employer for cause, at the end of the contract term (if for a fixed period), by the employee or by mutual agreement between the employer and employee. Employers must have just cause to terminate an employee, which includes employee misconduct or for economic and market reasons. Employers must provide 40 days of notice prior to dismissing an employee for cause related to the employee’s conduct. The employee has five days to respond. If the employer still intends to dismiss the employee, the employer must provide 30 days of notice and state the grounds for termination. An employer is required to provide pay in lieu of notice if the notice is late. An employer must give an employee on a fixed-term contract, a notice of 10 days before termination that the employment will end. If the employer fails to provide notice and there is no other agreement, the fixed term contract will be renewed for the same period. Employees dismissed for cause or redundancy are entitled to a specific amount of severance pay, unless otherwise specified in a collective agreement. No notice is required where an employment contract terminates because the employee retires or there is a mutual agreement between the employer and employee. Employees must provide notice to employers prior to terminating an employment contract. The notice period is 15 days, increasing by an additional 15 days per year of service up to two months.

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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