Country Information

The Republic of Djibouti is an African country located on the eastern horn of Africa. The official languages are French and Arabic. However, most of the residents speak Somali. The service sector is the largest industry in Djibouti. The country is host to strategic transit points across its Red Sea coastal line. Companies looking to expand into Eastern Africa that select Djibouti will enjoy political stability, access to one of the largest shipping routes in the world, and one of the best telecom systems in Africa.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Djibouti can be verbal or written, but most contracts are required to be written and in the local language. Employment contracts can be indefinite, full-time, part-time, or for a definite fixed term that has an expiration date. Fixed-term contracts cannot exceed 12 months, can be based on work completion and are renewable only once. Any contract that does not have a fixed term is considered to be an indefinite contract. A contract stating the terms and conditions of employment should include:

  • Name and address of the employer
  • Name and address of the employee
  • Job description
  • Salary
  • Payment method
  • Payment date within eight days of the beginning of every month
  • Benefits
  • Probation period.

Salaries must be paid at regular intervals of no more than 15 days for hourly employees, and 30 days for monthly employees. However, monthly employees may receive half their salary every two weeks. Employers are required to issue the worker an individual pay slip at the time of payment. Probation for indefinite contracts should not exceed:

  • 15 days for part-time hourly paid employees
  • 30 days for full-time monthly paid non-executive positions
  • Three months for full-time monthly paid executive positions.

However, the probation period for fixed-term definite contracts should not exceed two months. Termination during the probation period does not require a termination notice or compensation. An employer can hire foreign labor if the required competence is unavailable in Djibouti. An employer needs to obtain a work permit from the National Agency for Employment (AGENCE NATIONALE DE L’EMPLOI DE LA FORMATION DE L’INSERTION PROFESSIONNELLE (ANEFIP)), which is valid for one year and needs to be renewed. Any foreigner may engage in paid employment under a fixed-term employment contract, subject to the following provisions:

  • The contract must be in writing. It is the subject of a visa issued by the Minister of Labor
  • The visa of the contract results in the issuance of a work permit by the Minister of Labor
  • No foreign worker may be granted a “work” residence visa if they have not previously obtained a work permit;
  • This authorization is temporary. It is issued for one year at a time and can be renewed several times. It must be submitted to any requisition of the ministry of labor or the visa services of the Ministry of the Interior
  • When a foreign worker leaves, the employer must send a termination statement to the Workforce Service.
  • The visa application is the responsibility of the employer. If the visa is refused, the contract is void. If the omission of the visa is the employer’s fault, the worker has the right to have the employment tribunal find the nullity of the contract and to claim, if necessary, damages and interests.
  • Background checks are not statutory, but they can be carried out by the employer if they are related to the job in question.
Working Hours

The standard work hours are capped at 47 hours per week, spread over six days, at eight hours per day. A minimum of 24 hours rest is required, generally on Fridays. Work that is performed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. is considered evening work. Overtime is capped at a maximum of 4 hours per day and 60 hours per week. Any additional hours beyond the stipulated overtime hours requires authorization from the inspector of labor. However, the number of additional hours cannot be higher than the number of daily hours or 1/10th of the weekly hours. Overtime generally is paid at rates established by convention or collective agreement.

Sick Leave

Employees receive 29 days of sick leave paid at 50% of the basic rate by social security. For any additional day beyond the 29 days, the employee receives 75% of the basic salary.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. Every female employee is entitled to a maternity leave that begins eight weeks before the presumed date of delivery, and six weeks after delivery. The leave period may be extended by an additional three weeks in case of complications that require a medical note. After returning to work, she is entitled to 15 months of breastfeeding rest during workdays. The total duration of this rest may not exceed one hour per working day, to be taken at the beginning or end of the working day. Eligible employees receive maternity benefits while on maternity leave, which are equally split between the employer and Social Advancement Organization. Benefits are paid at 100% of the monthly earnings. To be eligible, the employee must have at least three months of covered earnings, notify the employer at least one month before leave and provide a medical certificate. Male employees receive three days of paid paternity leave.


There is no fixed minimum wage in Djibouti. Wages are negotiated between the employer and employee. Employers are not required to provide bonuses. However, some employers may choose to offer performance-based benefits.

Vacation Leave

Employees are eligible for annual paid leave after 12 months of employment. They are entitled to two and a half days of leave per month from the day of service, which is equal to 30 days of paid annual leave. The schedule for the leave is decided by the employer and reported to the employees at least 15 days before any leave starts. Leave can be split into two periods of at least 14 days. The employer must pay the employee an allowance before a period of annual leave. The allowance is at least equal to 1/12th of the wages and allowances the worker received in the 12 months preceding the date of departure on leave. Performance bonuses and reimbursement of professional expenses will be excluded from the calculation of the leave allowance. In the case of splitting the leave, the allowance is split in proportion to the duration of each period of leave. In addition to annual leave, employees receive paid emergency family leave of an additional maximum of 11 days per year. Family leave is divided into:

  • Three days of parental leave for the birth of a child
  • Three days for the employee’s wedding
  • One day for a child’s wedding
  • Three days for the death of a spouse, a child or parent
  • One day for the death of a sibling or relatives.
  • An employee may also receive 12 working days per year of unpaid leave that is not deducted from the annual leave. Personal days are taken at the initiative of the employee provided that the employer is notified beforehand of the absence.
Public Holidays
  • New Year
  • Al Isra
  • Labour Day
  • Eid-al Fitr
  • Independence Day
  • Eid-al Adha
  • Muslim New Year
  • Mouloud
  • Christmas
Health Insurance Benefits

Some employers offer health insurance.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Employment can be terminated mutually or by either party after complying with a minimum notice period. The notice period generally is: one month for regular positions; or three months for executive positions. The notice must include:

  • Reason for termination
  • Name of the employer
  • Social security registration number
  • Employer’s address
  • Name of the employee
  • Date of employment
  • Professional qualifications of the employee.

Employers and employees who fail to provide the requisite notice are required to provide pay in the amount of wages that would have been earned during the notice period. Any accrued but unused leave is also paid out upon separation of service. An employment contract may be terminated due to an employee’s inability to perform the requirements of the job, for health reasons or lack of professional skills required, or for misconduct by providing at least a 48-hour notice. A pregnant, female employee can break an employment contract without notice if there is a medical reason. This breach does not trigger damages. Fixed-term contracts expire automatically at the end date of the contract. However, they may be terminated by either party for reasons of misconduct, force majeure, economic and financial difficulties, judicial decisions, an agreement between the parties, and an unjustified breach of the contract by one of the parties. Breach of contract happens due to refusal to perform work and any other obligations, assault, violation of secrecy and repeated unexcused absence, to name a few. An employee may be entitled to damages for an unjust dismissal. Damages cannot exceed:

  • Two months’ salary for employees in a company with less than 11 employees
  • Four months’ salary for employees employed in a company with 11 to 49 employees
  • Six months’ salary for employees employed in a company with more than 49 employees.

The employer is required to inform the Labour Inspectorate in writing within eight days of the employment termination and issue a certificate of work to the employee showing the entry and exit dates of the employee, and the nature of the job.

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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Partnering with Atlas when expanding into Djibouti, 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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