The official name of Guyana is the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The country is located in the northern portion of South America’s mainland. Guyana is unique in that it is South America’s only country with English as the official language, although Guyanese Creole is also spoken throughout the nation. Agriculture and mining have been longtime staples of the Guyanese economy. Recently, the country has made strides to diversify its economy to draw new investment into Guyana.
Employment contracts in Guyana can be written or verbal, but it is advisable to execute a written contract. The contract should include:
No specific provisions permit or restrict background checks in Guyana.
The standard work period is 40 hours per week, over six days. Employees generally work eight hours per day and receive a 60-minute break. However, working hours must accommodate the changing seasons (summer, winter hours) and location of work. Standard hours also may vary by industry. Overtime is paid at 1.5 time the standard rate. Overtime may be paid at double the standard rate if worked on certain public holidays. Employees receive one day of rest every week and one half-day off on every alternative Sunday. Employees also receive a 15-minute break every four hours while working overtime.
Employees are not entitled to paid sick leave but may be eligible for benefits under Guyana’s social security system. Eligible employees receive 70% of their average wage after the third day of illness for up to 26 weeks. To qualify, employees need to have been employed immediately prior to becoming sick, have made at least 50 contributions and eight contributions in the 13 weeks before becoming ill.
Female employees are entitled to 13 weeks of maternity leave, paid weekly or bi-weekly through Guyana’s social security system. In exceptional cases, a further thirteen weeks is permitted up to a maximum of 26 weeks. A female employee qualifies for maternity benefits if she or her spouse makes at least 15 contributions and seven contributions in the 26 weeks before taking leave. Female employees have a four-week window for filing a claim for maternity benefits, starting nine contribution weeks before the expected leave date. The time can be reasonably extended for people in remote areas. A person failing to make a claim for benefits during the prescribed time is disqualified from receiving benefits.
There is no mandatory extra bonus in Guyana.
Employees paid on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis receive one day of paid leave for each month of service. Employees paid daily receive one day of paid leave for every 20 days worked. Employees paid hourly receive one paid day of leave for every 160 hours worked.
The Government of Guyana operates a healthcare system that is universal, which can be accessed by every citizen. The healthcare system in Guyana consists of both public and private sectors. Guyanese people are entitled to health coverage via dedicated public insurance programs. For some people, private insurance is a secondary source of coverage. To access specialist care, a primary care physician referral is mandatory. However, it is not obligatory to register with a primary care physician.
An employment contract may be terminated at the end of a fixed-term contract, by mutual consent, by the employer or by the employee. An employer is prohibited from terminating employment based on an employee’s legitimate leave of absence. An employer may terminate an employee without notice or paying severance during the probation period. The probation period cannot exceed three months. An employee can also be dismissed without notice or severance for serious misconduct, which is conduct related to employment and detrimentally impacts the employer’s business. Absent misconduct and outside the probation period, employers must provide notice in advance of terminating an employment contract and pay severance to the employee. The employer must give two weeks of notice to employees with less than one year of service and give one month of notice to employees with one or more years of service. Employers may provide payment in place of notice. Employers must pay severance to employees with one year of service terminated for reasons other than misconduct or outside the probation period. Severance ranges from one to three weeks based on the length of service.
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