Country Information

Iraq is officially known as the Republic of Iraq. Located in Western Asia. Iraq is home to an incredibly diverse group of people, cultures, religions and languages. The official languages are Arabic and Kurdish. Iraq is known for its vast oil reserves, which account for more than 90% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Employment Contracts

Contracts are required to be in the Arabic language. The use of Kurdish is also recognized for business entered in the autonomous area of Kurdistan. Salaries and wages are to be paid in Iraqi Dinars (IQD) unless the contract stipulates otherwise. Contracts are either made orally or in writing. However, the employer is advised to put any oral agreement into writing because, in the absence of one, both the employer and the employee bear the burden of proving an agreement exists. There are four types of written contracts: A definite period contract, an indefinite contract, a performance-based contract and a part-time contract. The contract should include:

  • The name of the employer
  • Type of project
  • Address of the employer
  • Name, date of birth, qualifications, profession, residence and nationality of the employee
  • Nature, type of work, duration and the date of starting the job
  • Basic wage
  • Methods of payment (checks, bank transfers)
  • Dates (end of the week or month)
  • Place of payment
  • Benefits and bonuses due to the worker in accordance with the applicable employment terms
  • Working hours and their determination method
  • Probation period, which must not exceed three months

The employer is required to make three signed copies of a contract, one for each party and a third to send to the Department of Employment and Loans at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The employer must maintain documentation on employees that include:

  • Resume
  • Photo ID
  • Performance evaluations and other documents in case the department of Employment and Loans requests a copy, which must be furnished within 30 days.

Foreign employees may not be employed before acquiring a work permit. Work permits are issued for one year and must be renewed by the foreign employee at least one month before the expiry date.

Working Hours

The standard workday is capped at eight hours per day and 48 hours per week. Every employee is entitled to receive 24 consecutive hours of rest, usually on Fridays. Generally, overtime is capped at four hours per day, eight hours per week, 40 hours every 90 days, and 120 hours per year. The wage must increase by 50% per hour during the workday and 100% per hour during evenings and holidays.mAn employer who has more than one female employee is required to keep a copy of the provisions governing the protection of the female workers at the workplace, in addition to establishing a nursery at the expense of the employer or jointly with other employers.

Sick Leave

An employee who is sick for more than eight days requires a doctor’s note to qualify for coverage from the Pension and Social Security Fund. The employee is entitled to 30 days of sick leave for every year of work to a maximum of 180 days. If the insured employee exhausts all of their paid sick leave and remains sick, the Pension and Social Security Fund shall reimburse the employer for the wages paid after the 30 days, provided there is a medical certificate about the diagnosis.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 14 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. Leave can be extended for up to nine months due to complications or for multiple births. This, however, requires a medical note from the competent authority. Female employees can also take up to 12 months of unpaid leave to care for a child who is less than one year old. In such cases, the employment contract is considered suspended. There is no paternity leave, but any of the partners can take up to three days of unpaid leave to care for an unwell child under six years old.


Employees are entitled to a monthly minimum wage. Bonuses based on performance are common but not mandatory.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive at least 21 days of leave per year after one year of service. The leave increases by two days after the first five years, another two days after the following five years and another three days for each subsequent five-year period. In the case of dangerous work, the annual leave is 30 days. For part-time work, days of annual leave are calculated pro-rata to the hours and wage the employee receives. Employees also receive leave for a marriage, the employee’s child’s wedding, a death in the family, or to fulfill official or public duties. Widowed or divorced female employees also receive time off. Employees can take unpaid leave for compelling personal reasons and for a one-time leave to conduct a religious pilgrimage.

Public Holidays

There are many holidays

  • New Year’s Day
  • Iraqi Army Day
  • Festival of Spring (Nowruz)
  • Sovereignty Day
  • Labor Day
  • Eid AI-Fitr
  • Republic Day
  • Eid AI-Adha
  • Islamic New Year
  • Ashura

Mawlid Al-NabiIn Kurdistan, they recognize:

  • Uprising Day
  • Liberation of Erbil City
  • Mustafa Barzani’s Birthday
  • Kurdish New Year
  • Baghdad Liberation Day
  • Christmas Day
Health Insurance Benefits

There is no health insurance system, so the people are dependent on the Iraqi central government-run public health care system.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Both the employer and employee have the right to terminate a contract. However, there are two types of terminations in Iraq, either automatic or manual terminations. An employment contract will automatically terminate in instances such as the death of an employee or employer, if the enterprise is liquidated, of the end of a fixed-term contract, among others. Employment contracts can be manually terminated in instances such as if both parties terminate a contract in writing, if the employee is ill and unable to work for more than six months, the employee reaches retirement age, or a breach of contractual obligations, among others. Employers are required to provide at least 30 days advance notice in writing to employees and pay an end-of-service gratuity that ranges from the equivalent of two to 20 weeks of service depending on length of employment. Terminations are not allowed on the grounds of discrimination, medical leave, filing a complaint or belonging to a trade union. The employee may resign at any time provided that they give the employer at least 30 days advance notice. If the employee quits without notice, or before the expiration of the notice period specified in the contract, they must compensate the employer with a financial equivalent to the fraction of the notice period.

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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