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This content is for informational purposes only. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this content. It is not legal advice and shall not be relied on as such.

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$ (JMD)

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Jamaica is a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea with spectacular beaches, mountains and rainforests. Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is the largest city. Besides English, Jamaicans also speak a creole language called Jamaican Patois. The primary industries are tourism and finance. Major agricultural products include sugarcane, tropical fruits, coffee, cacao, tobacco and ginger.

Employment contracts in Jamaica may be verbal or written. Written contracts should include terms identifying the parties, end date (if for a fixed term), job description, working hours, salary, bonus (if any) and other items agreed to by the parties. Employment contracts can be for a fixed term or an indefinite period. Pre-employment background checks are permitted. These can include medical check-ups and criminal background checks. Employers generally give advance notice of investigations to the candidate and ask for permission to conduct the background check.

The standard workweek in Jamaica is 40 hours over seven days. It is common for individual and collective agreements to detail how many hours and on which days employees work. Anything over 40 hours per week is considered overtime. Overtime is paid at a rate of 1.5 times the ordinary rate, including work rest days. If the employee earns a minimum wage, public holidays and rest days are paid with an increase of 100% over the ordinary rate.

A permanent employee who has worked at least 110 days in Jamaica is entitled to sick leave of one day for every 22 days worked in the same year. After one year of work, the employee is entitled to sick leave of two working weeks. A casual employee is entitled to 10 days during the qualifying year. The benefit is 1/10th of 3% of their earnings for the period. Employees must inform employers of the illness the first working day after the illness starts and provide a medical certificate for conditions lasting more than three days. Employment and collective bargaining agreements may provide other conditions and entitlements.

Female employees receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave in Jamaica after 52 weeks of service. The benefit can be extended up to 14 weeks in case of illness with a medical certificate. The employee must inform her employer of her leave at least two weeks in advance and in writing if the employer requires.

There is no statutory requirement for a bonus payment in Jamaica. However, in some cases, the employer's obligation to pay a bonus may arise under the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.

Employees in Jamaica receive two weeks of vacation leave per year. After 10 years of work, it increases to three weeks of leave. Vacation leave begins to accrue after the employee has worked 110 days. However, the right to use the leave is usually in the following year of employment unless there is an agreement otherwise. Sundays can be calculated in vacation leave entitlements if Sunday is an agreed regular working day for the employee. Employees who work at least 220 days per year are deemed to have worked a full year. Any accrued but unused leave is paid out upon separation of employment.

In Jamaica, the public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day

  • Ash Wednesday

  • Good Friday

  • Easter Monday

  • Labor Day / May Day

  • Emancipation Day

  • Independence Day

  • National Heroes' Day

  • Christmas Day

  • Boxing Day

Jamaica provides universal healthcare, though companies offer supplementary private insurance.

Employment contracts may be terminated in Jamaica at the end of the contract term (if for a fixed duration), by the employer, by the employee, or by mutual agreement of both parties. An employer may dismiss an employee for gross misconduct without providing notice or paying severance. Misconduct includes employee incompetency, fraud and immoral behavior. Employers can terminate an employment contract without providing notice or paying severance within the probation period. Outside of misconduct or probation, employers must provide notice to employees prior to terminating the employment contract if the employee was continuously employed for four weeks or more. Employers may provide pay in lieu of notice. Employees with at least four weeks of service must provide two weeks of notice to the employer to terminate the contract.

  • 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.

  • Partner with atlas logo

    Partnering with Atlas when expanding into Jamaica 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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