Country Information

The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in the Southeastern region of Africa. The official language of Malawi is English. The economy of Malawi is based on agriculture. Malawi is an excellent location for companies in the energy and mining sectors as Malawi recently has had an influx of foreign investment.

Employment Contracts

An employment contract must be written in the local language, and each party should receive a copy of it within one month after starting work. There are three types of contracts in Malawi, which are fixed-term contracts, indefinite-term contracts and job-completion contracts. The probation period should be agreed upon in the contract, provided it does not exceed 12 months.

The contract should include the following information:

  • The names of the employee and the employer
  • The date of commencement of the contract
  • Salary and method of calculating remuneration
  • The intervals at which remuneration is paid
  • The nature of the work to be performed
  • Regular hours of work
  • Any provision for the termination of the contract other than those provided by this act
  • Any disciplinary rule that is applicable to the employee

Employers generally perform pre-employment criminal and education qualification checks.

Working Hours

The standard workweek is capped at 48 hours over five or six days, with eight hours per day. Weekly rest is set at a minimum of 24 hours per week. Employees who work overtime are entitled to receive a compensatory rest equivalent to the total hours worked beyond the regular working hours in addition to the overtime pay.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to 12 weeks per year of sick leave after 12 months of service, provided they produce a medical certificate. Employees receive their full pay for the first four weeks, and half pay for the following eight weeks.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive eight weeks of fully paid maternity leave for every three-year period for which they have worked. This leave can be extended for pregnancy-related illnesses.


The minimum wage in Malawi is determined by the Ministry of Labor. Every year, the Ministry assess several factors to determine the minimum wage for that year. It is advisable to check what the new minimum wage is every year. Bonuses are annual and target-based.

Vacation Leave

After 12 months of employment, employees receive 18 days of paid annual leave (excluding weekends and public holidays) if they work a six-day workweek, and 15 days (excluding weekends and public holidays) if they work a five-day workweek. However, if an employee works for less than 12 months, then the annual leave should in proportion to the length of service during that year.

Annual paid leave may be deferred and accumulated by mutual agreement, and collective bargaining agreements may increase the annual leave up to 30 days per year. The employer is required to determine the annual paid leave with the employee within six months after the new year started. All accrued untaken annual leave must be paid to the employee at the point of termination.

Public Holidays

Malawi observes the following public holidays:

  • New Year Day
  • John Chilembwe Day
  • Martyrs’ Day
  • Good Friday
  • Holy Saturday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labor Day
  • Eid al-Fitr
  • Kamuzu Day
  • Independence Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Christmas
  • Boxing Day
Health Insurance Benefits

The state provides universal healthcare to citizens in three formats–local healthcare centers, regional hospitals and district hospitals. Employers are required to offer private healthcare insurance and life insurance policy for all their employees that cover health benefits

Employment / Termination / Severance

Both the employer and employee may terminate an employment contract. The employer is required to provide a written termination notice that states reasons for the termination. However, during the probation period any party can terminate the contract without notice. A fixed-term contract and task-based contract are automatically terminated on their expiration date or completion. These types of contracts do not require a termination notice, however if the employee is terminated before the expiration or completion date, then a minimum of 14 days’ termination notice is required.

For any employee that continues working after the expiration or completion date of their fixed-term or completion contracts, the fixed-term contract becomes an indefinite-term contract. In contrast, indefinite-term contracts require a written termination notice from either party.

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 Malawi, 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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