The Republic of Namibia, a country in Southwest Africa, is known by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. It has a population of more than two million people. Windhoek, the capital of Namibia is located in the center of the country distinguished by its hot springs in the region. The government in Namibia requires investors to partner with national companies or have most local employees to operate in the country. Mining is a major industry. English is the official language.
Employment contracts in Namibia are deemed to be for an indefinite term unless the employer has a reason to hire an employee for a fixed term. Written agreements must contain the workplace details, salary, employer and employee identification, the nature of the job, working hours, the date of commencement of the work, the end date if for a fixed term, and in the local language of the employee.
There is no statutory limitation on the duration of a fixed-term contract. Rather, the duration is determined by an agreement between the employee and employer or collective agreement. Likewise, there is no statutory provision related to the length and term of the probation period. Employers and employees can agree to a probation period through an individual or collective agreement.
The standard work period is 45 hours a week and nine hours per day when employees work from five to fewer days a week; eight hours a day if the work is more than five days a week. Overtime is limited to three hours a day or 10 hours a week and paid at least one and half times (150%) of the employee’s hourly wage or double (200%) on Sunday or a public holiday. There is an additional 6% over the employee’s hourly salary, excluding overtime, for work performed between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Employees receive between four and 24 days of leave.
Female employees receive 12 weeks of maternity leave after six months of service. Generally, four weeks of leave is taken before the due date and eight weeks is taken after the birth. Maternity leave can be extended by a month if there is an illness or complication relating to the pregnancy. The employee must provide the employer with a medical certificate of the expected date of confinement before the leave, and the actual date on her return. The employer is liable to pay the employees’ remuneration except for the basic wage, which will be paid by social security. There is no statutory paternity leave.
Collective agreements in different sectors set the minimum wage. There is no official minimum wage rate in Namibia, except for domestic workers. Bonuses are not required but some employers pay them.
Employees are entitled to at least 30 days of sick leave after 36 months (sick leave cycle) if the employee works five days during a week, or 36 days if the employee works six days a week. During the first year of work, employees receive one day of sick leave for every 26 days worked.
Most employers offer health insurance.
Employers and employees can terminate an employment contract in Namibia. During the termination process, an employer is prohibited from dismissing an employee without a valid and fair reason and must follow a fair procedure stipulated by law, regardless of whether notice is given.
Termination of the employment contract is considered unfair when the employer dismisses an employee for reasons such as:
A fair reason to dismiss an employee depends on the nature and seriousness of the cause. Just cause can include, but is not limited to employee misconduct, employee incapacity, whether performance or health-related, employee incompatibility, the unsuitability during the probationary period and the operational requirements of the business. Whether the termination is by the employee or by the employer, the notice period varies depending on the length of time worked.
A more extended period of notice is allowed if both the employer and employee agree, provided that the notice period applies equally to the employer and employee. It is prohibited to give notice during any leave granted to the employee. The employer may provide pay in lieu of notice in the amount the employee would have received during the work period of notice. Also, the employer has the right to waive notice given by an employee with the payment of the employee’s remuneration in lieu of the notice.
Upon termination, an employer is responsible for paying any work done before the termination notice, annual leave entitlements, paid time off for Sunday work or public holiday (if applicable), severance pay (if applicable) and transport allowance (if applicable). Severance pay is equal to at least one week’s remuneration for each year of continuous service with the employer, after 12 months of uninterrupted service.
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