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  • Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional and civil law with certain application of case law. Pesos (ARS). Spanish.

     

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity cannot hire employees in Argentina without a local corporate presence.

    Employers must pay social security contributions (23% or 27% on top of salaries, depending on the company's activity and revenues). Employees must contribute 17% of their salaries to the social security system (to be withheld by the employer and subject to certain taxable limits). Income tax is also withheld by the employer when paying employees' salaries (maximum rate 35%, subject to a progressive scale).

    Collective bargaining agreements for certain activities provide payments to be made by the employer and/or the unionized employees to the relevant unions.

  • Pre-hire checks

    Required

    • Pre-hire medical checks are required pursuant to resolutions issued by the Occupational Hazard Superintendence. If an employee does not complete a pre-hire medical check, the employee will be deemed to have begun work in optimal health; therefore, any injuries or diseases which subsequently arise will be deemed to have happened during the employment relationship.
    • Criminal record checks are required for foreign employees to obtain a work visa.

    Permissible

    Where criminal checks are not required for work visa purposes, they are only permissible (and often done in practice) for specific roles (eg, high-level managerial positions). Reference and educational checks are common and permissible, provided applicant consent is previously obtained.

  • Immigration

    Foreigners from non-Mercosur countries must obtain a temporary residence permit that permits them to enter and work in Argentina. Temporary residency is granted for a maximum period of up to 1 year, extendable for periods of equal or shorter terms. After 3 consecutive years as a temporary resident, foreign employees are entitled to apply for permanent residence.

    Citizens of Mercosur countries can apply for temporary Mercosur residence in Argentina without the need to present a work contract to the authorities. Temporary Mercosur residence is granted for 2 years and enables the individual to work and to apply for permanent residence on expiry of the temporary residence.

  • Hiring options

    Employee

    Full-time, part-time, fixed-term, indefinite-term employees or trainees.

    The following factors tend to indicate a labor relationship: availability to work for his/her employer; an employer who directs and subordinates the individual; an employer who instructs the services and duties required and creates the individual's schedule. Courts will also look at the extent to which the worker depends economically on the employer.

    Independent contractor

    Contractors should only be engaged where there is no labor relationship, that is, no direction/subordination or economic dependence.

    Misclassification, that is failure to register an individual as an employee, or submission of an incomplete or defective registration, carries the risk of severe sanctions and fines from the authorities (including amounts owed to social security for unpaid contributions). In addition, steep fines are levied upon statutory severance, including the doubling of the amount of severance owed to a (misclassified) employee.

    Agency worker

    Employers can engage workers through agencies. Agencies must be authorized by the authorities to function as an agency.

    The employer will be jointly and severally liable with the agency for all labor obligations arising from the worker's employment.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    There is no general, legal requirement to execute employment contracts in a specific form – meaning that they can be in writing, made orally, etc. unless a specific law or collective convention applies and indicates otherwise. Notwithstanding, employers are advised to enter into a written employment contract.

    Probationary periods

    The maximum permitted duration of a probationary period is 3 months. After the end of the 3 month period, the employee will turn into an indefinite term employee.

    Policies

    The law does not require employers to have specific policies in place. Notwithstanding, there are some policies that are strongly recommended to prevent potential conflict, such as bonus policies.

    Third-party approval

    Third-party approval is not required for employment contracts or any policies.

  • Language requirements

    No statutory language requirements; however, in practice, employment contracts are drafted in Spanish.

  • Minimum employment rights

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    The Employment Contract Law No. 20,744 (LCL) governs the minimum employment rights in Argentina.

    Pursuant to Article 3º of the LCL, the law governs everything related to the validity, rights and obligations of the parties, provided the employment contract is performed in Argentina, even if the contract was entered into abroad.

    The LCL applies to "workers" which covers not only employees working under an employment contract, but also other individuals who personally perform "work" or provide services for the employer.

    For this purpose, "work" should be understood as any legitimate activity that is provided in favor of someone who has the power to direct that work, through the payment of remuneration for those activities and/or services rendered.

    The main factors that will tend to indicate that an individual is an employee rather than a worker or self-employed worker, are:

    • The employee must be available to work for his/her employer
    • The employer will direct and subordinate the employee, appoint the services and duties required and order the employee to comply with a schedule

    Courts will also weigh the extent to which the worker depends economically on the income obtained from the alleged employer.

    Working hours

    The general maximum number of hours is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week for all employed workers in public or private enterprises. Each extra hour worked above these limits is deemed to be overtime.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, Article No. 3 of Law No. 11,544, in its subsections a), b) and c) regulates exceptions to the abovementioned maximum limitation on working hours. The limitations do not apply to employees performing duties under the form of a "job team," that is, working in a special coordinating rotation system, nor to employees performing duties in high-level positions (main managers, directors etc.).

    Overtime

    Employees in Argentina are allowed to perform overtime. Overtime will be only compulsory in cases of danger or accidents or imminent force majeure, or by exceptional demands of the national economy or the company (Article No. 203 of the LCL).

    Overtime must be paid with a surcharge of 50%, calculated using the employee's usual salary if the overtime hours were worked during business days, and 100% on Saturday after 1pm, Sunday or holidays. In no event may employees work overtime of more than, 3 hours per day, 30 hours per month or 200 hours per calendar year.

    Wages

    The national minimum wage (NMW) is updated regularly by the National Council of Employment dependent of the Ministry of Production and Labor. The NMW rate as of December 2018 is AR$11,300.

    Most CBAs also provide for a specific minimum wage applicable to employees subject to the CBA.

    Vacation

    Employees with less than 5 years seniority are entitled to 14 calendar days after 6 months of work. This increases to 21 calendar days for employees with between 5 to 10 years of seniority; 28 days for employees with between 10 to 20 years of seniority, and 35 days for employees with more than 20 years of seniority. For employees with less than 6 months of service, employers must grant 1 day of vacation per worked month. Companies should grant vacation to their employees between October 1 to April 30 of the following year.

    Sick leave & pay

    Sick/accident leave of up to 3 months per year must be provided to employees with less than 5 years of seniority, while 6 months must be granted to employees with seniority of 5 years or longer. For employees with "family dependents" (generally understood to be the immediate family that economically depends on the employee’s wage and labor benefits), these periods are doubled, to 6 and 12 months, respectively.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    Pregnant employees may take leave of 45 days prior to giving birth and up to 45 days after giving birth. However, the employee may choose to reduce the leave prior to giving birth, but it may not be less than 30 days, and add those days to the maternity leave period after the birth of the child. In the event of premature birth, the period of the leave that has not been enjoyed before the birth will be added to the leave period after the childbirth. Further, the employee is entitled to earn her gross remuneration (without any withholding contributions made to the social security system), during maternity leave. The ANSES (as defined below) pays the remuneration of employees during maternity leave.

    Fathers are entitled to paid leave of 2 consecutive days for the birth of his child. There is no general regulation providing other parental leave after the birth of a child. 

  • Discrimination

    The law prohibits discriminatory acts or omissions based on race, religion, nationality, ideology, political or trade union opinion, sex, economic position, social condition or physical characteristics.

    In addition, Argentina has ratified international antidiscrimination conventions, such as the Convention of Belem do Pará and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

  • Benefits & pensions

    The Social Security National Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social, hereinafter ANSES) is the authority in charge of the administration of the social security system in Argentina, called Sistema Integrado de Jubilaciones y Pensiones (SIJP). Employers and employees are required to make contributions to the SIJP which provides for old age pension and disability benefits.

    To qualify for a statefunded pension distribution, male employees must be 65 years old, while female employees must be 60 years old. In both cases, in order to qualify for pension the employee must have contributed to the SIJP for a minimum of 30 years.

    Employers do not have a legal obligation to provide a private pension scheme for employees, as the employees are entitled to state pensions.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 24,766 sets limits to the type of personal data that may be collected by prohibiting the collection of sensitive personal data, such as data that is related to political or religious opinions, and regulates the collection, use, processing and transfer of personal data.

    Employers are allowed to monitor employee's work devices, provided the employee is duly notified in advance, and personal information is safeguarded and not disclosed.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Where there is an asset transfer that qualifies as a business transfer, all obligations arising from the employment contracts that the transferor has executed with its employees will be taken on by the transferee after the transfer. Employment contracts will continue with the transferee and the employees will retain their seniority with the transferor and the rights arising from it. Therefore, on the execution of the transfer, all employees are automatically transferred to the transferee, after their written consent has been obtained.

    Although in practice both internal consultations and collective consultation with trade unions are held before a business transfer takes place, the transferor and the transferee are not required by law to inform or consult employees on a business transfer. However, in order to perform the transfer of staff, the employee’s written consent must be given prior to the transfer. In the absence of this consent, the employee may terminate the employment, with the right to compensation.

    The transferor and the transferee will be jointly and severally liable for any dismissals that arise due to the transfer.

  • Employee representation

    Argentina is a highly unionized country with approximately 3,100 active trade unions with considerable political power. There are unions in nearly all sectors or industries.

    A trade union must be recognized by the Ministry of Production and Labor. Only recognized and authorized unions can enter into a CBA. Employers cannot recognize an unauthorized union voluntarily, not even for collective bargaining purposes.

    The National Constitution sets out collective labor rights in its Article No. 14 (bis), guaranteeing unions the right to collectively bargain and the right to strike.

    CBAs are very common in Argentina. There are different types of CBAs depending on the territory in which they are going to be enforceable. Some CBAs only govern employees within one specific company, whereas other CBAs govern employees performing certain activities in a geographical region or industry.

  • Termination

    Grounds

    Cause is not required for termination of employment; however, it is required to avoid payment of statutory severance. There is no exhaustive and/or exemplary list of behaviors that constitute cause for dismissal; therefore, whether a dismissal is with or without cause will depend on judicial judgment on a case by case basis. 

    Who is subject to termination laws?

    All employees.

    Prohibited or restricted terminations

    Public employees and union delegates cannot be dismissed without cause and without complying with the statutory procedure for these terminations. All other employees can be dismissed with payment of statutory severance, which will differ based on the case (maternity, illness, etc.)

    Pregnant employees are protected from dismissal. If a pregnant employee is dismissed within the period of 7-1/2 months before or after the date of childbirth, the pregnancy will be considered to be the cause of the dismissal, entitling the employee compensation for the discrimination equivalent to their annual salary, in addition to the applicable severance payment.

    Further, if a dismissal occurs 3 months before the marriage of an employee, or 6 months after it, the dismissed employee will be entitled to a special compensation.

    In order to dismiss employees on sick leave, employers must pay a special severance (full severance payment applicable for dismissal without cause, plus the salary which would be payable for the entire period the illness would be expected to last, according to medical opinion).

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Under Decree No. 1043/18 (effective as of November 14, 2018), employers wishing to dismiss indefinite term employees without cause must notify the Ministry of Production and Labor at least 10 business days before the decision goes into effect. This Decree is effective through March 31, 2019.

    As this decree was issued recently, there is no administrative or judicial case law interpreting the Decree.

    Mass layoff rules

    Prior to a mass dismissal, an employer must provide notice to the respective trade union that regulates the employer's industry. Collective consultation may be required depending on employee headcount.

    Prior to executing or communicating dismissals or suspensions due to force majeure, economic or technological causes that affects more than:

    • 15% of the employees where total headcount is less than 400
    • 10% of the employees where total headcount is between 400 and 1,000 and
    • 5% of the employees where total headcount is greater than 1,000

    Employers must comply with the Preventive Procedure of Companies Crisis (PPC) before the Ministry of Production and Labor. During this procedure, the company will engage in negotiation with the respective union acting on behalf of their members. The aim of this procedure is to avoid business shutdowns or bankruptcy. After the company files the request at the Ministry of Production and Labor, the Ministry will forward the claim within 2 business days of the filing to the other party for its response. After a response is made, a settlement hearing will be scheduled within the next 5 business days. If a settlement is not reached, the Ministry will open a "negotiating period" that must not extend beyond 10 business days. If the parties still do not reach to an agreement within that period, the PPC process will conclude. Notwithstanding this, in practice, this procedure normally takes longer than the law sets out.

    Notice

    In order to proceed with termination, employers must give notice to employees before the dismissal. 

    The term of this notice will depend on the seniority of employees:

    • During their probationary period, notice must be given to employees 15 days before termination
    • In order to dismiss employees who have completed the probationary period but who have less than 5 years of seniority, notice must be given 1 month prior to the dismissal and
    • Employees with more than 5 years' seniority must receive 2 months' notice before their dismissal

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Employers are permitted to pay in lieu of notice. Current legislation does not regulate nor prohibit garden leave.

    Severance

    An employee who is dismissed without reasonable cause is entitled to statutory severance of 1 month's salary for each year of service, or period longer than 3 months. This amount is calculated using the employee's highest monthly, regular compensation received in the last 12 months of work. This baseline cannot be more than 3 times the "monthly payment," which is the average of all compensation set out in the applicable CBA at the time of the dismissal (this average is periodically published). The Ministry of Production and Labor governs the updating of this average for every authorized trade union.  

    If the employee is not subject to a CBA (typically, senior employees), the limits applicable to the activity in which he/she performs duties will apply. In no case will the amount of the compensation payable be less than 1 month of real salary.

    Currently, in the Vizotti case, the Supreme Court of Justice has raised the basis for calculating compensation subject to a limit, establishing that it will be 67% of the employee's monthly and usual compensation, the amount to be multiplied by the years of service of the employee, based on constitutional reasons and in cases where the application of the legal limit imposes a reduction to the severance payment of more than 33%.

    This severance payment may be reduced or increased in other types of termination (eg, force majeure and lack or reduction of work; death of the employee; employer's bankruptcy; employee's retirement; employee's illness; employee's pregnancy; etc.)

  • Post-termination restraints

    Non-compete, customer non-solicitation and employee non-solicitation clauses are often used, especially when the employer and employee negotiate the terms and conditions of the termination of the employment.

    Restrictive covenants are capable of being enforced post-employment, provided the employee receives compensation for the restrictions. Therefore, consideration is required for valid restrictive covenants. The amount must be fair and in accordance with the salary of the employee, his/her position in the company, the agreements that the company intends to impose and the extent (period and territory) of the restrictive covenant.

    The law does not specifically regulate restrictive covenants. However, most restrictive periods range between 2 years to 5 years. However, under certain circumstances the court has enforced a 10 year post-termination restraint period, based on the business and the amount of consideration paid to the employee.

    Where an employee is in breach of an agreement, the employer can file a claim against the employee in court requesting compensation for damages. The complaint may include injunctive relief to stop the violation immediately. Alternatively, courts may declare the covenant null and void if it has been drafted too widely.

  • Waivers

    Pursuant to the LCL, any executed agreement that suppresses or reduces rights granted by the LCL, labor laws related to specific industries, collective agreements or individual employment contracts, either at the time of their agreement or execution, or the exercise of the rights arising from its termination, shall be null and void.

  • Remedies

    Discrimination

    Compensation is available as a remedy for discrimination or harassment. In case the event of a complaint based on harassment, the employee can file a claim requesting the payment of the statutory severance payment applicable to dismissals without cause and an additional amount for the pain and/or emotional distress caused by the harassment.

    Employers are liable for the acts of their employees. Therefore, the employer and the harasser will be declared jointly and severally liable for the payment of any compensation granted to the victim.

    Unfair dismissal

    Employees may challenge a dismissal without cause within 2 years of the dismissal and seek payment of statutory severance, plus interest and court fees. The complaint must be filed before the labor courts.

    Failure to inform & consult

    Not applicable for terminations as there are no consultation obligations.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Breaches of labor law do not entail a criminal breach or sanction unless such a breach or offense is specifically regulated by the National Criminal Code as a crime. In that case, criminal sanctions will be applied for the breach of criminal law and not for the breach of labor law.

  • Key contacts
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Cordova Francos [email protected]

Employment contracts & policies

Argentina

Employment contracts

There is no general, legal requirement to execute employment contracts in a specific form – meaning that they can be in writing, made orally, etc. unless a specific law or collective convention applies and indicates otherwise. Notwithstanding, employers are advised to enter into a written employment contract.

Probationary periods

The maximum permitted duration of a probationary period is 3 months. After the end of the 3 month period, the employee will turn into an indefinite term employee.

Policies

The law does not require employers to have specific policies in place. Notwithstanding, there are some policies that are strongly recommended to prevent potential conflict, such as bonus policies.

Third-party approval

Third-party approval is not required for employment contracts or any policies.

Australia

Employment contracts

A contract can be oral, but written contracts are strongly recommended and all new employees must be given a Fair Work Information Statement containing key terms as soon as possible after the commencement of employment.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but 3-6 months is common.

Policies

Not mandatory, but some policies (especially regarding anti-discrimination and harassment, bullying and occupational health and safety) are strongly encouraged by laws and regulations.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.

Austria

Employment contracts

Employment contracts are not required per se, but employees must be provided with certain minimum terms defined by Austrian labor law. Accordingly, contracts are common.

Probationary periods

Permissible for the first month of employment, in general.

Policies

No mandatory policies.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.

Bahrain

Employment contracts

Unlike some other GCC countries, Bahrain has no requirement to sign a government contract. However, the contract entered into between the employer and the employee must be registered with the LMRA in order to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. Under the Labor Law, the contract should be in Arabic, but in practice where contracts are drafted in another language, an Arabic translated version can be attached to fulfil this requirement.

Probationary periods

Generally duration of 3 months is allowed, although this may be increased up to a maximum of 6 months in respect of certain occupations.

Policies

Employees should be provided with any relevant staff handbook and the employer's policies (if applicable) on commencement of employment. The Labor Law specifies that the company policies and internal regulations must be openly displayed to the employees.

Third-party approval

The employment contract must be registered with the LMRA to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. Strictly speaking, any contractual changes should be notified to the LMRA and amended on the filed employment contract copy.

Belgium

Employment contracts

Specific requirements for written employment contracts with regard to specific clauses (eg, trial period, non-compete, and notice) and specific contracts (eg, fixed-term, part-time, and working from home arrangements).

Probationary periods

It is no longer permissible to insert a trial period into an employment contract, except in an employment contract for students or for temporary work or for interim agency work.

Policies

Work regulations, containing applicable work schedules, an overview of disciplinary measures, grievance procedure, a policy on alcohol and drug abuse, etc., as well as written health and safety policy (global prevention plan, yearly action plan, dynamic risk prevention system, risk analysis), are mandatory.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract with, or get approval from, any third party. A copy of the work regulations and their annexes, as well as any modification of the work regulations and/or their annexes, have to be sent to the Social Information and Investigation Service.

Brazil

Employment contracts

Written agreement not legally required, but usual. Basic terms and conditions of employment are recorded in the employee's booklet (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social or CTPS) and in other mandatory documents upon hiring.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Statutory limit of 90 days.

Policies

Written Employment Health and Safety policies such as Occupational Health Medical Control Program (PCMSO) and an Environmental Risk Prevention Program (PPRA) are legally required.

Third-party approval

The employment relationship with foreign employees must be submitted to the Ministry of Labor's approval.

Canada

Employment contracts

Written employment contracts are recommended but are not required by law. 

Probationary periods

In most jurisdictions, a probationary period of up to 3 months is permitted. During the probationary period, an employer may be able to terminate an employee without being required to provide statutory notice of termination or pay in lieu. Employees terminated during a probation period may still allege discrimination in the course of employment or upon termination, and recover damages if the employer is found to have discriminated against the employee. In addition, absent a clear contractual limit on an employee's right to notice of termination during the probationary period, an employee may still have a claim for notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice.

Policies

Most jurisdictions require a written health and safety policy, with contents based on the number of employees and/or the scope of the employer's operations. Various jurisdictions require specific training for employees on health and safety standards. Several jurisdictions require workplace violence, workplace harassment, workplace sexual harassment and/or anti-bullying policies. In Ontario, specific accessibility policies are required. Accessibility policies apply not only to employees but also to interactions with the public and other third parties. Privacy policies are also required and, in a number of jurisdictions, the privacy policy must address the protection of employee personal information.

Harassment and anti-discrimination policies are highly recommended. 

A number of jurisdictions require the posting of information on basic employment laws and health and safety standards. 

Third-party approval

Generally, there is no requirement to file employment contracts or policies or have them approved; however, in Ontario, regular compliance filings are required of most employers under accessibility legislation.

Chile

Employment contracts

As a general rule, employment contracts must be made in writing. If the employer does not provide written terms of employment within 15 days of the employee's start date, the law will presume the conditions alleged by the employee valid.

Individual labor contracts must contain certain provisions, including the position of the employee and description of the work to be rendered, the place of work, the remuneration to be paid by the employer, the term of payment of the compensation (which cannot exceed monthly periods).

Probationary periods

Chilean law does not have regulations in relation to probationary periods. Instead, it is market practice for companies to use fixed term employment agreements as de facto probationary periods. If an employee's performance during the initial fixed term is satisfactory to the employer, the employer will renew the employment contract with the employee.

Policies

Companies with 10 or more employees must implement internal rules (Reglamento Interno de la Empresa).

The internal rules must cover the following mandatory issues:

  • hiring and termination of employment
  • rest periods and leaves
  • different remunerations paid by the company
  • rules on payment of remuneration
  • duties and prohibitions for the employees
  • rules on the executive staff that will handle the worker's questions and complaints
  • rules on the different issues in relation to the age and sex of the employees, and the rules on adjustments that the company may need to perform for disabled employees
  • rules on compliance with social security obligations, military service, Chilean ID
  • rules on hygiene and safety in the company
  • penalties in case of infringement of the internal rules
  • procedure to impose such penalties
  • rules on sexual harassment
  • rules on equal remuneration between men and women

Additionally, companies can incorporate other policies as part of the internal rules of the company.

Third-party approval

There are no regulations regarding third party approval. However, the Labor Directorate may review the internal rules at the request of any employee or union, and may request changes if considers that any provision may be illegal.

China

Employment contracts

A written contract in Chinese is required. If a contract is in a foreign language, a translation into Mandarin is highly recommended and the risk of not translating the contract can be significant.

Probationary periods

The PRC labor laws only allow a maximum probation period of 1 month for contracts less than 1 year, 2 months for contracts longer than 1 year but less than 3 years, and 6 months for contracts of 3 years or longer.

Policies

No mandatory policies, but the absence of a disciplinary policy might make a termination based on misconduct difficult.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party, but the employer must go through a consultation process with relevant representatives to implement and vary employment policies.

Colombia

Employment contracts

Written employment agreements are only mandatory for fixed-term agreements or employment agreements for the duration of a project but are generally recommended.

Probationary periods

Employees hired under an indefinite employment agreement can be subject to a probationary period of up to 2 months. Employees hired under a fixed-term employment agreement can be subject to a probationary period of up to 1/5 of the fixed term agreed upon (without exceeding 2 months).

Policies

Depending on the number of employees, internal working regulations and health and safety policies will be mandatory. Internal Regulations (Reglamento Interno de Trabajo – RIT) are mandatory under Article 105 of Colombian Labor Code for employer with more than 5 permanent employees in commercial business, or more than 10 employees in industrial companies, or more than 20 employees in agricultural, forestry or cattle companies. Health and Safety Regulations (Reglamento de Higiene y Seguridad Industrial) are mandatory under article 349 of Colombian Labor Code for employers with more than 10 permanent employees. An Occupational Health and Safety management system (Sistema de Gestión de la Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo) is required for companies with more than 10 workers. Regardless of headcount, labor harassment and data privacy policies are mandatory. Additional corporate policies are permitted.

Third-party approval

No approvals required, save that Ministry of Labor authorization of the employment relationship is required if the employee is 15 to 18 years old.

Czech Republic

Requirements

Obligatory written employment contract. It must include

  • Type of work
  • Place of performance of work
  • Date of commencement of work

Certain additional information must be provided to the employee in writing within 1 month from commencement of employment if not included in the employment contract.

Probationary

Permissible – maximum 3 months for regular employees, maximum 6 months for so-called managerial employees.

Policies

Mandatory health and safety policy.

Third-party approval

Usually not required, trade unions approval in specific cases.

Denmark

Employment contracts

Employees working more than 8 hours per week and employed for more than 1 month are entitled to receive a written statement of employment terms (employment contract) containing all material terms and conditions of the employment, which must be issued within one month of the date of commencement of the employment. However, it is recommended that an employment contract is issued to all employees.

Probationary periods

Permissible and fairly common; however, no longer than 3 months for salaried employees.

Policies

Many businesses have an employee manual or similar document containing internal guidelines and rules on health, safety and other relevant areas. Such policies are generally not mandatory. However, it is mandatory to have a non-smoking policy and a policy on e-cigarettes.

Third-party approval

Not required for employment contracts or policies.

Finland

Employment contracts

An employment contract can be oral, written or in an electronic form. The terms are defined by the actual relationship between the employer and the employee. As a minimum, the principle terms of employment stipulated in the Employment Contracts Act must be provided in writing. Employment terms may also be established through practice between the employer and the employee.

Probationary periods

Probationary periods are permitted. The employer must agree on the probationary period with the employee. As of January 1, 2017, the maximum duration of such a period is six months and it can be extended in accordance with certain limitations if the employee is on sick leave or on family leave during the probationary period. Collective agreements may provide for a shorter period. In fixed-term contracts the probationary period can be half the contract period, but in any event, no more than six months.

Policies

The employer is required to maintain a mandatory equality policy including pay survey and a non-discrimination policy if there are more than 30 employees employed regularly. The equality policy must include a "pay survey" with details of the employment of women and men in different jobs and a classification of jobs performed by women and men, the pay for those jobs and the differences in pay. The policy must be updated every second year and kept at the employees' disposal. In addition, the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings requires that the employer has certain plans, such as a training plan, as stipulated in the Act.

Third-party approval

No requirements for third-party approval for employment contracts or policies, except for employees under the age of 15.

France

Employment contracts

Within 2 months of commencement of employment, the employee must be provided with certain minimum terms (in principle mentioned on their pay slips). Written employment agreements are highly recommended.

Certain types of employment contracts must be established in writing, eg, fixed-term and part-time employment contracts.

Probationary periods

Probationary periods are 2 months for blue-collar employees and standard employees; 3 months for supervisors and technicians; and 4 months for management-level employees. Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) may provide for differentiating terms.

Trial period renewable once for 2, 3 and 4 months respectively if a CBA and the employment contract expressly provide for it.

Policies

Internal rules (règlement intérieur) mandatory in companies or establishments employing at least 20 employees. A draft law is currently being discussed which could make internal rules mandatory only for companies employing at least 50 employees. 

Third-party approval

Implementation of the internal rules subject to consultation of staff representatives, submission to the labor inspector and communication to employees by any means.

Germany

Employment contracts

Written employment agreements are common, but not mandatory, except for fixed-term contracts. A written statement of the core working conditions has to be provided by the employer within 1 month of commencement of employment.

Probationary periods

Permissible, subject to proportionality, for a term of up to 6 months. Statutory dismissal protection will start after 6 months only.

Policies

No mandatory policy requirements. If a works council exists, works agreements will largely replace policies. Without a works council, policies are common, but subject to standard contract term provisions, which means they cannot be changed unilaterally to the detriment of the workforce.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.

Hong Kong

Employment contracts

A prospective employee must be provided with certain information (wages and wage period, any end-of-year payment, and length of notice) prior to commencing employment. There is no requirement to have an employment contract in writing, but it is common practice to have a written contract signed by both parties.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but 3 to 6 months is common. Regardless of what the employment contract states, either party can terminate the employment contract without notice or payment in lieu during the first month of the probationary period.

Policies

No mandatory policies, although it is common for employers to implement company policies for its employees (such as an anti-discrimination policy).

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with or obtain approval from any third-party.

Hungary

Employment contracts

Employment contracts must be entered into in writing, and  the base salary and the position of the employee are mandatory elements. It is also recommended that contracts specify the place of work. The employer and the employee may agree on further terms in the employment contract.

Probationary periods

Permissible, and commonly used. The statutory limit is 3 months, which can be extended up to 6 months by collective agreement.

Policies

An employee must be informed, in writing, within 15 days from the start of employment of, among other information, daily working hours, other components of remuneration, the date of payment of salary, the duration of paid holiday, and detailed duties of the employee (job description), etc.

An employer is permitted to set rules in relation to other subjects in its own internal policies if these are properly communicated to staff.

Third-party approval

Approval from a third party is usually not required to enter into an employment contract. In special cases, eg, for non-EU citizens, specific permits may be required.

India

Employment contracts

No requirement for a formal written contract of employment, although generally, employers enter into written employment agreements. Some state-specific S&E Acts require employers to record certain terms of employment such as wages, designation and workhours. Recent amendments to

  • the Employees Compensation Act and
  • the Maternity Benefit Act require employers to inform employees (in writing) of the benefits available to them thereunder.

In 2017, the government also ratified the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, that requires all employers to notify an equal opportunity policy which includes details of posts that persons with disabilities can apply for, amenities that are provided to disabled persons to allow them to carry out their work functions, and the manner of selection for employment for persons with disabilities.

The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act applies to employees classified as ''workmen'' and regulates the terms of the contract to ensure uniformity and protection for that class of employee. In the event of any change in certain conditions of service of workmen (such as wages, working hours) which is prejudicial to them, the employer is required to give 21 days' notice (or more, depending on the state where the workmen are located) before implementing the change.

A collective agreement is an understanding between trade unions, who represent the interest of the workmen, and employers. Under IDA, it is unfair for a recognised trade union or the employer to refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the other party.

Probationary periods

The duration of any trial or probationary period is determined by the contract of employment or the model standing orders. Typically, a trial or probation period will be for 3 months, but may be extended by the employer if it is not satisfied with the progress of the employee.

It is usually easier to terminate the service of a probationer as he/she does not enjoy all the statutory protection from retrenchment accorded to workmen.

Policies

Policies are optional and may be amended without employee consent, if drafted appropriately. However, for workmen employees, certain terms and conditions of service can only be modified after giving 21 days' notice. In addition to employment contracts, an employer will usually have various policies that govern its employees' various rights and obligations; for example, leave policies.

Third-party approval

No approvals are required for entering into contracts with employees, with the exception of the Standing Orders, which must be certified by the labor department.

Indonesia

Employment contracts

Fixed-term agreements (ie, those for definite-term employees) must be made in writing and registered with the local Manpower office within 7 days after the signing. Employment agreements of indefinite term can be made either orally or in writing. Both must contain certain required provisions.

Probationary periods

Any employment relationship that includes a probationary period must be documented in writing, and the probationary period cannot be longer than a single period of 3 months. A fixed-term employment contract cannot contain a probationary period.

Policies

No mandatory policies, but the following clauses and policies are recommended: gifts and favors policies for compliance with anti-bribery rules; policy on conflicts of interest with external parties; policies on electronic communications, email/Internet abuse and software copyright; policy on code of conduct; policy on data privacy and changes in personal data; clause in contemplation of natural disaster; political activities; clause on rotation and relocation (mutasi); clause on demotion; clause on suspension (without termination); clause on personal leave.

Third-party approval

Subject to the Employment Contracts section above, there is generally no requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with, or get approval from, any third party. However, company regulations (similar to an employee handbook) and collective labor agreements are filed with and approved by the authorities.

Ireland

Employment contracts

Within five days of starting work, an employer must provide core terms of employment in writing. Other minimum terms must be given with two months of commencement of employment.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but three to six months is common.

Policies

A written health and safety policy, disciplinary and bullying and harassment policies and procedures are mandatory. Grievance and IT-related policies are common and recommended.

Third-party approval

There is no requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third-party.

Israel

Employment contracts

Common best practices. Within 30 days of commencement of employment, employees must be provided with a notice listing certain employment conditions (as well as written updates with respect to changes in employment terms).

Probationary periods

Permissible, generally relating to shortened prior notice periods only. No statutory limit, but up to 3 months is common practice.

Policies

Common best practices. In most cases, prevention of sexual harassment policy is mandatory. In addition, a computer use policy is required if the employer intends to monitor the employee computer use. In companies in the high-tech sector, employee handbooks are common.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third-party.

Italy

Employment contracts

Written employment agreements are required according to national collective bargaining agreements. Certain clauses are not valid if they are not put in writing (eg, probationary clause, non-compete covenant).

Probationary periods

Permissible, with statutory limits, depending on the category and level of the employee (maximum duration is 6 months for executives − the so-called dirigenti).

Policies

Permissible, not mandatory.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with, or get approval from, any third party.

Japan

Employment contracts

No requirement to have a written employment contract, but the employer must provide the employee with certain terms and conditions of employment in writing. If the employer has work rules in place, the work rules may address many of the provisions that must be covered in the writing to be provided to the employee.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but 3-6 months common. An unreasonably long probationary period could be invalid and 12 months is probably the upper permissible period in many cases. Terminations are very difficult in Japan and this is true even during the probation period.

Policies

Employers with 10 or more employees in a workplace are required to create work rules and file them with the Labor Standards Inspection Office. Most of the terms and conditions of employment are stipulated in the employer's work rules. The work rules will constitute part of the employment contract and must stipulate certain terms and conditions of employment, including: wages, working hours and breaks, holidays, termination of employment, disciplinary action and other general matters that apply at the workplace. The working conditions stipulated in work rules are a minimum standard which cannot be diminished by an employment agreement.

Third-party approval

Before filing, the work rules need to be submitted to a representative of the majority of employees (or a labor union which represents the majority of employees if one exists) for comments. While employee comments do not need to be accepted by the employer (ie, approval is not required), the comments must be considered in good faith. See above regarding the filing with the Labor Standards Inspection Bureau.

Kenya

Employment contracts

Common best practice. The contract can be oral or written. Any contract for more than 3 months or requiring a task to be performed in an aggregate period exceeding 3 months from the commencement of employment must be provided with certain minimum terms in writing. A written contract must be presented to an employee within 2 months of employment.

Probationary periods

Mandatory employment/human resources policies are disciplinary and grievance policy, sexual harassment policy, non-discrimination policy and safety and health policy. Policies must be referenced in the contract of employment for enforceability.

Policies

Mandatory employment/human resources policy, disciplinary and grievance policy, sexual harassment policy and safety and health policy. Policies must be referenced in the contract of employment for enforceability.

Third-party approval

There is no requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party. The only exceptions are foreign contracts and employment contracts for seafarers. A foreign contract of service is one that involves the performance of a service outside Kenya by a Kenyan citizen. This type of contract must be in the prescribed form and attested by a labor officer. Before a labor officer can attest a foreign contract the following conditions must be met:

  • The employee has consented without inducement or coercion
  • The contract is in the prescribed form
  • The terms and conditions are in accordance with the Employment Act 2007
  • The employee is medically fit
  • The employee is not employed by another employer during the term of the foreign contract

With respect to the employment of seafarers, their employment contracts must be approved by the Kenya Maritime Authority.

Kuwait

Employment contracts

Non-Kuwaiti national employees are required to sign a government employment contract to obtain their work permit and residence visa. This contract is in English and Arabic. Kuwaiti and GCC national employees are not required to sign a standard form of contract, but their regular employment contract with their employer may be required to be submitted to the MOSAL for review.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Maximum duration of 100 working days.

Policies

There are no mandatory policies. Employees should be provided with any relevant staff handbook and the employer's policies (if applicable) on commencement of employment.

Third-party approval

The government employment contract must be lodged with MOSAL to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. Strictly speaking, any contractual changes should be notified to MOSAL and amended on the filed standard employment contract copy.

Luxembourg

Employment contracts

A written contract is required, and must be entered into for each employee no later than the date an employee commences work. Employment contracts must provide for certain mandatory particulars, listed by the Labor Code.

Probationary periods

Trial period may be set for a minimum of 2 weeks up to a maximum of 12 months. 3-6 months is common.

Policies

No specific policy is mandatory.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third-party, except for young employees under age 18.

Malaysia

Employment contracts

The Employment Act 1955 (EA) sets out mandatory terms and conditions of employment for employees within the scope of the EA (EA Employees). EA Employees are generally those who earn up to RM 2,000 per month or are engaged in manual labor.

Employment contracts are usually documented in writing, but verbal contracts are valid. For EA Employees, the EA requires contracts of service for a fixed term exceeding 1 month, or for the performance of a specified piece of work where the time reasonably required for the completion of the work exceeds or may exceed 1 month, to be in writing. Additionally, the EA requires every written contract of service to include a clause setting out the manner in which the contract may be terminated by either party. The format and content of employment contracts for EA Employees are not regulated.

Probationary periods

Probationary periods are not regulated, and it is common for probationary periods of 1-6 months to be imposed. However, probationers are generally entitled to similar security of tenure as full-time permanent employees, and the non-confirmation of employment during or at the end of the probationary period must be with just cause.

Policies

No mandatory policy requirements. Depending on the nature of the employer's business, recommended policies include health and safety, whistleblowing, or detailed grievance or harassment reporting policies.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.

Mexico

Employment contracts

Written employment agreement must be executed.

Probationary periods

Employees hired pursuant to an indefinite employment agreement or a fixed-term agreement of at least 180 days can be hired subject to a probationary period of up to 30 days, extendable by up to 180 days if the employee is hired as an executive, manager or director or fills an administrative position.

Policies

Depending on the number of employees, written training and productivity policies (that is, policies addressing training and productivity/professional development plans) as well as health and safety policies are mandatory, and must be reviewed annually. An internal work policy may be issued in order to cover the general rules to be followed in the company and the expected conduct at the workplace.

Third-party approval

Labor board approval of the employment relationship is required if the employee is 15 to 18 years old or if the employment agreement is executed under Mexican law, but the activities are performed abroad.

Morocco

Employment contracts

Written contracts are not mandatory, except in particular situations (eg, agency workers).

Probationary periods

Depending on the position of the employee and the type of contract (indefinite or fixed), the probationary period ranges from 1 day to 3 months.

Policies

Internal regulations providing general mandatory provisions applicable in the company are mandatory for all companies employing more than 10 employees.

Third-party approval

Labor inspector's approval of internal regulations is required.

Mozambique

Employment contracts

Employer and employee are required to conclude written employment contracts, and the Labor Law establishes the mandatory clauses that must be included in the contract. Individual employment contracts must be in writing, be dated and signed by both parties and must contain the following clauses:

  • Identification of the employer and the employee
  • Professional category, tasks or activities agreed upon
  • Workplace
  • Duration of the contract and conditions for its renewal
  • Amount, form and frequency of remuneration
  • Date of commencement of execution of the employment contract
  • The term and the justification for the form of contract, in the case of fixed term contracts
  • Date of signature of the contract and, in the case of a fixed term contract for a certain period, its termination date

A copy of a signed employment contract between the parties must be filed in the individual employee's file, together with other documents upon hiring.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Indefinite employment contracts are subject to a maximum of:

  • 90 days for all employees
  • 180 days for medium- and high-level professional employees and employees in positions of management and direction

For fixed–term contracts, probation shall not exceed:

  • 90 days for contracts for periods longer than 1 year
  • 30 days for contracts for periods between 6 months and 1 year
  • 15 days for contracts up to 6 months
  • 15 days for uncertain period contracts which are expected to last for 90 days or more

Policies

Employers with more than 10 employees (medium- and large-sized companies) are required to have an internal regulation which contains rules on the organization and discipline of work, employee social support frameworks, the use of the company's premises and equipment, and those relating to cultural, sporting and recreational activities.

Third-party approval

Internal regulation must be preceded by consultation with the employer's trade union committee or, in the absence thereof, with the relevant union, and approval of the relevant labor department.

Myanmar

An employer must enter into a written employment contract with an employee within 30 days of employment. Generally, the employer must use the standard employment contract issued by the Government.  

An employment contract must include the following information:

  • Type of employment
  • Probation period
  • Wages/salary
  • Location of the employment
  • Term of contract
  • Working hours
  • Day off/public holidays and leave
  • Working overtime
  • Meals during working hours
  • Accommodation and uniform
  • Medical treatment
  • Arrangement for transportation and travelling
  • Regulations to be followed by the employees
  • Training courses
  • Resignation and dismissal
  • Termination
  • Responsibilities of the employer
  • Responsibilities of employees
  • Terminating and making new employment contract with mutual consent between the parties
  • Dispute resolution
  • Amending and supplementing terms and conditions of contract
  • Obligations of the employer and employee

Probationary periods

The probationary period of a standard employment contract is usually 3 months, though this term is not required by legislation. Wages of not less than 75% of the basic salary for the work performed during the probationary period must be paid.

Policies

Per the standard employment contract, employers must set out minor and major offences in an appendix to the employment contract for an employee's information. Employers are also recommended to adopt internal regulations which accord with the law, though the law provides no specific guidance on preparation of internal regulations. Generally, internal work rules and regulations mentioned in the employment contract will need to be submitted to the Township Labor Office (TLO) for approval. 

Third-party approval

The employer must send a copy of the employment agreement to the TLO where the company is located for registration and must obtain the approval of the TLO. Because the employment agreement must be entered into within 30 days of the employment commencement, the TLO approval should be factored into this timeframe, eg, by obtaining the TLO's pre-approval of the contract prior to the parties' execution. Companies with fewer than 5 employees do not need to submit employment contracts for registration, but should still use the standard template.

Netherlands

Employment contracts

Common best practice, but in any case, the following must form part of the employment contract:

  • Parties' names
  • Work location
  • Job/position
  • Start date
  • Duration of the employment
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Notice periods
  • Salary
  • Working hours
  • Pension entitlement Further required content will depend on the requirements of any applicable collective employment agreement.

Probationary periods

Permissible in indefinite-term contracts and fixed-term contracts for 2 years or more, for a maximum of 2 months.

It is not permissible to include a probationary period in a fixed-term employment contract of 6 months or less. It is not possible to deviate from this via a Collective Labor Agreement (CLA).

In case of a fixed-term contract of more than 6 months and less than 2 years a probationary period of 1 month is allowed. Under a CLA, it is possible to extend the probationary period to a maximum of 2 months. 

Policies

Optional.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get approval from any third party.
 

New Zealand

Employment contracts

An employment agreement must be in writing and must contain certain minimum terms such as the names of the parties, a description of the work to be performed, the agreed hours that the employee will work, the wage rate or salary payable and how it will be paid, how employment relationship problems will be resolved, that personal grievances must be raised within 90 days, an employment protection provision, a statement that the employee will get (at least) time-and-a-half payment for working on a public holiday, any other matters agreed on, such as trial periods, probationary arrangements, or availability provisions, the nature of the employment if the employment is fixed-term etc.

Probationary periods

A trial period is permissible for a period of 90 days at the start of a new employee's employment, but only for employers with fewer than 20 employees.

Otherwise, employers can include probationary periods in their employment agreements. However, during a probationary period, the employer must still undertake a fair process before dismissing an employee.

Policies

Not mandatory, but some policies (especially regarding anti-discrimination and harassment, bullying and health and safety) are recommended.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with or get any approval from a third party.

Nigeria

Employment contracts

For manual and clerical workers, the employer is required to provide the employee with a written employment contract no later than 3 months after commencement of employment.

In practice, most employers issue the employment contract before commencement of the employment.

For other employees, employment agreements are not legally required, but in practice are commonly used.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory provision, but the common practice is between 3 and 6 months.

Policies

There are no mandatory policy requirements. Policies are permissible and form part of the employment contract if referenced or expressly incorporated therein.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with, or get approval from, any third party. However, collective agreements are to be registered with the Ministry of Labor.

Norway

Employment contracts

Written employment contract required. Several minimum requirements apply to the content of an employment contract.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Statutory limit of 6 months.

Policies

Staff rules are required for industrial, commercial and office undertakings that employ more than 10 employees. 

Third-party approval

All employees must be registered with the State Register of Employers and Employees (EE-register).

Oman

Employment contracts

Expatriate employees are required to sign a government employment contract to obtain their work permit and residence visa. This contract is in English and Arabic.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Maximum duration of 3 months.

Policies

Employers with more than 15 employees are required to have internal regulations which must be pre-approved by the Ministry of Manpower. These regulations cover working hours, leave, termination, etc. Further, employees should be provided with any relevant staff handbook and the employer's policies (if applicable) on commencement of employment.

Third-party approval

The government employment contract must be lodged with the Ministry of Manpower or relevant free zone authority to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. Strictly speaking, any contractual changes should be notified to the Ministry of Manpower and amended on the filed standard employment contract copy.

Philippines

Employment contracts

Optional. The parties are free to agree to the terms of the employment contracts, provided these are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.

Probationary periods

The probationary period may not exceed 6 months from the date the employee started working. An employee must be informed of the standards of regularization at the time of engagement. An employee becomes a regular employee upon completion of the 6 months' probationary period, if the employee is not terminated from employment due to failing the performance standards before the end of the probationary period.

Policies

A health and safety statement, a disciplinary procedure, data protection policy and an anti-sexual harassment procedure are mandatory. Highly recommended policies include policies on a grievance procedure, non-competition and an IT/electronic communication policy. It is common for employers to issue an employee handbook.

Third-party approval

Except for employment of foreign nationals, no requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with, or get approval from, any third party.

Poland

Employment contracts

An employment contract must be concluded in writing; however, the validity of a contract of employment does not depend on the form.

An employment contract must include basic employment information such as:

  • The parties to the employment contract
  • The type of employment contract
  • The date of concluding the employment contract
  • The conditions of work and pay, including in particular the type of work (job position), the place where work is performed, remuneration, amount of working time, and the date when work commences

Provisions of employment contracts cannot be less favorable to an employee than the provisions of the Polish labor law, or else they are null and void.

Probationary periods

An employment contract for a probationary period is a separate employment contract which can precede other types of employment contracts. A probationary period cannot be longer than three months. The aim of employment under this type of contract is to check the skills and qualifications of the employee and the possibility of employment for a specific type of work. As a rule, the employer can engage an employee for a trial period only once.

Policies

Statutory requirement to adopt workplace and remuneration regulations by employers engaging at least 50 employees, not covered by a CBA. If a trade union operates in the workplace, it may request that an employer adopts workplace and/or remuneration regulations, provided that the employer has between 20 and 49 employees. The content of the workplace and remuneration regulations must be agreed with the trade unions (if operating at the entity).

Employers with at least 50 employees on the first day of each calendar year (ie, 50 full-time positions or their equivalent) are obliged to create a company social benefits fund to allocate money for financing the employer's social activities and adopt regulations on awarding benefits from this fund. If a trade union operates in a workplace, it may request that employer establish a fund, provided that employer has between 20 and 49 employees.

Third-party approval

No requirement to obtain a third party's approval.

Portugal

Employment contracts

Written employment contracts are common, but not mandatory, except for term contract, part-time contract, telework contract, intermittent work contract, agency work contract and contract under service commission regime. A written statement of the core working conditions has to be provided by the employer within 60 days of commencement of employment. Typically, this information is part of a written employment contract.

The employment contract cannot contain conditions that are less favorable to the employee than mandatory employment legislation and applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Probationary periods

Permissible.

Maximum duration in case of indefinite-term contract: 240 calendar days for senior top managers; 180 calendar days for other managers, for highly qualified or complex jobs and for jobs of trust; 90 calendar days for other employees.

Maximum duration in case of fixed-term and open-term contracts: 30 days for contracts whose duration is equal to or longer than 6 months, and 15 calendar days otherwise.

Policies

Companies with more than 7 employees must adopt and implement a Code of good conduct for preventing harassment in the workplace.

Although not mandatory, other company policies can be adopted and implemented by the employer. A company policy may take the form of an internal regulation (regulamento interno), in which case it has to be posted at company's premises as such.

Third-party approval

There is no legal requirement to obtain any third-party approval in respect to any type of employment contract or to a company policy. However, in the event a company policy adopts the form of regulamento interno, previous consultation with the employees' representatives (if any) is mandatory.

 

Qatar

Employment contracts

Non-Qatari national employees are required to sign a standard government employment e-contract to obtain their work permit and residence visa. This contract is in dual language format and contains (as a minimum) Arabic and usually, English.

In light of the basic nature of the standard government e-contract, it is common for more detailed employment contracts to be entered into by the employer and employee.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Maximum duration of 6 months, during which time the employee is entitled to 3 days' notice of termination.

Policies

There are mandatory policies. Employees should ideally be provided with notice of the employer's policies on commencement of employment. The policies should be present in a conspicuous place at the employer's offices (such as the notice board, if any). The employer's policies should be aligned with the Labor Law and approved in advance by the Ministry of Labor. This requirement under the Labor Law is not rigorously enforced and nor actively implemented.

Third-party approval

The government employment e-contract must be lodged with the Labor Department at the Ministry of Labor as part of the employee's work permit and residence visa process. Strictly speaking, any contractual changes should be notified to the Labor Department and amended on the filed government employment e-contract.

Romania

Employment contracts

Execution of an individual employment agreement in writing, in Romanian, and registration of the agreement with the general registry of employees (which is an electronic registry set up by each employer and periodically communicated to the relevant labor authorities).

Probationary periods

Only one probationary period may be used per individual employment agreement (with certain exceptions). As a rule, the maximum duration is 90 calendar days for executive-level positions and 120 calendar days for management-level positions. By way of exception, amongst others, shorter probationary periods are applicable to employees working under a fixed-term agreement and temporary employees, the exact duration depending on the term of their employment and their position.

Policies

Employers are required to implement internal regulations (as an employee handbook), in consultation with the relevant employee representative body. The internal regulations must include certain minimum provisions, such as rules on health and safety at work, disciplinary-related rules, a grievance procedure, employee professional evaluation criteria and procedures, etc. Employers may also unilaterally implement other work-related rules (such as dress code, employee-specific obligations, etc.) via their internal regulations or as separate internal policies/procedures.

Third-party approval

As a general rule, there is no requirement to lodge employment policies with or get approval from any third-party either in respect of any policies or in respect of execution of individual employment agreements. The implementation of internal regulations is only subject to consultation with the relevant employee representative body, and there is no need to reach agreement with them or secure consent.

Russia

Employment contracts

An employment contract must be made in writing and specify the employment commencement day.

Probationary periods

Permissible. 3 months for newly hired employees and 6 months for employees hired for certain executive positions.

Policies

Written internal policies, such as an internal labor regulation and a personal data protection policy, are mandatory. The employer may also adopt other policies, such as a remuneration policy, confidential information protection policy, etc.

Third-party approval

Internal labor regulation must be approved by employees' representatives and trade unions (if any).

Saudi Arabia

Employment contracts

The Labor Law clearly states that the employment contract must be in writing.

From a procedural perspective, an employment contract is required for all non-GCC national employees to obtain their visas. 2 copies of the employment contract should be made, 1 copy to be held by each party.

The contract must contain a minimum of: name of the employer and registered address; name and nationality of the employee; identification of the employee (national identity card number for nationals or foreign passport numbers for non-nationals); employee's salary and any allowances; description of the employee's duties; identification of the place where the work will be performed; date of appointment and commencement of contract; length of the contract, if applicable. Moreover, the Labor Law mentions that an employment contract template, including all the necessary provisions, must be issued by the Ministry.

Under the Labor Law, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has issued a unified employment contract that contains mandatory clauses which must be included in the employment contract used between the employer and employee. Both parties may incorporate additional conditions and terms, which cannot be in contradiction with the provisions of The Labor Law.

Probationary periods

A probationary period of up to 90 days may be agreed upon for any new employee. The probationary period may be extended, subject to the employee's written consent, but cannot exceed 180 days. During this probationary period, both parties (unless such option is restricted to one of them) may terminate the contract for any reason, and the employee has no right to contest the termination or to require the employer to reinstate him or her, nor any right to end-of-service awards. The probationary period and its term must be included in the contract. An employee may be made to serve only 1 probationary period for the same job position, unless the parties agree otherwise, where the second probationary period is for a different position.

Policies

Under the Labor Law, employers must have in place a set of work regulations, which must be prominently displayed in the workplace. Such regulations must be in Arabic, and should generally follow the Ministry of Labor and Social Development standard form template. The Ministry regulations are extensive and include provisions with respect to various aspects of work, including health and safety and disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Employers may include additional provisions in the regulations, provided they are in line with the Labor Law. Any additional provisions must be approved by the Ministry.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with, or get approval from, any third party other than the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

Singapore

Employment contracts

Since April 1, 2016, all employers have been required to issue key employment terms (KETs) in writing, as well as itemized payslips, to EA Employees who are hired after April 1, 2016 and who will be employed for a continuous period of 14 days or more. The KETs must include:

  • Full name of employer (employer's trade name if different from full name of the employer)
  • Full name of employee
  • Job title, description of main duties and responsibilities
  • Start date of employment
  • Duration of employment (if employee is on fixed-term contract)
  • Working arrangements, such as:
    • Daily working hours (eg 8:30am - 6pm)
    • Number of working days per week (eg six)
    • Rest days (eg Saturday)
  • Salary period
  • Basic salary – For hourly, daily or piece-rated workers, employers should also indicate the basic rate of pay (eg, $X per hour, day or piece)
  • Fixed allowances
  • Fixed deductions
  • Overtime payment period (if different from item 7 salary period) and overtime rate of pay
  • Any other salary-related component (such as, but not limited to, any bonus or other monetary incentive) (if applicable)
  • Types of leave, such as, but not limited to, annual leave, outpatient sick leave, hospitalization leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and childcare leave
  • Other medical benefits, such as, but not limited to, insurance, medical benefits and dental benefits
  • Probation period (if applicable)
  • Notice period for dismissal by employer or termination of employment contract by employee (as the case may be)

KETs should be provided to EA Employees within 14 days from the start of employment, and may be in soft or hard copy. Common KETs which are not specific to individual employees, such as leave policy and medical benefits, can be provided within the employee handbook or on the company intranet, so long as the information is easily accessible to workers. If all the required KETs are stated in the written employment contract given to employees, the employer need not issue additional documents. While employees are not required to sign off on KETs, it is in the interest of the employer to obtain acknowledgement from the employees that the KETs have been issued.

Other than as set out above, there are no legal requirements for employers to have employment contracts in writing with employees, and there are no formalities that need to be complied with, although written contracts are recommended. The employment contracts of part-time employees (ie, employees who work for less than 35 hours a week), must specify their hourly basic rate of pay, number of working hours and number of working days, amongst others. KETs should also be issued to part-time employees, so long as they are covered under the EA, employed on or after April 1, 2016 and employed under a contract of service for a continuous period of 2 weeks or longer.

A failure to comply with the KETs requirements will be penalised as a civil breach and attract administrative penalties.

From April 1, 2019 employee records must be maintained for all EA Employees.

Probationary periods

The EA does not have any clauses specifically pertaining to the appropriate probation period for employees. As a common practice, employees may be asked to serve a probation period of 3-6 months.

Policies

No mandatory policies for Non-EA Employees (EA Employees cannot have terms and conditions worse than those prescribed under the EA). Certain terms can be implied into an employment contract by operation of law, or by custom and practice.

Third-party approval

Generally, there is no requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with, or get approval from, any third party before an employment contract is valid (subject to work pass approvals).

Slovak Republic

Employment contracts

Employment must be set up via a written employment contract, and the employee must be provided with one copy of the employment contract.

The employment contract must set out the material terms agreed between employer and employee, including:

  • The type of work for which the employee is employed and their particular duties
  • The place of work (municipality, part of the municipality or another designated place)
  • The commencement date of the employment
  • Wage terms, unless they are agreed in a collective agreement

Probationary periods

A probationary period can be agreed upon in the employment contract for a maximum of three months, or for a maximum of six months in the case of senior managers (those with responsibility for the direction of the company or who report directly to such a manager). The probationary period may not be extended.

The probationary period must be agreed upon in writing, otherwise it is invalid.

Policies

An employer may issue workplace regulations. These may besubject to previous agreement with the employee representatives, otherwise they may be invalid.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge an employment contract with, or get approval from, any third party.

South Africa

Requirements

In general, no formalities are prescribed, although the BCEA requires that a minimum list of written particulars of employment be provided. Compliance need not be in the form of a contract of employment; however, written employment agreements are common. Offers of fixed-term employment for employees earning below the BCEA threshold must be in writing and must contain certain prescribed terms, eg, the reason for use of a fixed-term agreement. Contract comes into existence upon valid acceptance of a valid offer of employment. Consensus with regard to the nature of the services rendered and remuneration is required. On commencement of the employment relationship, employer is required to provide the employee with information such as the calculation and method of payment. The employee cannot contract out of certain rights contained in the BCEA.

Probationary

Permissible for a "reasonable period" (normally between three and six months).

Policies

An employer must have a sexual harassment policy as well as a policy dealing with protected disclosures (ie, whistleblowing policy). In addition, the law provides that all employers must adopt disciplinary rules that establish the standard of conduct required of employees. This generally takes the form of a disciplinary code. Other policies are recommended but not mandatory. Employers are not required to have written health and safety policies, but are required to adhere to the requirements contained in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Third-party approval

None required.

South Korea

Employment contracts

Under the Labor Standards Act (LSA), all employers in Korea must enter into a written agreement with their employees, which details, among other working conditions: wages, working hours and recess periods, weekly paid days off, and paid annual leave. Any agreement that does not satisfy the standards prescribed by the LSA and other binding laws relating to working conditions will be void to the extent that it fails to meet those legal requirements.

Probationary periods

No fixed period for probation by statute, though parties may agree to a probationary period. Generally, a period of 3-6 months will be adopted.

Policies

Rules of Employment are required in companies with 10 or more employees in Korea. Apart from that, there are no mandatory policies. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) establishes a basic framework of general standards for occupational health and safety, and requires most workplaces to establish an industrial safety and health committee, which is to make regular reports to the government.

Third-party approval

Rules of Employment must be filed with the labor authorities. Apart from that, no third-party approval is required.

Spain

Employment contracts

Verbal employment contracts are legal in certain cases, but are not market practice. In any case, for employment relationships which exceed 4 weeks, certain minimum information has to be put in writing, and, in all cases, a summary of the main terms of the contract (copia básica) has to be lodged with the Employment Office. For certain types of contracts (eg, seasonal employment agreements), an official template of the employment agreement is also required (provided by the Employment Office).

Mandatory employment legislation and the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) must be honored.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Subject to the limits fixed by the applicable CBA. Where the CBA is silent, the term is 6 months for qualified employees, 2 months for unqualified employees, and 3 months in companies with fewer than 25 employees.

Policies

Not formally required, although it is common practice for major companies and multinational employers to have specific policies in place.

Third-party approval

Apart from the filing of the basic copy mentioned above, there are no requirements for employment contracts or policies to get approved by any third party. However, if policies include work control systems (eg, policy regarding the use of the IT systems) or professional formation plans, then employees' representatives should be invited to provide a non-binding report.

Sweden

Employment contracts

Within 1 month of the commencement of employment, employees must be provided with certain information regarding minimum terms, eg, name of employer, salary, workplace, vacation, type of employment, etc. Issuing employment agreements is common best practice.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Subject to a statutory limit of 6 months.

Policies

No requirement to have written policies, but they are commonly used. It is generally advisable for an employer to have certain policies, eg, concerning unilaterally issued benefits and use of work equipment (Internet access, computers and mobile phones).

Third-party approval

No requirement.

Switzerland

Requirements

The employee should at least receive, within the first month of employment, written indication regarding the names of the parties, the starting date, the position, the salary and possible additional salary elements, and the weekly work duration.

Mandatory legal provisions must be observed, as well as collective labor agreements whose scope has been extended by the state to all employers in a specific industry (which is the case, for instance, in the construction industry, furniture industry, hospitality and restaurant sectors, private security services and retail).

Probationary periods

Permissible. Up to 3 months (statutory limit).

Policies

So-called "industrial companies" (ie, factories manufacturing and processing goods and enterprises using machines and/or automatic processes) must have a written health and safety policy and, where necessary, a disciplinary measures policy. These are optional for other companies. It is common to have expense reimbursement policies. Specific grievance policies are highly recommended.

Third-party approval

An industrial company's mandatory health and safety policy needs to be reviewed by the Cantonal Labor Authority.

Taiwan

Employment contracts

Employment contracts are not mandatory for Taiwanese nationals, but are common. Employment contracts are required for foreign employees.

Probationary periods

Permissible, but there are no provisions under the LSA which govern probationary periods. Accordingly, advance notice and severance are required for terminations.

Policies

Work rules containing health, safety and grievance policies are required for organizations with over 30 employees.

Third-party approval

Foreign worker contracts are required to be submitted to the Ministry of Labor. Work rules must be submitted to the local labor authorities.

Thailand

Employment contracts

There is no requirement under Thai labor laws to have a written employment contract. However, in practice it is advisable to set out key terms and conditions of employment in writing, because those terms shall be considered as working conditions.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Normally, probation should not exceed 119 days, due to the laws entitling an employee who has worked for 120 days or more to severance pay at the prescribed rate.

Policies

Where the employer employs 10 or more employees, work rules are mandatory and must be publicized at the workplace within 15 days starting from the date that the employer employs 10 or more employees. A copy of the work rules must be kept at the workplace, but the work rules can be provided to employees electronically (eg, emails or intranet). These must be provided in the Thai language and, as a minimum requirement, contain particulars of the following:

  • Working days
  • Regular working hours and rest periods
  • Holidays and rules for taking holidays
  • Rules concerning overtime work and work on holidays
  • Date and place of payment of basic pay, overtime pay, holiday pay and holiday overtime pay
  • Leave and rules for taking leave
  • Discipline and punishment
  • Submission of complaints and
  • Termination of employment, severance pay and special severance pay

In addition, a workplace having 20 or more employees shall have a written working conditions agreement which will form part of the employees' contractual employment terms. This should include as a minimum:

  • Employment or working conditions
  • Working days and hours
  • Wages
  • Welfare
  • Termination of employment
  • Petition procedure for the employee and
  • An amendment or renewal procedure of the working condition agreement

If it is unclear whether there is a working condition agreement, the work rules shall be deemed the working condition agreement in such a workplace.

Third-party approval

Not required.

Turkey

Employment contracts

In principle, it is not mandatory to execute an employment contract, but it is common practice to do so. In cases where there is no written employment contract, within 2 months of the commencement of employment the employer must provide the employee with a written document bearing the employer's signature and stating the general and special conditions of employment. However, the following types of employment agreements must be executed in writing, in order to be valid and binding:

  • Definite-term employment agreement that will remain in effect for at least 1 year
  • Employment agreement with a probationary period (maximum of 2 months)
  • Employment agreement with a non-compete undertaking
  • Employment agreement signed with foreign individuals
  • Employment agreement for work on call
  • Employment agreement for teleworking

Probationary periods

According to the Labor Law, the parties may agree on a probationary period of up to 2 months, which can be extended to up to 4 months through collective bargaining agreements.

Policies

No mandatory policies.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with or get an approval from any third party.

Uganda

Employment contracts

Written employment agreements are common but not mandatory. Within 12 weeks of commencement of employment, employees must be provided with certain minimum terms in writing. The Employment Act requires that an employee be provided the following written particulars of employment within 12 weeks of commencement:

  • Full name and address of the parties to the contract of service
  • The date on which the employment under the contract began, specifying the date from which the employee's period of continuous service, for the purposes of the Employment Act, shall commence
  • The title of the job that the employee is employed to do
  • The place where the employee's duties are to be performed
  • The wages which the employee is entitled to receive, the intervals at which they will be paid and the deductions or other conditions to which they shall be subject
  • The rate of overtime pay applicable to the employee
  • The employee's normal hours of work and the shifts or days of the week on which such work is to be performed
  • The number of days of annual leave to which the employee is entitled
  • The terms or conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provision for sick pay
  • The length of notice in excess of that provided by the this Act required for lawful termination of the contract by the employer or employee

Probationary periods

Permissible. Statutory limit of 6 months, which may be extended for a further 6 months with the consent of the employee. 3-6 months' duration is common.

Policies

Written occupational health and safety policy where the employer has at least 20 workers at a workplace, sexual harassment policy where the employer has more than 25 employees, and disciplinary and grievance policy are mandatory. The disciplinary and grievance policy is mandatory for all employers, but form and content may vary according to the size and nature of the organization.
The policies may be referenced in the contract of employment.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contracts or policies with, or get approval from, any third party.

Ukraine

Employment contracts

An employment agreement must be made in writing and specify the employee's name and the terms and conditions of employment, including position, duties, employment commencement date, place of work, working time, probationary period, wages, etc.

Probationary periods

Generally, probationary periods may not exceed 3 months (they can be 6 months in certain circumstances, subject to the applicable trade union's consent). The probationary period must be reflected in the employment agreement.

Policies

Written internal policies, such as an internal labor regulation and labor safety regulation, are mandatory. Employers may adopt other policies and regulations. For global policies to be enforced in Ukraine, employers must incorporate these locally (including having them translated into Ukrainian and approved as outlined below).

Third-party approval

Internal labor regulations must be approved by the trade union (if any). If there is no trade union, internal labor regulations must be approved by the elected representatives of the employees' general meeting.

Employment agreements do not require third-party approval, but changes to employment agreements and/or terminations may require notification and/or approval from the applicable trade union.

United Arab Emirates

Employment contracts

Employers are required to issue the MOHRE standard form offer letter, containing the key terms and conditions of employment, to employees.  

Employees are then required to sign the MOHRE government employment contract to obtain their work permit (or employee ID card) and residence visa, (in the case of non-UAE/GCC nationals only). The MOHRE employment contract is in English and Arabic. Since January 2016, such contracts are based on a new MOHRE standard template. The employment contract must reflect exactly the terms of the offer letter previously provided to the employee; any changes must be approved by the MOL and the employee, and must be to the employee's benefit; otherwise, it is unlikely they will be approved.

Probationary periods

Permissible. Maximum duration of 6 months.

Policies

There are no mandatory policies. If an employer wants to rely on a disciplinary policy and procedure document onshore, then technically this must first be lodged with the MOL. In practice, however, many employers do not lodge their disciplinary procedures. Employees should be provided with any relevant staff handbook and the employer's policies (if applicable) on commencement of employment.

Third-party approval

For employers registered with MOHRE, the government employment contract must be lodged with MOHRE to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. Most free zone authorities also have a standard form of contract used to obtain the employee's work permit and residence visa. As indicated above, changes to the terms of the employment contract for employees operating onshore (ie not in a free zone) require the prior approval of MOHRE and the employee, and such changes must be to the employee's benefit. In practice both onshore and in the free zones employers still use their own supplemental contracts in addition to the standard MOHRE and Free-zone standard forms. Employers in a free zone must obtain the approval of the free zone authority to hire new employees.

United Kingdom

Employment contracts

Common best practice. However, note that within 2 months of commencement of employment, employees must be provided with certain minimum terms in writing. From April 2020, employers will be required to provide more detailed information to both employees and workers.

Probationary periods

Permissible. No statutory limit, but 3-6 months is common.

Policies

Written health and safety policy and disciplinary and grievance policy mandatory. The latter must be referenced in the contract of employment.

Third-party approval

No requirement to lodge employment contract or policies with, or get approval from, any third party.

United States

Employment contracts

Given the at-will employment concept that exists across the US, most employees do not have any employment agreements, written or otherwise.

However, executives and high-level managers tend to have written employment agreements that-will address items such as duties, compensation, restrictive covenants, and any post-termination severance obligations.

Contracts are not required, and if used, are not required to have any specific terms.

Probationary periods

Permissible, but unnecessary in a typical "at-will" relationship, unless something about the terms or conditions of employment (such as right to accrue vacation or participate in group health benefits) will change following the expiration of the probationary period.

Policies

Policies vary from state to state. Employers are required to post notices about employee rights under various federal and state laws. Anti-harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies are highly recommended to be included in an employee handbook, and may help in the defense against related claims. Certain government contractors are required to implement affirmative action plans. Most employers have employees sign an acknowledgment of the "at-will" employment policy.

Third-party approval

If the workforce is represented by a union or other labor organization, changes to policies that affect terms and conditions of employment need to be submitted to the union or other labor organization for negotiation prior to implementation.

Venezuela

Requirements

A written employment contract is required. It must contain the following information: name, nationality, age, legal status and identity card number of the parties involved; description of services rendered; start date of employment; type of contract; duration; working hours; the wage stipulated; workplace.

Probationary periods

There are no probationary periods expressly stated by law. However, because it is possible to dismiss an employee with no justification during the first 30 days of services, this period has been deemed an unofficial probationary period.

Policies

A written health and safety policy is mandatory.

Third-party approval

Approval from the health and safety authority is required for the written health and safety policy. There are no other approval requirements for employment documents.

Vietnam

Employment contracts

The Government of Vietnam has passed new legislation which removes the requirement  for certain mandatory provisions to be included in employment contracts. The legislation also allows parties to refer to an employer's internal labor regulations, collective labor agreements, other internal policies or relevant laws instead of specifying these in the labor contract. These items include:

  • Salary review and increases
  • Working and rest time
  • Labor protection equipment and
  • Social, health and unemployment insurance

Probationary periods

Permissible, if agreed between the parties. During the probation period, the employer should pay the employee no less than 85% of the full-time wage. The probation period must not exceed 60 days for work requiring specialized or technical skills and at least college level equivalency, 30 days for work requiring specialized or technical skills and at least vocational high-school level and beyond, or 6 business days for other types of work. An employee working under a seasonal labor contract may not be subject to a probationary period. Either party can terminate employment during the probationary period without

Policies

Enterprises with 10 or more employees must have written these regulations. The employer must consult with the relevant collective body regarding written internal labor regulations. Employees must be made aware of the regulations which must also be clearly displayed at the workplace. The regulations must cover:

  • Working hours and rest breaks
  • Rules and codes of conduct
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Protection of assets and confidentiality
  • Disciplinary procedures and penalties

The relevant collective body will be a trade union or a labor federation. It is not compulsory to establish a trade union at company level, but one can be established upon the voluntary participation of at least 5 employees. The labor federation is the executive committee of trade unions at regional level.

The employer must consult the labor federation about its internal labor regulations if a grassroots trade union has not been established. If there is no trade union in an enterprise, but the law requires trade union involvement, the employer must ask the labor federation to set up a temporary union executive committee to participate in the procedure.

There have been recent changes to labor discipline procedures following the government passing new legislation which alters the requirements for employers inviting an employee to and an employee confirming attendance at a disciplinary meeting. The new decree also provides that the authorized representative of the employer can sign and issue a labor disciplinary decision on all types of disciplinary measures, instead of just reprimands under the previous regulations. Previously only the legal representative had this power.  

Third-party approval

An employer must register its internal regulations with the provincial DOLISA where the company is located. Each province has a DOLISA, but there is one MOLISA in Hanoi. While MOLISA is the higher authority, regulatory interpretations may differ between DOLISAs.