• Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional. The official currency is the Kwanza (AOA). The official language is Portuguese.

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity may engage employees in Angola with proper payroll registrations, subject to business, corporate and tax considerations. The employer is responsible for withholding from an employee's pay, and delivering to the tax authority, income tax and contributions to Angolan social security. The level of income tax is defined by the government and varies in line with the employee's salary.

  • Pre-hire checks


    Immigration compliance and pre-hire medical examinations.


    Reference and education checks are permissible.

  • Immigration

    Criminal and medical checks must be issued by competent authorities, a criminal record must be issued by the home country and a medical certificate must be issued by a doctor in the employee’s home country.

    The visa/work permit requirements for overseas nationals to work in Angola are having a recognized travel document valid for the Angolan territory for at least 6 months, being of legal age, not being included in the national list of undesirable persons prohibited from entering into the national territory, not constituting a danger to public order or to social security interests, complying with all health regulations established by the Ministry of Health for entry into the national territory, having an employment contract or promissory employment contract, having a certificate of professional and educational qualifications and curriculum vitae, and obtaining a positive opinion of the competent Ministry.

  • Hiring options


    Indefinite-term contract (which is the rule), fixed-term or open-term (ie, a term contract whose termination date has not yet been defined, but that will be terminated as soon as the underlying need for contracting is no longer verified – for example, as a contract to cover absence), part-time contract, telework contract and contract under service commission regime – a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination and is not common. The parties may execute an employment contract for a fixed term or open term, which must be done in writing.  Part-time, fixed-term and open-term employees may not be discriminated against due to their status.

    Independent contractor

    Independent contractors may be engaged directly by the company or via a personal services company. Engagement may be subject to misclassification exposure. The factors that tend to indicate an individual is an employee (rather than, for example, a self-employed independent contractor) are the existence of a work schedule, the scheduling of vacation, the worker’s legal subordination to the company, the company’s authority, direction and disciplinary powers, control of punctuality and attendance over the individual, integration into the structure of the company and use of work tools belonging to the company, among others.

    In the event of misclassification, the relationship may be converted into an employment relationship on a permanent basis, and the employer may be liable to pay a fine for non-compliance.

    Agency worker

    Agency workers may only be engaged to fulfill a temporary need for work. The agency work contract duration depends on the underlying reason for hiring and does not typically exceed 24 months. Agency workers have the right to equal treatment to employees in relation to pay and other regular benefits.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    Written employment contracts are common but not mandatory, except for fixed-term, part-time, telework and service commission regime contracts as well as contracts with foreign employees and underage employees. Employment contracts cannot contain conditions that are less favorable to employees than mandatory employment legislation.

    Probationary periods


    Employment contracts for an unlimited period of time may be subject to a probation period corresponding to the first 60 days of performance of work; the parties may, by written agreement, reduce or waive this period.

    The parties may extend the probation period, in writing, to up to 4 months in case of employees who perform highly technical, complex work that is difficult to evaluate, and to up to 6 months in case of employees who perform management duties.

    In an employment contract for a limited period of time, the parties may set forth a probation period in writing, and its duration cannot exceed 15 days in case of non-qualified employees, or 30 days in case of qualified employees. Angolan law does not define qualified and non-qualified, but the common practice is that qualified employees correspond to positions that involve technical complexity, a high degree of responsibility or special qualifications as well as those carrying out functions of trust.


    Employers with more than 50 employees must, in order to organize the work and labor discipline, draft and approve employee handbooks, guidelines, instructions, service orders and work rules defining rules for the technical organization of work, performance of work and work discipline, delegation of powers, employee job descriptions, safety, hygiene and health protection of work, performance indicators, a remuneration system, working hours for the several sections of the company or work center, control of entrances and exits and circulation within the premises of the company, and surveillance and control of production.

    Employers with 50 or fewer employees may, but are not required to, implement employee handbooks on the matters described above.

    Third-party approval

    Whenever the employee’s handbook or any other rules and regulations establish rules on performance and discipline, remuneration systems, work performance or safety, hygiene and health protection at work, the employer must forward such regulations for information and registration purposes to the General Labor Inspectorate.

  • Language requirements

    Portuguese. Nevertheless, employment contracts and other documents may be drafted in a bilingual template.

  • Working time, time off work & minimum wage

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    All employees are entitled to minimum employment rights.

    Working hours

    Maximum daily and weekly working hours are 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week. Overtime pay is required for hours worked in excess of these limits. These limits are inapplicable to employees who perform direction and leadership duties, duties of inspection, or provide direct support to the employer (ie, employees who may be exempt from a work schedule). In case the employee usually performs their work outside the company's premises, an exemption regime may also be agreed upon by the parties, in which case those limits shall not apply. Typically, employees under the exemption regime are entitled to an exemption bonus.


    Overtime may occur with an extraordinary increase in workload, to prevent serious damage or if due to majeure force. It is subject to the following maximum limits: (a) 2 hours per day, (b) 40 hours per month and (c) 200 hours per year.

    Overtime must be compensated with additional payment (ie, an increase of hourly rates) up to 30 hours per month: 50 percent, 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company dependent on number of employees and turnover. A company which is a subsidiary or branch of a company with headquarters abroad always qualifies as a large company. Overtime that exceeds that limit is paid for each hour at an additional 75 percent, 45 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company.


    The minimum wage is established by Presidential Decree. It is set out as a general minimum wage, but there is also a minimum wage for trade and extractive industry groups, transport services and manufacturing groups and agriculture groups. Under the Decree currently in force, the general minimum wage is AOA32,181.15. The following sector-specific minimum wages also apply:

    • Trade and extractive industry groups: AOA48,271.73
    • Transport services and manufacturing groups: AOA40,226.44 and
    • Agriculture groups: AOA32,181.15.


    Minimum 22 working days per year, plus 12 public national holidays.

    Sick leave & pay

    Employees are entitled to take off as much time as they need for sick leave. For large and medium companies: In case of incapacity to work due to illness or common accident, pay is required in the amount corresponding to 100 percent of the base salary for a period of 2 months. For as long as the employee is not entitled to protection in case of illness or common accident from the social security authorities, the employer must pay to the employee 50 percent of salary from the 3rd to the 12th month.

    In case of small and micro companies: The employee is paid, in case of illness or common accident, the amount of 50 percent of the base salary within 90 days, after which the contract is terminated by expiration if the condition of illness remains.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    A pregnant employee is entitled to a paid maternity leave of 3 months. The amount of the maternity allowance is equal to the average of the 2 best monthly salaries from the 6 months preceding the commencement of the maternity leave. The maternity allowance is paid directly by the employer to the employee and, subsequently, the Social Security services reimburse the employer in full. Fathers are not entitled to any leave on the birth of a child; it is only considered as a justifiable reason for absence from work for 1 day.

    Other leave/time off work

    Employees may also be entitled to leave for other purposes, such as for their wedding; fulfillment of legal or military obligations which must be performed within the normal working period; attendance to tests by working students; attendance of training, professional proficiency, professional qualification or job conversion courses authorized by the employer; participation in cultural or sporting activities, either in representation of the country or the company or in official contests; the performance of necessary and urgent action in the exercise of leading tasks in labor unions as a union representative or as a member of the employee’s representative body; or the  participation of the employee as a candidate to general or municipal elections approved by the competent authority.

  • Discrimination & harassment

    Discrimination based on the following protected characteristics is prohibited: race, color, gender, ethnic origin, marital status, origin or social rank, religious beliefs, political opinion, union affiliation and language.

  • Whistleblowing

    There is no special provision in this regard in Angola. Protection is only granted in the course of criminal action at the request of a whistleblower or by decision of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

  • Benefits & pensions

    Both employer and employee must pay contributions to social security in Angola to cover various employee benefits (eg, maternity leave payment and retirement pension). The employer must withhold the contribution due by the employee and deliver both contributions (ie, employer and employee) to social security every month.

    Current general rates are 3 percent of the gross wage for the employee and 8 percent for the employer.

    Employees with a minimum contributory period (ie, 35 years) qualify for a retirement pension at age 60 or in cases of total incapacity.

    Employers have no legal obligation to provide complementary or supplementary social benefits in addition to the social coverage provided for by the social public scheme. However, some companies – mostly large companies or multinational companies who have their own schemes worldwide – set up and provide private complementary health and pension schemes to their employees.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 22/11, June 17 governs Angolan data privacy and determines, in general terms, how to collect, use, disclose, store and give access to "personal information."

    There is no specific regulation on employee data privacy.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Provided that the same business activity is maintained, the new employer takes the position of the former employer in the employment contracts and takes their position in respect of the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationships. This is the case even if the employment contract is terminated before the transfer. The new employer takes their position as the employer of such former employees in respect of due and non-paid credits. All credits, rights and obligations of the employer arising from the execution and implementation of the employment contract, its violation or termination are subject to a statute of limitations of 1 year starting on the day following the day of termination of the contract. Employees keep the same seniority and acquired rights which they had in the service of their former employer.

    The new employer undertakes the obligations of the former employer limited to those incurred during the 12 months prior to the modification, provided that, up to 22 business days prior to the modification, the new employer gives notice to the employees that they must claim their credits up to the 2nd business day prior to the date scheduled for such modification. Within 22 business days following the modification of employer, the employees have the right to terminate the employment contract with prior notice, but this does not confer any right to compensation.

  • Employee representation

    Employee representative bodies are permissible but not mandatory.

    Trade unions are not common in Angola.

    In order to carry out their duties, trade union representatives are entitled to 4 paid hours a month but must notify the employer in advance of the date and number of days they require for the exercise of trade union functions. Employers are obliged to provide a suitable place for workers' meetings whenever this is requested by the union representatives. Special protections against dismissal are granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing union-related activities.

  • Termination


    Unilateral termination by the employer: dismissal based on objective grounds (ie, redundancy reasons); disciplinary dismissal with just cause (ie, based on serious breach of the employee's duties).

    Termination without cause (with notice): only for employees hired under an employment contract of service commission regime (a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination but is not common).

    Other termination causes: mutual agreement, termination by the employee (ie, termination with notice or constructive dismissal with just cause), expiration (ie, fixed-term and open-term contracts or retirement).

    Employees subject to termination laws

    All employees.

    Restricted or prohibited terminations

    Special protection against dismissal is granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing activities; women covered by the regime of maternity protection; war veterans as per the definition provided by the applicable law; employees under the legal age; employees with a reduced work capacity or with a disability degree equal or higher than 20 percent.

    As a general rule, a copy of the notice served on the employee must be forwarded to General Labor Inspectorate.

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Except in respect of protected employees, third-party approval is not required to terminate an employment.

    Mass layoff rules

    If economic, technological or structural circumstances occur, which may be clearly demonstrated and which involve an internal reorganization or conversion, or the reduction or the shutting down of activities, which makes it necessary to eliminate or significantly change job positions, the employer may terminate the employment contracts of the employees who perform such job positions.

    Collective dismissal rules are triggered if the dismissal involves at least 20 employees.

    Information to the General Labour Inspectorate is required. However, there is no need to obtain approval for termination.

    The General Labor Inspectorate may undertake the diligence deemed necessary for clarification of the situation and, in case of a collective dismissal, during the period in which the evaluation of the General Labor Inspectorate occurs, the employer may promote a meeting with the representative body or with the committee appointed for the purpose of exchange of information and clarification and may forward the conclusions of the meetings to the General Labor Inspectorate.


    For individual dismissals based on objective grounds (up to 20 employees): the employer must forward, at least 30 days in advance, prior notice of dismissal to the employee or employees who occupy the job positions to be extinguished or transformed.

    For collective dismissal: the prior notice is 60 days.

    Notice periods in case of term contract: 15 business days if its duration is equal to or higher than 3 months.

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Payment in lieu of notice is permitted (and required if the notice period is not honored).

    Garden leave is allowed during the notice period.


    Fair dismissal based on objective grounds (redundancy/collective dismissal):

    • Large companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 5 and an additional 50 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service that exceed such limit
    • Medium companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 3 and an additional 40 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed such limit
    • Small companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 30 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years
    • Micro companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 20 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years


      Fair disciplinary dismissal: no severance.

      Higher severance payments may be agreed and are usual as a way to avoid litigation.

  • Post-termination restraints

    A clause of the employment contract which restricts the activity of the employee for a period of time, which may not exceed 3 years from the termination of the contract, is lawful if the following conditions are met: (a) such clause is included, in writing, in the employment contract, or in its addendum; (b) the activity performed may cause real damage to the employer and may be considered as unfair competition; (c) the employee is paid a salary during the period of restriction of work: the corresponding amount will be included in the contract or its addendum, and it must be taken into account, in its calculation, the fact that the employer may have incurred in significant expenses in the professional training of the employee.

    A clause which requires an employee who benefits from professional improvement or higher level education at the expense of the employer to remain at the service of the same employer for a certain period of time, provided that such period does not exceed 1 year, in case of training of professional improvement and up to 3 years in case of courses of high level education, is also lawful if established in writing. In this case, the employee may release themselves from remaining at the employer’s service by repaying to the employer the amount of the expenses incurred by the employer, in proportion to the remaining time until the term of the agreed period. The employer that hires the employee within the period of restriction of activity in the company is jointly liable for the damages caused by the employee or for the amount not returned by the employee.

  • Waivers

    In principle, statutory rights cannot be waived and any waiver of such rights will be null and void.

  • Remedies


    Fine corresponding to 5 to 10 times the average salary paid by the company.

    Unfair Dismissal

    The employee may challenge the validity of the dismissal before the labor courts.

    If the relevant court declares the dismissal to be unlawful, by final judgment, the employer must immediately re-instate the employee in the same job position and benefiting from the same previous conditions, or, alternatively, shall indemnify the employee (compensation is different depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company and the cause of dismissal).

    In addition to re-instatement or the compensation, the employee is entitled to the base salaries they would have received if they had continued to perform work, until the date on which the employee finds a new job or up to the date of final judgment, whichever comes first, with a maximum limit of 6 months of base salary for large companies, 4 months to medium companies and 2 months for small and micro companies.

    Failure to inform and consult

    Not applicable.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Typically, non-compliance with employment laws leads to administrative proceedings which may lead to the payment of fines. If such non-compliance is based on violation of rights that deserve protection under criminal law, it may also lead to this type of judicial proceedings.

  • Key contacts
    João Guedes
    João Guedes
    Partner DLA Piper [email protected] View bio
    Daniela Rosa
    Daniela Rosa
    Senior Associate DLA Piper [email protected] View bio
    Islândia Ribeiro
    Islândia Ribeiro
    Senior Associate DLA Piper Africa [email protected] T +244 923 612 525 View bio

Criminal sanctions


Typically, non-compliance with employment laws leads to administrative proceedings which may lead to the payment of fines. If such non-compliance is based on violation of rights that deserve protection under criminal law, it may also lead to this type of judicial proceedings.


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.


There are criminal sanctions for breach of relevant work health and safety laws, workers' compensation laws and taxation laws. The Queensland and South Australian labor hire licensing laws and underpayment laws in Victoria and Queensland provide for terms of imprisonment in respect of some breaches.


Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern.


Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.


Most legal dispositions with regard to labor law are subject to criminal or administrative sanctions in case of breach.


Violation of employment laws and discrimination can trigger criminal sanctions.


The main areas where criminal sanctions arise are under occupational health and safety legislation and related Criminal Code provisions. Both employees and directors may be subject to criminal sanctions.


Not applicable for this jurisdiction.


Limited circumstances, such as failure to pay salary in bad faith, may result in criminal sanctions.


Employees may be subject to criminal sanctions if they do not honor their non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements.

Employers may be subject to criminal sanctions if they perform actions to reduce enrollment to unions or to discourage such enrollment.

Czech Republic

Illegal employment of foreigners may, under limited circumstances, constitute a criminal offense, as could avoiding tax and health and social security payments.


Non-compliance with employment law may lead to criminal sanctions. Examples include employing a person without a valid work permit, failing to report and pay holiday pay, reading private emails, disclosure of trade secrets, breach of anti-discrimination provisions and failure to inform and consult in relation to collective redundancies, or business transfers.

Apart from fines relating to a breach of the rules on work permits and to the lack of reporting and paying of holiday pay, criminal sanctions related to employment legislation are rarely seen.


Typically, employers face criminal prosecution in connection with alleged discrimination, or where breach of occupational health and safety obligations has caused damage to an employee, or if the employer has not complied with working-hour regulations. Failure to comply with the Employment Contracts Act or with information obligations in connection with the transfer of an undertaking may also be sanctioned with a criminal fine.


Yes (eg, for discrimination, harassment, offense of obstruction, or where an employee is discovered undertaking "concealed" work).

Both the company's representative and the company as a legal entity can be held criminally liable. The company’s representative can through a delegation of authority transfer his powers and liability to another employee competent notably in health and safety matters. Il ensures that the employee actually in charge of these questions is the one accountable.


Significant frequent violation of works council information and consultation rights may lead to criminal charges; however, this rarely occurs.

Hong Kong, SAR

The provisions of the EO are enforced, first by criminal law sanctions (where the usual penalty is a fine, except for payment-of-wages offenses, which can give rise to a sentence of imprisonment), and secondly, by way of civil remedies at the instance of the aggrieved employee. Further, in some instances, liability can be passed to the individual decision-maker of the employing company.


Not applicable for this jurisdiction.


Sanctions for violating labor statutes include both imprisonment and fine. The extent of such penal provisions will depend on the statute and the nature of the breach.

The Wage Code, SS Code and OSH Code also provides for a single authority to carry out inspections of the compliance status of establishments under these codes and advise employers and employees on better compliance. Further, the inspector/ facilitator is required to give an opportunity to the employer to comply with the provisions of the said code within a stipulated timeline before initiation of certain prosecution proceedings. Additionally, the labor codes allow for the compounding of offenses, at any time before or after initiation of the prosecution.


Imposed on employers who breach the Manpower Law, including where employers participate in anti-union activity; intentionally and without any rights or illegally access computers and/or electronic systems owned by somebody else for the purpose of obtaining electronic information and/or electronic documents; violate workplace health and safety regulations; fail to submit written annual reports on their industrial relations to the Minister of Manpower; or fail to pay severance pay, the term of service recognition payment and/or compensation as entitlements that should have been received upon termination of employment or overtime due; employing the employees for overtime without the their’ consent or exceeding the statutory maximum overtime.


Failure to notify the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment about mass layoffs is a criminal offense, although prosecution is rare. Employing a non-EEA or Swiss national without the required work permit is also a criminal offense. Failure to provide employees with a written statement containing 5 core terms of employment within 5 days of them commencing employment is also a criminal offense.


Failure to comply with various labor laws (such as minimum wage, work hours, unlawful discrimination and prohibited termination) is a criminal offense and may result in criminal proceedings (at least in theory).


Generally limited to the most serious cases of failure to comply with regulation regarding health and safety in the workplace. Under certain circumstances, failure to fulfill a court decision may lead to criminal liability.


Some violations are subject to criminal sanctions. For example, violations of the worker dispatch law or failing to pay wages, including overtime allowances, may result in criminal sanctions.


Although criminal sanctions are not a general concern in employment and labor practices, failing to comply with the provisions of the labor laws is punishable in a court of law either by imprisonment or fines.


Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the setting up of a trade union, breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.


Certain mandatory labor law rules are criminally punishable by fines and/or imprisonment, notably:

Publishing a job offer without informing the Administration of Employment (ADEM)

Hiring an employee without arranging a compulsory medical examination

Hiring an employee from outside the EEA without authorization

Paying wages below the minimum social wage

Failing to comply with the rules on paid leave and

Failing to comply with the rules on public holidays.


None specific to employers.


Employees may be subject to criminal sanctions if they do not honor their non-disclosure agreement.

Employers may be subject to criminal sanctions if they pay to their employees less than the minimum wage or employ children under 15 years old.


Ranges from fines (up to EUR30,000) to the closure of the company.


Possible, but separate from labor process.


If any employer fails to sign an employment contract, it can be punished with imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine, or both.

If anyone violates any matters contained in an employment contract, he/she shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than 3 months, a fine, or both.

Employers or employees may be criminally liable for certain violations and subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.


Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern.

New Zealand

Generally, none. However, there are criminal sanctions for breach of relevant health and safety laws.


Criminal sanctions are not applicable.


Willful or negligent breach of the Working Environment Act by the proprietor, employer or person managing the undertaking in the employer's stead is liable to a fine, imprisonment up to 3 months or both. In particularly aggravating circumstances, the penalty may be up to 2 years' imprisonment. This does not apply to breach of provisions regarding appointment and termination.


Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.


According to the Criminal Code, violation of employment laws and discrimination may trigger criminal sanctions in the following cases:

  • Harassment, sexual harassment, sexual blackmail and the spreading of images, audiovisual or audio materials with sexual content
  • Forced labor
  • Forcing or preventing an employee from joining a union or
  • Deliberate infringement of Health and Safety at Work regulations and endangering the lives, health or integrity of employees in a serious way.

COVID-19 Special Regulations

Home office

The employer may instruct employees to work from home until December 2022. In case of employees at high risk of a COVID-19 infection, the employer must prioritize home office.


If the employer cannot maintain its workforce because its financial situation has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and/or can’t apply the home office, it is possible to furlough employees. The application must be approved by the Labor Administrative Authority. The furlough may last until April 5, 2021, at most.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan

Peru is under lockdown measures as of March 16, 2020. The economic reactivation process started in May of 2020 and consists of 4 stages. If the employer’s activities are allowed, according to such reactivation process, it is necessary to elaborate and register a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan prior the restarting of operations after quarantine.


Employees who perform work activities in person must prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In case of non-compliance, the employer can require the employee to work from home. If this is not possible, employers may furlough employees unless agreed otherwise.

An employee who vaccinates against COVID-19 is entitled to up to 4 hours days of paid leave. To enjoy this benefit, the employee must notify the employer within 48 hours before the day of vaccination.

As of January 31, 2022, individuals 40 and older must demonstrate that they have received their third vaccine dose against COVID-19 in order to enter to closed places, such as offices, shops, restaurants, supermarkets and clubs, among others.


Criminal penalties may be imposed for violations of the Labor Code of the Philippines and relevant Special Laws as provided therein, such as but not limited to illegal recruitment, sexual harassment, child labor, non-remittance of SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig contributions, and violations of collective bargaining agreements amounting to unfair labor practices.


An employer may be fined from PLN1,000 to PLN45,000 for committing offenses specified in the Polish Labor Code which relate to the employer's basic obligations.


There are criminal sanctions related to employment issues such as improper use of child labor, violation of the autonomy or independence of trade unions, discriminatory acts, disobedience to the labor authority, fraud in respect of withholding taxes or social security contributions and breach of safety rules.

Generally, legal persons are held criminally accountable for felonies committed by their legal representatives and de facto or de jure administrators in their name or on their behalf and to their benefit.


Criminal sanctions can be imposed for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, the breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.


Infringement of health and safety rules may lead to criminal sanctions where human life has potentially been put in jeopardy. Criminal liability is also triggered, for example, in cases of repeated breach of the obligation to pay minimum salary, repeated refusal to permit labor inspectors access to any of the company's locations or refusal to provide inspectors with requested documentation.


Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern for employers acting as legal entities. However, company officials, including the general director of a Russian legal entity, may be subject to criminal sanctions for certain crimes (eg, labor safety violations).

Saudi Arabia

Not generally a concern under Saudi Labor Law.


Criminal sanctions include fines or imprisonment for offenses under the EA or other applicable statutes. Offenses under the EA include, but are not limited to, wrongful detention of an employee by the employer after a contract of services have been determined, obstructing an employee appearing before an inquiry held by the Commissioner, fraudulently inducing an employee to emigrate out of Singapore to work and failure to pay salary as stipulated.

Any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company may also be charged with the same offense and punished upon conviction if it can be shown that the offense is committed with the consent or connivance of any act or default of such persons.

Slovak Republic

Non-payment of wages or severance pay may be punished by a prison sentence up to 12 years, depending on the circumstances, motive and damage caused.

South Africa

Employment law is largely decriminalized; however, specific legislation renders some behavior a criminal offense – for example, fraudulent behavior. Law enforcement bodies must be notified if the employer knows or suspects that the employee has viewed child pornography. Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 requires an employer to report certain criminal offenses committed by an employee. These include criminal offenses such as theft, fraud, forgery and extortion involving an amount over ZAR100,000. It also includes corruption regardless of the amount involved.

South Korea

If the ruling of unfair dismissal is finalized by the court and the employer does not comply with the re-instatement order from RLRC, the employer may be subject to an imprisonment of up to 1 year or a criminal fine of up to KRW10 million.


There are criminal sanctions related to employment issues, such as those linked to work-related accidents and social security fraud.

Additionally, the recent amendment made to Article 311 of the Spanish Criminal Code provides for individual liability for company managers and directors who engage in the criminal offense of “impos[ing] illegal conditions on their workers by hiring them under formulas outside the employment contract, or maintain them against a requirement or administrative sanction”.


An employer who intentionally or negligently fails to comply with an order or prohibition issued by the Swedish Work Environment Authority pursuant to certain regulations may be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year.


Failure to comply with health and safety legal requirements; undeclared or illicit work; sexual or psychological harassment.

Taiwan, Republic of China

Not a concern.


The LPA and LRA both provide criminal sanctions including penalties of both fine and imprisonment. Further, in some instances, liability may be passed to the director of the employing company.


Most employment offenses in Tunisia lead only to fines at the low rate of TND 24 - 60. However, some specific offenses can result in imprisonment including:

  • Intentional interference with the free selection of members of the Consultative Commission or with the selection of workers’ delegates
  • Repeat offenses regarding the formation of unions

    Foreign workers working illegally who continue to work after being ordered to stop

  • Offenses concerning dangerous or unhealthy work environments

  • Interference with those who inspect establishments for compliance with health and safety provisions.

  • Illegal strikes or lockouts


    • Failure to comply with requisition measures

    • Stealing company equipment


Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern, except in cases such as sexual harassment or an occupational accident.


Violation of certain provisions of the Employment Act may trigger criminal sanctions. For example, a person who records or causes to be recorded wrong, inaccurate or deficient information in an employee's records of service with an intention to defraud the employee or employer or any public authority, or who acts to conceal such fraudulent acts, commits an offense, as does an employer or employee who fails, without justifiable cause, to reply to a labor officer's written request for information within a period of 14 days from the time the request was received by the employer or the employee, as the case may be.


Ukrainian labor law provides for the following categories of liability for violations of the labor law:

  • Financial penalties, which may apply to the company as a legal entity.

  • Administrative fines, which may be imposed on company officers (ie, the director).

  • Criminal liability (up to imprisonment), which is applicable to the company officers (ie, the director).

United Arab Emirates

Criminal sanctions can be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the setting up of a trade union, breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.

United Kingdom

Failure to notify the Secretary of State about mass layoffs is a criminal offense. Prosecution is fairly rare, but there has been an upward trend in prosecutions in recent years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic a number of criminal offenses were introduced, primarily in relation to self-isolation obligations and the wearing of face coverings.

United States

Employers may be criminally liable for certain violations of federal and state employment laws such as wage and hour and health and safety laws. For example, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) violations can carry criminal penalties – not only against employers, but also against managers and supervisors. A California law that took effect on January 1, 2022, makes intentional wage theft punishable as grand theft. In limited circumstances, employers may be vicariously liable for the criminal acts of their employees. Employers may be liable for monetary statutory penalties (such as double or treble damages) for violations of wage and hour and other laws.


There are criminal penalties set in the labor law when an employer:

  • Refuses to execute a reinstatement order
  • Violates strike rights
  • Fails to comply with or obstructs actions or procedures from the labor authorities or
  • Illegally or fraudulently closes or ceases operations.

In these cases, the employer’s representatives or managers would be subject to criminal liability with imprisonment between 6 and 15 months.

Employers may also be held liable where an employee dies due to a serious breach of health and safety obligations in the workplace, subject to imprisonment between 8 and 10 years.


Employers may be criminally liable for certain violations, such as unlawfully dismissing an employee or using force or threats which cause an employee to resign, and may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.