Every foreigner who wants to relocate or invest in Mauritius has the duty to understand the laws and rules in force in the country. Even if many can afford the support of professionals in the fields, some basic knowledge still remains important. We are launching a series of short articles on our blog to help our readers understand the laws (and the spirit of law) which are related to the setting-up & operation of business in Mauritius. This series will include, amongst others: company law, accounting rules, tax rules and employment.
We start our series with the last topic: employment.
The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment is the supreme authority which regulates labour laws in Mauritius. The ministry operates several departments, each one specializing in a particular aspect of employment: operational health & safety, labour law, employment of foreign nationals, licensing of recruitment agencies, etc.
The head-office is found in Port Louis (where else?) – but several sub-offices are operational in various regions of the island. These sub-offices offer a number of services to employers & employees and were created to avoid overloading the head-office.
The Employment Rights Act is the main law that governs employment in Mauritius. The Law itself is not heavily loaded with legal and technical jargon. It is written in a rather accessible language and allows the nonprofessionals to at least understand the fundamentals.
It is to be noted that the Employment Rights Act is not the only reference that needs attention. Employers need to consult Remuneration Orders issued by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment. Remuneration Orders set out the additional rules of employment in industries operating with specific needs. For example: hotels, tourist’s entreprises, shops, call centres, etc. These businesses operate specific working hours and therefore turn to Remuneration Orders of their particular industry to determine, for example, how overtime is calculated or paid, shift systems & mandatory rest periods, after-hour transport obligations, meals & other allowances – and other specific issues.
Employment, an overview of the main points
Intervals between two salary payments shall not exceed 1 month. No agreement is valid if it mentions an interval exceeding 1 month. Employers and employees may enter into agreement for pay intervals of less than 1 month
Working hours: 8 hours of effective work per day – except for those working on a part-time basis and for watchmen. For the latter, 12 hours of effective work per day is recommended by Law.
Overtime should be on mutual agreement (employer & employee). On expected future overtime, the employer has the duty to give a 24 hour notice to his employee (wherever possible) and the latter may refuse to attend such overtime work, with a 24 hour notice.
A worker performing on a public holiday earns twice his hourly rate for each hour worked on that day.
For each 4 hours of work, an employee has a right to 1 meal break of 1 hour AND to 1 tea-break of 20 minutes Or 2 tea-breaks of 10 minutes each.
No discrimination: employees of the same category, working on the same hours should be paid on an equal basis.
The right to payslips cannot be discussed – it is mandatory!
No deductions are allowed on salary, save and except those mentioned in the Law. In case of refund of advance salaries, the employee needs to give his consent in writing and the refunds shall not exceed one-fifth of the monthly salary.
Maximum deduction (in any case) shall be less than 50% of the salary payment
Employers cannot apply financial sanctions (fines) to employees for negligence or damage to equipment. Employers cannot apply any interests or financial charges on advances made to employees.
The cost of transport shall be borne by the employer and refunded to the employee if the permanent place of residence of the latter is more than 3kms from the place of work. If called to work after normal working hours (where public transport is not available), the employee has the right to a free transport means from his employer, irrespective of the 3kms distance
The right to leaves (annual, sick, maternity and paternity) is opened to the employee after 12 months of consecutive employment
Annual leave: 20 days + 2 additional days.
Sick leave: 15 days.
Maternity leave: 12 weeks (with an option of 6 weeks prior to confinement). Breast-feeding female workers have the right to two breaks of 30 minutes each or to one break of 1 hour per day, over a period of 5 months following confinement or over such periods as may be medical advised.
Paternity leave : 5 consecutive days.
Any employer, employing more than 10 persons should cater for medical facilities on-site.
The employer has the duty to provide transport facilities to any employees suffering from accident on his place of work.
National pensions funds & training levy
The maximum salary on which pensions funds & solidarity fund contributions are calculated : Rs12,640
– The employee pays 3% (National Pensions Fund) + 1% (National Solidarity Fund)
– The employer pays 6% (National Pensions Fund) + 2.5 (National Solidarity Fund)
– Training levy is paid by employer at the rate of 1.5% on the actual salary (not the maximum of Rs12,640). This training levy gives right to a refund of costs of training spent on training schemes approved by the government.