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Navigating Employment Law in Mauritius: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers

Understanding Employment Law in Mauritius

Mauritius, an upper-middle-income economy as classified by the World Bank, achieves its status through a careful balance between employer interests and the enhancement of local working conditions for employees. This balance is struck primarily through the island's labor legislation, which outlines the rules and regulations governing the workplace.

Image of an employment law book with a wooden gavel resting on it.
Mauritius Employment Law

Key Components of Employment Law in Mauritius

At the heart of the Mauritian legal framework concerning employment are the Employment Relations Act, the Workers’ Rights Act of 2019, and supplementary circulars. Collectively, they establish the foundational principles for managing employee relations within the nation.

Who Benefits from Mauritius Labor Laws?

The Workers' Rights Act of 2019 extensively covers the dynamics of the employer-employee relationship in Mauritius. Labor regulations apply to both native and foreign personnel operating within the country's domains. They encompass various contract types, including part-time and fixed-term contracts, each with its own set of stipulations.

Nevertheless, certain groups do not fall under this act's purview, such as public officers, local government officials, and individuals governed under the Pay Research Bureau report’s directives. Additionally, atypical workers or those telecommuting with a basic annual pay exceeding MUR600,000 are excluded.

Yet, the essence of employment law in Mauritius is to safeguard a high-quality working atmosphere. Employers have the latitude to enhance working conditions further should they wish.

Book of Employment Law with a wooden gavel sitting on it.
Mauritius Employment Law

The Importance of the Employment Contract

Central to any employment relationship is the employment contract, a legally binding document delineating the mutual responsibilities and expectations of the involved parties. In Mauritius, it is mandatory to articulate this contract in either French or Creole, specifying details such as compensation, termination requirements, and additional benefits. This contract must be furnished to employees engaged for more than a month within a preset timeframe and likewise submitted to the supervising officer.

Understanding Different Types of Work Agreements

  • Deeming Agreement: This type of agreement is established when an employer deems an employee capable of executing a task, and the employee agrees to undertake the work and report to the designated workplace.

  • Fixed-Term Agreement: Employers engage employees for a specified duration under this contract. The period of employment is clearly stated within the agreement, catering to the employer's temporary or project-based needs. It outlines the specific skills required and the duties to be performed by the employee.

  • Atypical Work Agreement: Diverging from traditional employment contracts, atypical agreements are tailored for homeworkers and online platform workers who may serve multiple employers. Compensation for these workers is typically based on time spent or tasks completed, as recorded on timesheets or calculated at a piece-rate. Freelancers often operate under such agreements, which exclude self-employed individuals, job contractors, and business owners.

  • Void Agreement: Any contract that contravenes the stipulations of the Worker’s Rights Act or includes provisions for payment intervals exceeding one month is considered null and void. Such agreements cannot legally enforce terms that infringe upon workers' rights or impose liability on an employee for the actions of others.

  • Part-Time Work Agreement: Under this arrangement, 'part-time worker' denotes an individual whose working hours are fewer than those of full-time counterparts within the same establishment. The agreement ensures that part-time staff are not subjected to less favorable treatment compared to full-time employees in similar roles.

  • Compromise Agreement: Crafted to address disputes between an employer and an employee, such as issues related to termination or discrepancies in payment, compromise agreements are customized to meet the specific resolution requirements of both parties.

AN employment law sitting on a desk with a gavel sitting next to it.
Mauritian Employment Law

Essential Provisions of the Workers' Rights Act 2019

Working Hours and Leave Entitlements

Under Mauritius employment rights, a typical working week should not exceed 45 hours, exclusive of breaks. Different categories of leave are also specified, including public holidays, annual leaves, sick leaves, maternity and paternity leaves, to name a few, each with its particular terms of entitlement.

  • Standard Working Hours: The typical workweek for full-time employees, excluding part-time workers and 'garde malade' (caregivers), is set at 45 hours, not including meal times and breaks.

  • Overtime: Employers and employees have the discretion to agree on any additional hours worked beyond the standard workweek.

  • Rest Days: Employees are guaranteed a minimum of one 24-hour rest day every seven days.

  • Workweek Structure:

  • In a 5-day workweek setting, employees are expected to work 9 hours on any five days, excluding public holidays.

  • For a 6-day workweek, the structure changes to 8 hours on five days and 5 hours on the sixth day, again excluding public holidays.

  • Night Work Restrictions: Employers are generally prohibited from scheduling employees to work night shifts for five consecutive nights, with certain industry exceptions.

  • Flexitime Requests: Employees may request flexible working hours to accommodate personal circumstances or to maintain work quality, subject to employer approval.

  • Youth Employment: There is a prohibition on employing young individuals between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

  • Public Holidays: Employees in Mauritius are entitled to 14 public holidays annually, which include:

  • New Year’s Day

  • Thaipoosam Cavadee

  • Chinese Spring Festival

  • Abolition of Slavery

  • Maha Shivratri

  • National Day

  • Ugadi

  • Eid Al-Fitr

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

  • Diwali

  • All Saints’ Day

  • Anniversary of the Arrival of Indentured Labourers

  • Christmas Day

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Mauritius Public Holidays

  • Annual Leave Entitlement:

  • Employees are entitled to 20 days of annual leave per 12-month period, plus an additional 2 days.

  • Leaves can be taken as full or half days, mutually agreed upon by the employee and employer.

  • Unused annual leave must be compensated with a normal day's wage for each due day at the end of the year.

  • For consecutive annual leave exceeding one day, employees must provide a written notice 48 hours in advance, barring exceptional circumstances.

  • Vacation Leave:

  • Employees with 5 consecutive years of service are eligible for up to 30 days of vacation leave.

  • Maternity Leave Provisions:

  • Female employees receive 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.

  • Eligibility for maternity allowance within 7 days of confinement as per the fourth schedule.

  • Entitlement to 3 weeks' leave at full pay in case of miscarriage, and 14 weeks for a stillbirth.

  • Adoption of a child under 12 months grants the female employee a 14-week paid leave.

  • A nursing break of one hour daily for six months is provided for mothers with unweaned children.

  • Paternity Leave:

  • Male employees with at least 12 months of service are granted 5 days of fully-paid paternity leave.

  • Paternity leave commences within 2 weeks from the child's birth date.

  • Those with less than 12 months of service receive 5 days of unpaid leave.

  • Sick Leave:

  • Employees are entitled to 15 days of sick leave on full pay annually.

  • Unused sick leave can accumulate up to 90 working days.

  • After 6 consecutive months of perfect attendance, employees earn an additional day of sick leave per month until the end of the year.

  • Sick leave from the accumulated balance is granted on full pay.

  • A medical certificate is required for absences exceeding three consecutive days.

  • Special Leave Categories:

  • Paid leave for the employee's first marriage, or the marriage of their child.

  • Bereavement leave for the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling.

  • Additional leaves include juror's leave, participation in international sports events, and court attendance.

  • Juror’s Leave:

  • Employers must provide paid leave for jury duty as summoned under the Courts Act.

  • This also applies when the employee is a party or witness in court proceedings.

  • International Sports Event Participation:

  • Employees representing Mauritius in international sports events are entitled to paid leave for the event duration, subject to providing advance notice and evidence.

  • Court Attendance Leave:

  • Paid leave is granted for attending legal proceedings, with proof of attendance from the Court.

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Mauritius Minimum Wage

Compensation Standards

Employers must comply with minimum wage mandates with penalties imposed for non-adherence. Overtime rates and end-of-year bonuses are likewise regulated to ensure fair compensation practices.

  • Minimum Wage Compliance:

  • Employers must adhere to the minimum wage laws as stipulated by Mauritian labor law.

  • The minimum wage for non-export enterprise employees is set at MUR 10,575 as of 2022.

  • For export enterprise employees, the minimum wage has increased to MUR 9,875.

  • Overtime Compensation:

  • Employees working beyond standard hours are entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular hourly rate.

  • Work done on public holidays is compensated at double the regular hourly rate during normal business hours, and triple thereafter.

  • Employers are required to notify employees at least 24 hours in advance of commencing overtime work.

  • End-of-Year Bonus:

  • Previously calculated as one-twelfth of the annual earnings, end-of-year bonuses are now prorated, applicable to employees earning under MUR100,000 monthly.

  • Payslip Requirements:

  • Employers must issue a payslip to employees, either in print or digital form.

  • The initial payslip should detail the salary breakdown; subsequent payslips can be omitted unless there are changes in remuneration or upon an employee's request.

  • Payslips must include information such as:

  • Pay period

  • Employer’s name

  • Employee’s name

  • Employer's NPF Registration Number

  • Date of entry into employment

  • Category of work agreement

  • Basic pay rate

  • Total days worked

  • Leaves taken

  • Overtime hours worked

  • Allowances and piece rate earnings, if any

  • Total remuneration

  • Deductions with reasons

  • Net pay

  • Contributions to the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund

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Mauritius Employer Compensation Standards

Employer Obligations

From providing payslips to granting severance allowances, the Mauritius employment law outlines numerous obligations for employers. Tax registration and accurate remittance of deductions are integral parts of these obligations.

  • Basic Retirement Protection (BRP):

  • The National Pension Scheme of Mauritius includes the BRP for widows, retirees, and others.

  • All Mauritian citizens over the age of 60 are eligible for the Basic Retirement Pension.

  • A minimum of 12 years' residence since turning 18 is required to qualify for BRP benefits, except for citizens over 70.

  • Non-citizens must have resided in Mauritius for at least 15 years post-age 40 to be eligible.

  • Pension amounts vary by age:

  • MUR 9,000 for ages 60-90.

  • MUR 16,710 for ages 90 to less than 100.

  • MUR 21,710 for ages 100 and above.

  • Retirement Gratuity:

  • Employers are obligated to pay a retirement gratuity to employees who retire after at least 12 months of continuous service.

  • Gratuity calculations include:

  • 15 days of pay for each 12-month period of employment.

  • For periods less than 12 months, one-twelfth of the 15-day pay multiplied by the number of additional months worked.

Strategies for Compliance

To align with employment law in Mauritius, employers can utilize standard templates for work agreements, engage an HR manager or employ outsourced firms to oversee compliance with the myriad aspects of labor legislation.

  • Termination Notice Requirements: