Mauritius employment laws & regulations, an overview

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 authority

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 Laws

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.

We have, in this article, highlighted the main points of labour law and regulations of Mauritius.  Readers will understand that it is impossible for us to cover all the laws in this short article.  We therefore make ourselves available to answer your queries by email (nadeem@gibsonandhills.com)

Nadeem

www.gibsonandhills.com

180 thoughts on “Mauritius employment laws & regulations, an overview

  1. Hi,

    Very often, employees from my company are required to sign a training bond/travel bond which is often between 6 months- 2 years. These training are either very short term- 10hrs normally or the travel is for business purposes which will benefit the organisation.

    Can you please therefore advise if such bonds are legally inding?

    Regards
    Atesh

    • Hello Atesh

      Bonds are now very common. It allows the company to protect investments made in its HR (training, travelling, etc.)
      Legally binding? I would say a YES. However, the employee should be made aware of the bond conditions and his responsibilities in case of breach. Very often people sign a contract and a bond because they are in desperate need of work. Then when they are adequately fed, they try to find excuses to break the bond without handling their responsibilities. This is unfair to employers.

      When signing a contract, one should bear in mind the contents. If hesitant, then ask a professional advice. Never sign because you didn’t have anything better at that time.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards
      Nadeem

  2. Hello,

    I have a question concerning the notice period for resign. I’ve worked for around 1 1/2 year now and would like to know how many days before should I inform my employer of my resignation. Normally in my contract its written 3 months.

    Thanks.

  3. Hi, I’m working for an offshore company since 15th September 2014 based on a bonded contract till March 2015. However i wanted to leave the company by respecting fully the 1 month notice. Thus i wanted to know whether the company has the right to claim me the bonded amount mentioned on the contract as i have done only 2 months there.

  4. Hello I would like to get some information about salary increase. I work in a guest house. Are companies supposed to increase their employees’ salaries each year???? Or is their any laws which regulate salary increase??

    • Hi Andy

      This is taken care of in the COLA adjustment (Cost of Living Adjustment). It is officialised in the annual budget speech and payable as from end January of the future year.

      K/regards
      Nadeem

  5. Hello,

    I am 16 weeks pregnant and I think my MD is planning to terminate my verbal contract on the basis that I did not meet my sales target last month. I was absent for 2 weeks in October for medical reasons, with medical certificate. They know I am pregnant, since 2 months. I do not have a written contract but I have my payslips. Is this legal? If they really end my contract, are they supposed to pay me my end of year bonus?

    Please advise.

    • Hi Pamela

      Sorry to hear this.
      First we need to know for how long have you been working for the company. Then, in the absence of a contract, the Employment Law supersedes and imposes the work conditions. Your payslip, if available for three consecutive months, are evidence enough of your employment with the company. Has your employer contributed to National Pensions Fund for you? Are your tax withheld under PAYE?

      Email me if need be.

      All the best
      Nadeem

    • Hello Jamil

      This should be documented through your internal leave system. If not then when you’re sick and not fit for duty, you have to inform your management as soon as it’s definite that you can’t attend work.

      The number of sick leaves and medical certificate is defined in the law.

      Regards
      Nadeem

      • Dear Jamil

        Below is an extract from Labour Law:

        Where a worker, referred to in paragraph (a), remains ill for more than 3 consecutive working days, he shall forward to his employer a medical certificate –
        (i) on the fourth day of absence; or
        (ii) where the worker is admitted to a hospital, public or private, within 3 days following his discharge.

        Hope the above helps.
        Regards
        Nadeem

  6. hello,

    I’m working in a Call Center in Ebene. Im there for 1year and 7month now.
    1/I want to know if i give them my resign letter on the 1st of Dec if i’m entitle to have the annual bonus.
    As i will give them 1month resign as they stipulate on the contract.

    2/I will get married also on the 5th of december , im left with 9 annual leave , i’ve 8 annual leave for it and now
    they told me that my weekend also will be count as Annual Leave and we don’t normally work during weekend,
    is it allow to do this ?

    3/We are also working on 2Shift – 1st Day Shift (11hr00-21hr00) / 2nd Night Shift (15h00-01h00) which is 10hr working per day
    for a basic salary of 8500rs.

    • Hi Sandra

      Technically you are eligible to end year bonus if you’re still in employment at 31 December. So the notice of resignation doesn’t affect it. Your date of actual departure counts.

      Weekend does not count as leave if they are not normal day of work. If your shift is on weekends then yes, these should be counted of you are not working.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards
      Nadeem

  7. Hello,

    I work in a Call Center, full time basis. I have been working there since 3 years and I am entitled, like everyone else, to 1 hour break per day as I work 9 hours per day. I usually work alone during the weekends (8am-5pm Saturday and Sundays).

    Now, out of nowhere, my boss says am NOT allowed to leave my working place or the office premises whenever I’m working alone! Means that I’m not allowed to take a break to buy food and eat during the weekends because this implies that I am leaving the office premises.

    I’v sent her a mail expressing my frustration and asked for a clearer explanation, here is what she replied: ”La procédure est toute simple. Tu ne peux pas quitter ton poste de travail ou les locaux pour aller t’acheter à manger lorsque tu travailles tout seul. Il faut simplement prendre tes dispositions pour ne pas avoir à sortir.”

    Can you please help me? Is this even legal! I also want to point out that I don’t usually take more than 15-20min of break per day. So I’m not someone who abused of break durations etc…

    Thank in advance.

    • Tim

      Breaks are imposed by law and nothing prevents you from taking them out of your work station.

      However you may agree with management on how this best works for both of you. They can’t force you to stay in your position for the whole day. It is illegal. Breaks are your free time specifically to avoid exhaustion.

      If you have to take dispositions then the employer should also tale disposition to ensure that at least someone is there to relay during your pause. This is an issue of mutual consent and not something employer can force onto you.

      You have a case here …! A simple check with a labour inspector will confirm my answer.

      All the best
      Nadeem

      • Thanks a lot.

        I will meet her saying I have consulted a ‘Legal Advisor’ and I can now confirm that being forced not to take pause, is illegal. If ever she still can’t understand (she tends to take everything personally), I will move on to the labour office.

        I just wanted your permission to use your advice as a legal advice.

        And thanks a lot for such a quick reply, the job you are doing on this forum is really awesome. Thanks.

  8. Hi,I have one question,I work in a hotel since 3 years and I’ve sign a contract there,after one year of service the hotel have merge with another one hotel which is next to the one where I work,soon the directer asked us to merge our work means that we should work in both hotels as the two hotels has only 1 directer now,but our salary is still the same,is that fair??? Can we refused to work for both,what is your conclusion??? Thnx.

    • Hi Deborah

      Legally you are working for 1 company even it has two work premises. You can’t refuse if you hours of work remains the same. I mean you are not doubling you own self and effort. Here it doesn’t impact on your salary but transport may vary accordingly.

      I need to have more details on work hours and the location of premises. If practically it is difficult to work for both hotels then you might refuse on this ground. If your contract states that you may be assigned to work premises on your employers discretion then it may not be possible to refuse.

      You can send me further details by email for discretion.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

  9. hi, I’ am working in a bank since 3 yrs, i got married in june when i got back to work after one week i was transferred to another branch without any transfer letter or email or even a phone call. it happened that in the morning i reported at my usual branch and about 3 hours later i was told by my branch manager that i am being transferred without even providing a transport arrangement to go the other branch. I wanted to know if this is legal since nothing is mentioned about transfer neither in my contract nor in the banks HR policy.

    • Hi Lina

      First does your contract mention any specific place of work ? In one of my previous replies I did inform someone that if your contract says you are working from.one employer. You will be assigned to work wherever the work premises is as long as the conditions of work and employer are the same as in your contract.

      The transport policy is internal to your organisation. If public transport are available then the duty of employer is limited to providing return fare to your domicile. See policemen for example, sometimes they are compelled to seek their own transport arrangement to and back from work. Even if they work for the government.

      We will need to analyse your contract before saying if all this is legal or not.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

  10. Dear Nadeem,

    I have been working for 2 months now in a company.
    Since i am here i have done everything that was asked by my employer.
    I have done some mistakes in my emails that are in french. My employer has insulted me many times just because of 3 grammatical mistakes in 2 of my mails.
    I have even been asked to drive the car, every time my employee had to go to a meeting or drop something. I have also been asked to drive for the end of year party whether the driver is drunk.
    What do you think i should do?
    Can i get sacked just because of these?
    And if i do, can i go to the labour office?

    Please help me out. Thank you

  11. Hi,I work in a pre- primary school and we have been told to sign a contract for next year and if I quite the job during that contract peroid and I have to paid her Rs 50000.
    What does laws says about that and also we will not be allow to get neither a sick leave or a local leave
    I want to know if my employer have the right not to give us the end of year bonus.
    Thank you for taking my request in consideration.
    Anabelle

    • Dear Anna belle

      The Rs50,000 seem a bond. This is acceptable if employer is investing in you (training, etc.) . As regards local and sick leaves, you become eligible after 12 months of employment. After 12 months the leaves are your right.

      Bonus is enforced by law. But it shall be pro rata to number of months since you joined employment in the specific year.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

      • Hi,for the Rs 50,000 it is a bond but am not on any training from the work,i am a just a teacher that’s all.It says that we have to give one month delay before leaving and i agree with this but i told the director that if something that i didn’t expect happens to me or even to my chil and that i will have to stop on the spot where will i get this money.She said that this is another case but didn’t write anything about it on the contract.For the leaves she is saying that there will be compensation about it if we accept not to have any leaves and there is nothin about the maternity leave on the contract,i think there should be as all the staff are ladies.For the Bonus can i tell her that i have to get it as it is enforced by the law

  12. Salut,es ce que tu peu me conseilé?je bosse a l’hotel,dans une cente de plongé comme receptionist et ma base de paye est a rs5000 es reelment la base d’une receptionist?deplus apart ce travail elle me fait nettoyé les fenetres?mettre des lordes dans des vielle archieve de plus elle parle agressivement sans aucune politesse!quand je lui ai dit de parlé bien avec moi,elle était furieuse,elle ma meme dit si je parle comme je veux ta qu’a prenne ton et tu part!elle ma meme donné un warning que je refusé de signer car je ne rien fait de mal!la elle ma envoyé une lettre de suspane part la poste.on a le droit d’envoyé cet lettre la par la poste?merci de bien vouloir me repondre!

    • Salut Geraldine
      La base des Rs5,000 n’est pas vraiment celle d’une réceptionniste. Mais encore, tu as signé un contrat et donc tu es quelque part d’accord avec cela.
      Pour ce qui concerne le nettoyage, il faut voir ce que contrat mentionne. Des fois les employeurs mettent des clauses ouvertes qui peut laisser sous-entendre une extension de tes taches. Donc il faut vraiment voir ton contrat pour en être sûr.
      Pour la partie relationnelle c’est bien dommage. Le warning par la poste est possible. Cela te donne l’occasion de répondre en écrit tout en mettant en copie le Ministère de l’Emploi. Tu peux aussi referer ce cas au Ministère qui saura arbitrer.

      Bon courage
      Nadeem

  13. Hi,

    If am ill and take a leave, do i have to specify which illness i am suffering from to my employer or can i just say that i am sick?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.
    AL

    • Hi Anna Lisa

      Quite tricky. But actually if you need to provide medical certificate, it will mentioned there. If you’re not providing medical certificate (because of short leaves ) your employer might request disclosure of the medical reason. You have to provide the information then.

      Regards
      Nadeem

  14. HI. I work for a company and transport facilities are provided to all staffs. The transport is to and from the workplace and is performed by A contractor. What i wanted to know is in case of an accident of the van , is the company liable or is it the contractor? Secondly in case of injury are the leaves taken deducted from the normal leaves of the employee? Thanks

    • Hi Sharvin

      The transport company need to provide insurance for his passengers. Your company is not really liable, not directly since the service is ensured by a transport company. Yes, in case of injury, it’s taken from sick leaves.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

  15. Hi, i have been working for a private company since 2012. I’m employed on a permanent basis, but for medical reasons I’m on leave without pay as from 1st dec 2014 till end jan 2015. Will I be eligible for the end of year bonus this december?

    Kindly advise.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Kritee

      Normally yes, but pro-rata up to 1 December. Still, the law says that employee who are in employment on 31 December are entitled to bonus.
      So, if your employer plays his cards against this, he might have a case not to pay you bonus. A leave without pay also means that you are not working and therefore not in employment.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

  16. Bonjour,
    Je suis staff dans une usine de fabrication. Merci de me confirmer combien de Annual Leave j’ai droit et combien la compagnie peut disposer de mes local quand il ferme son usine et ses bureaux.
    Cordialement,
    Christ

    • Bonsoir Chris.

      Vous êtes soumis aux mêmes lois en vigueur à Maurice. Donc, aux nombre de congés stipulés dans la loi.
      Je n’ai pas compris la deuxième partie de votre commentaire.

      Cordialement
      Nadeem

  17. Hello,

    I am a web developer. I joined my company since 3 yrs now. I have given my resignation letter on the 1st of December 2014 with a 1 month notice. Am left with 10 days annnual leave and 6 sick leave. Am I entitled to take all my leaves or will it be calculated on a pro-rated basis ?

    Regards,

    Hans

    • Hi Hans

      Sick leaves are to be taken when you are medically not fit for duty. So, taking them because they accrued is not the right spirit and legally disputable.
      As for locals, you are entitled to full, since you’ll be working up to 31 December, so a full year.

      Take care
      Nadeem

  18. I am working in a private company which has a job contractor’s license and whose activities are pool installation.
    I have already 1 yr’s service and learnt from friends that the company is governed by the Employers rights act.
    My questions:
    I am entitled to how many:1. local leaves 2. Sick Leaves
    We work from 08h30-17h00… when doing overtime, as from what time am i entitled to a meal allowance? and how much?
    Thanks for attending to my queries.
    Awaiting to read from you.

    • Hello Haadia

      Your leaves entitlements are as per Labour Laws in force.
      Meal allowance comes into play after 19:00 hours generally but sometimes may vary +-1 hour. Minimum is Rs50 per meal, but many of our clients pay Rs100.

      Kind regards
      Nadeem

  19. Hi, the company paid for my flight to Mauritius when I joined so now that I have been laid off are they still responsible for my flight back to my country?

  20. Hi,

    My sister works for an offshore company for 4years now. She has just resigned and her last day will be on Dec 23rd. Is she eligible for an end of year bonus? Is it at the discretion of the company?

    Thanks

  21. I just want to know please about end of year bonus for teachers. Is the allowance included in the eoy bonus?
    the allowance : Dean Allowance n head of department.
    thanking you

    Vanessa

  22. Hello.

    Kudos to Gibson & Hills!

    I have questions relating to EOY bonus.
    1. I was advised the bonus needs to be paid before 24th december. Is it true by law?
    2. What is the exact way to calculate the bonus after the recent amendments of S.mohamed.

    Thank you

  23. hi nadeem

    normally my contract with my employer (a bank) says that i should work from 8 30 to 16 30 but most of the time i leave work between 17 00 to 18 30. Even when i try to leave work 16 30 my manager always ask me whether i completed all my work n if not am told to complete everything before i leave. but no overtime or allowance is paid for the extra time worked. i am entitled only to basic salary n transport allowance.

    i wanted to know if this is legal since law says we should work only 8 hours per day

    • Hi Lina

      This happens and sometimes ambiguous if your contract stipulates that you may be called to work odd of extra hours. Need to check your contract first.

      Else at the base this is not legal.

      Regards
      Nadeem

    • Employment law is the same as regards work. There are some provisions for welfare and we’ll being of foreign labour since their employers are held responsible for their overall presence in the country.

      Regards
      Nadeem

  24. Hi,
    I am a web developer and i join my company since 3 yrs now. I have received an increment on November. I would like to know if my End of year Bonus is based on my new salary or the previous salary from the same year?

    I have been paid my bonus from my previous Salary base.

    Regards,

    Satish

  25. Hi.
    We are a group of trainee,who has been working for last 18 months in government services.
    Last year we received our annual bonus based on pro rata,and now our training ends on 16th december, and i heard that we are not eligible this year,but based on pro rata we shouldnt be having it for 11 and a half month?
    Thanks

  26. Hi Nadee,

    i was sent by my company to work in Rodrigues for 6 month, they have not paid me any extra as double salary etc. my company was in a joint venture with another and we were sent there on the joint venture name, but there were no contract done as on which company i was being sent to Rodrigues. i would like to know what the law says for people being sent to work abroad by their company.

    Thanks.

    Eric.

  27. Hi Eric

    First, we need to ascertain what is mentioned in your contract for such an assignment. You usually would have a per diem. Your employer remains the company which signed your contract and pays you salary. The joint-venture is an agreement that binds your employer with another organization for a specific project. It doesn’t affect your employment, unless so specified in writing.

    Overseas mission should cater for your traveling expenses, subsistence (usually a determined Per Diem) and your welfare / safety.

    Kind regards
    Nadeem

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