Last updated on: July 3rd, 2023
The labor law in Belize is regulated mainly by Labour Act Chapter 297, as amended. The Labour Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, occupational health and safety, and termination of employment.
The Shop Act governs the working hour, overtime, leave, and holiday laws for Shop Owners. “Shop” includes any building or portion of building premises or place where any wholesale or retail trade or business is carried on or transacted and includes any premises in which the business of a barber or hairdresser is carried on.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Every employee at the end of each year is entitled to an annual leave of at least 2 working weeks.
The annual leave shall be given and taken in one period, or if the employer and employee so agree, in two separate periods and not otherwise. If the employer and employee so agree, the annual leave or either of such separate periods may be taken wholly or partly in advance before the employee has become entitled to such a holiday.
The annual leave shall be given by the employer and shall be taken by the employee before the expiration of six months after the date upon which the right to such leave accrued, provided that the giving and taking of the whole or any separate period of such leave may, with the consent in writing of the Commissioner, be further postponed for a period to be specified by the Commissioner.
The employer shall determine the date on which the annual leave shall commence and shall give to the employee not less than 7 days’ notice of such date.
Where the annual leave or any part thereof has been taken before the right to such annual leave has accrued, the right to a further annual leave shall not commence accruing until after the expiration of the period of twelve months in respect of which the annual leave or part thereof has been so taken.
Annual Leave coinciding with Statutory Holiday
Where any public holiday, Sunday, or other agreed rest day occurs during any period of annual leave taken by an employee, the period of the leave shall be increased by one day in respect of such public holiday, Sunday, or other agreed rest day.
Every employee who takes an annual holiday shall be paid by the employer in respect of such annual holiday the average pay in respect of the period of the employment with such employer during the period of twelve months to which such annual holiday relates.
Where the employee takes an annual holiday in one period, the average pay shall be paid to him not later than the day immediately preceding the commencement of such an annual holiday.
Where the employee takes an annual holiday in two separate periods of equal duration, one-half of the average pay shall be paid to him not later than the day immediately preceding the commencement of each of the two periods.
No deduction shall be made in respect of public holidays, Sundays, or other agreed rest days from the wages of an employee which are to be paid to him as holiday pay.
Where an employee has been employed by the same employer for a period of not less than three months and such employment is terminated before the worker becomes entitled to an annual holiday in respect of that period of employment, the employer shall pay to the worker, in addition to all other amounts due to him, the average pay for the period of employment with such employer. Labour Act; Sec 127, 128 & 130.
As of January 1, 2023, all employees except those engaged in agriculture, or agro-industry, or export-oriented industry – $5.00 an hour.
An employee has to be employed for at least 60 days to be entitled to sick leave with pay. Within any 12 months period, he is entitled to 16 working days of sick leave with full pay. An employee should produce a medical certificate to be entitled to sick leave with pay. An employer should give a worker in writing 48 hours to produce a medical certificate.
Payment for Sick Leave
The employer pays the difference between payments made by the Social Security Board (SSB) and the employee’s basic rate of pay for 16 working days. Payment after the 16 working days of illness will be paid by Social Security in accordance with the Social Security Act. Labour Act; Sec 131.
A female employee is entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave on full pay. Maternity leave shall be taken as follows:
- Up to a maximum of 7 weeks before the expected date of confinement;
- The balance after the expected date of confinement;
- 2 weeks before and 7 weeks after the expected date of confinement is mandatory.
Provided that during the twelve months preceding her confinement she was employed by the same employer for a period of not less than 150 days to qualify for full payment from the employer.
If an employee is entitled to maternity benefits under the Labour Act and Social Security Act, the worker will receive maternity benefits from Social Security and in addition be entitled to be paid by her employer the difference, if any. Please note that an employer cannot terminate an employee during this period. Labour Act; Sec 177 & 178.