Brunei

Global Compliance Guide

Labor Requirements

The Labour law in Brunei is regulated mainly by the Employment Order of 2009. The Order governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, rest periods, wages, overtime, leave and termination of employment, etc. The other regulations that govern labor relationships are The Worker’s Compensation Act, 1957 and the Workplace Safety and Health Order of 2009.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The week shall mean a continuous period of 7 days commencing at midnight on Sunday. The hours of work shall not be more than 8 hours a day or more than 44 hours a week. An employee shall not be allowed to work for more than 6 hours without a break in a day.

      • Employees who are engaged in work of continuous nature is allowed to work more than 8 hours in a day provided they receive a break(s) of not less than 45 minutes in aggregate;
      • Where the number of hours of work on one or more days of the week is less than 8, the limit of 8 hours may be exceeded on the remaining days of the week, in a manner that no employee shall be required to work for more than 9 hours in one day or 44 hours in one week;
      • Where the number of days on which the employee is required to work in a week is not more than 5 days, the limit of 8 hours in one day may be exceeded so that no employee shall be required to work more than 9 hours in one day or 44 hours in one week; and
      • Where the number of hours of work in every alternate week is less than 44, the limit of 44 hours in one week may be exceeded in the other week so that no employee shall be required to work for more than 48 hours in one week or for more than 88 hours in any continuous period of 2 weeks. 

Part-time employees are those employees who are required under their contract of employment with an employer to work for less than 30 hours a week.

 

An employee shall not be allowed to work for more than 12 hours (inclusive of overtime) in a day unless an emergency exists. Employment Order of 2009, § 65 and 88.

 

Shift Work

An employee who is engaged in shift work shall not work for more than an average of 44 hours in a week over any continuous period of 3 weeks. An employee is not allowed to work for more than 12 hours a day(inclusive of overtime) under any circumstances in case of shift work.

 

The consent given by an employee for shift work shall not be valid unless he has been informed of – 

        • the times at which the hours of work begin and end; 
        • the number of working days in each week; and
        • the weekly rest day.  

Employment Order of 2009, § 67.

Overtime

Any work performed beyond the standard working hours is considered overtime. An employee cannot work for more than 12 hours in a day inclusive of overtime, except in situations such as accidents, work essential to the life of the community, work essential for national defense or security, etc.

 

An employee is allowed to work up to a limit of 72 hours of overtime in a month. However, this limit may be exceeded if approval has been granted by the government authority.

 

Pay – An employee shall be paid 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay for overtime work. For the purpose of calculating the payment due for overtime to an employee, the hourly basic rate of salary shall be calculated in accordance with the following formula – 

      • In the case of an employee employed on a monthly rate of pay – 12 x the employee’s monthly basic rate of salary divided by 52 x 44 hours; and
      • In the case of an employee employed on piece rates  – the total weekly salary at the basic rate of salary received divided by the total number of hours worked in the week.
      • In the case of shift work, an employee shall not be allowed to work for more than 12 hours in a day inclusive of overtime under any circumstances. But, in cases where an employee at the request of the employer performs work for more than an average of 44 hours in a week over any continuous period of 3 weeks shall be paid at the overtime rate (1.5 times of hourly rate of pay).

Employment Order of 2009, § 65(2) – 65(9). 

Breaks

An employee shall not be allowed to work for more than 6 hours without a break. Employees who are engaged in work of continuous nature are allowed to work for more than 8 hours in a day provided they receive a break(s) of not less than 45 minutes in aggregate. Employment Order of 2009, § 65 and 88. 

 

Rest Day

An employee is entitled to 1 day of rest each week which shall preferably be a Sunday or any other day as the employer may determine for the employee. Employees who are engaged in shift work shall be provided with a break consisting of a continuous period of 30 hours as a rest day per week.

 

In the case of an employee who is engaged in shift work – if a period of 30 hours commencing any time before 6 pm on a Sunday is substituted as a rest day, then it shall be assumed to have been granted within that week. This is irrespective of the fact that such a period of 30 hours ends after that week.

Work On Rest Days

For work performed on request of Employee

An employee who works on a rest day at his own request shall be paid for that day in the below manner:

      • When an employee’s period of work does not exceed half of his normal work hours – the employee is entitled to pay for half a day’s work.
      • When an employee’s period of work is more than half but does not exceed the total normal work hours in the day – the employee shall be entitled to pay for one day of work.

For Work Performed on request of Employer

An employee who works on a rest day at his employer’s request shall be paid for that day in the below manner:

      • If work on rest day does not exceed half his normal hours of work – the regular rate of pay for one day’s work. 
      • If the period of work is more than half but does not exceed his normal hours of work – the basic rate of pay for 2 days’ work.

Compensation for Overtime Work performed on a Rest Day

An employee who works at his own request in excess of normal hours of work for one day is entitled to –

      • Basic pay for one day’s work; and 
      • 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay for each hour which exceeds the normal working hours for one day.

An employee who works at the request of his employer in excess of normal hours of work for one day is entitled to –

      • The basic rate of pay for 2 days’ work and;
      • 1.5 times his hourly basic rate of pay for each hour or part thereof that the period of work exceeds his normal hours of work for one day.

Employment Order of 2009, § 63 and 64.

Public Holidays

An employee is entitled to the following 11 public holidays:

      • 1st January
      • First Day of Hijrah
      • Chinese New Year
      • 23rd February (Brunei’s National Day) 
      • Maulud Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
      • 15th July (His Majesty’s Sultan and Yang Di- Pertuan’s Birthday)
      • First Day of Ramadan
      • Anniversary of the revelation of the Quran
      • Hari Raya Aidilfitri
      • Hari Raya Aidiladha
      • 25th December (Christmas Day)

Eligibility – An employee who is absent from work on the working day immediately before or after the holiday or on any day substituted for a public holiday without the prior approval of the employer or without a reasonable excuse shall not be entitled to any holiday pay for that public holiday.

 

Pay – An employee is entitled to the gross rate of pay for any public holiday. In case, an employee is on a leave of absence without pay granted by the employer at the request of the employee, in such cases, the employee is not entitled to pay for any public holiday falling on such a day of absence.

 

Work on a Public Holiday

For work performed on request of Employee

An employee who works on a rest day at his own request shall be paid for that day in the below manner:

        • When an employee’s period of work does not exceed half of his normal work hours – the employee is entitled to pay for half a day’s work.
        • When an employee’s period of work is more than half but does not exceed normal work hours – the employee shall be entitled to pay for one day of work.

For Work Performed on request of Employer

An employee who works on a rest day at his employer’s request shall be paid for that day in the below manner:

          • If work on rest day does not exceed half his normal hours of work – the regular rate of pay for one day’s work. 
          • If the period of work is more than half but does not exceed his normal hours of work – the basic rate of pay for 2 days’ work 

Compensation for Overtime Work performed on a Public Holiday

 

For Work performed on request of Employee

An employee who works at the request of his employer in excess of normal hours of work for one day is entitled to –

            • Basic pay for one day’s work; and 
            • 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay for each hour which exceeds the normal working hours for one day.

For Work performed on Request of Employer

An employee who works at the request of his employer in excess of normal hours of work for one day is entitled to –

              • The basic rate of pay for 2 days’ work and;
              • 1.5 times his hourly basic rate of pay for each hour or part thereof that the period of work exceeds his normal hours of work for one day.

An employer and employee may enter into an agreement to substitute any other day or day for one or many public holidays. 

 

A public holiday falls on a rest day

When a public holiday falls on a rest day of an employee, in such case the employee is entitled to the working day following the rest day as a paid holiday and if the employee is required to work on such a rest day, he shall be paid an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay for one day’s work, in addition to the gross rate of pay for that day.

 

A public holiday falling on any day on which an employee is not required to work according to the contract of service

When a public holiday falls on a day when the employee is not required to work under his contract of service, the employer may either pay the employee for that holiday at his gross rate of pay or give the employee a day off in substitution for that holiday. But if the employee is required to work on such a holiday, the employer shall pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay for one day’s work in addition to the gross rate of pay.

 

If any public holiday falls on a half working day (any day on which an employee is required to work for 5 hours or less under his contract of employment shall be regarded as half a day), the gross or basic rate of pay payable shall be that of a full working day. Employment Order of 2009, § 64 and 70 and Third Schedule (Section 2)

Annual Leave

An employee who has worked with an employer for a period of not less than 3 months shall be entitled to – 

      • Paid annual leave of 7 days in respect of the first 12 months of continuous service with the same employer; and 
      • An additional one day’s annual leave for every subsequent 12 months of continuous service with the same employer, subject to a maximum of 14 days of such leave, which shall be in addition to the rest days, public holidays, and sick leave to which the employee is entitled to.

An employee who has been employed with an employer for a period of not less than 3 months but has not completed 12 months of continuous service in any year shall be entitled to annual leave in proportion to the number of completed months of service in that year.

 

In calculating the proportionate annual leave, any fraction of a day that is less than half of a day shall be not counted and where the fraction of the day is half or more it shall be considered as 1 day. In cases where an employee has taken leave without pay with the consent of the employer, the period of leave taken shall not be considered for the purpose of calculating continuous service with the employer.

 

If an employee is absent from work without the approval of the employer or without reasonable excuse for more than 20% of the number of working days in the month or year in which the entitlement to such annual leave accrues, in such cases, will not be entitled to annual leave.

 

Timing of Vacation – An employee shall after the end of every 12 months of continuous service take an annual vacation. In case, an employee does not take leave by the end of such period, will not be entitled to the annual vacation not taken.

 

Pay – The employer shall pay the employee gross rate of pay for every day of such annual leave. 

 

Termination of employment – An employee whose employment has been terminated for reasons other than misconduct on the part of the employee, and such an employee has not taken his/her annual vacation before termination, in such cases, the employer shall pay the employee gross rate of pay in respect of every day of that leave. Employment Order of 2009, § 71. 

Special Leave

Sick Leave

An employee who has been employed with an employer for a period of not less than 6 months is entitled to sick leave not exceeding in the aggregate – 

      • 14 days in each year if no hospitalization is necessary; or
      • 60 days in each year if hospitalization is necessary

The service period of employees to be entitled to sick leave has been revised and made as at least 1 month only. This change is temporary and is enforced on the 9th of March 2020 until a later date to be announced, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

 

In case an employee is hospitalized for less than 46 days in any one year, he shall not be provided with more than 14 days of leave in aggregate along with the number of days on which he was hospitalized.

 

Note – An employee who has been certified by the medical practitioner to be sick enough to get hospitalized but such employee is not hospitalized, in such cases, it shall be considered that such an employee is hospitalized for the purposes of sick leave.

 

An employee who is away from work on sick leave without certification by a medical practitioner or certified by a medical practitioner but without informing the employer of such sick leave within 48 hours of its commencement, shall be regarded as absent from work without the permission of the employer.

 

Pay

An employer shall pay an employee for every day of sick leave – 

      • In case no hospitalization is necessary, at the gross rate of pay excluding any allowance payable in respect of shift work; and 
      • In case hospitalization is required – at the gross rate of pay.

When sick leave not payable – An employee is not entitled to paid sick leave – 

      • On a rest day or on a public holiday;
      • On any paid annual leave;
      • On a day when an employee is not required to work under a contract of employment;

An employee shall also not be entitled to paid sick leave for the period during which such employee is receiving compensation for temporary incapacity from injury under Workmen’s Compensation Legislation. Employment Order of 2009, § 72.

Maternity Leave

A female employee who is a non-citizen and has completed 180 days of employment with an employer is entitled to maternity leave for a period of 9 weeks. The employee can take 4 weeks of leave immediately before the delivery and 5 weeks of leave after the delivery of the child. 

 

Pay – The employer shall make payment for a period of 8 weeks. The employer can further apply for reimbursement from the government authority.

 

If a public holiday falls during the maternity leave, payment shall be made for the same to the employee.

 

Whereas a female employee who is a citizen, is lawfully married, and has completed 180 days of employment with an employer is entitled to maternity leave for a period of 15 weeks. The employee can take 2 weeks of leave immediately before the delivery and 13 weeks of leave after the delivery of the child. 

 

Pay -The employer is liable to pay for 8 weeks and the government authority pays for the next 5 weeks of leave. The employer shall make advance payment for the 5 weeks of leave and then shall apply for reimbursement from the government authority. Employment Order of 2009, § 90

Last updated on: July 6th, 2021