Last updated on: January 19th, 2023
The Labor Law in Egypt is regulated mainly by Egyptian Labor Law No. 12, 2003 (as amended under law 180 of 2008) aims at regulating the relationship between employers and employees in the private sector in Egypt. The Law governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, and other employment conditions. The other Acts governing employment relationships are Social Security Law No. 79/1975, and the Civil Law.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Normal Working Hours
An employee’s normal working hours shall not exceed 8 hours per day or 48 hours per work week.
The work day of an employee shall be regulated in a manner that the period between the beginning and the end of the working hours does not exceed 10 hours per day (inclusive overtime).
Employees engaged in intermittent work (seasonal work) by nature are not restricted from working longer than 10 hours, provided that the work hours per day do not exceed more than 12 hours a day (inclusive overtime). Art 80, Labor Law.
Overtime work is considered if an employee works more than 8 hours in a day or 48 hours in a week. Working overtime requires written consent as agreed upon in the individual or collective work contract between employer and employee.
The total working hours in a day shall not exceed more than 10 hours per day (inclusive of overtime), this implies that the employee can work 2 additional hours more from their actual working hours (i.e. 8 hours) in a day.
Pay – An employee who works overtime shall be entitled to premium pay of 35% of their normal salary. Labor Law, Art 85.
In accordance with the law, night work is the work done between sunset and sunrise. The law does not provide a premium rate for night employees. The employee who performs overtime hours as agreed upon in the individual or collective labor contract during night hours is entitled to receive premium pay.
Overtime Work for Night
An employee who works overtime at night shall be entitled to premium pay of 70 % of their normal salary. Art 1 & 84, Labor Law.
An employee is entitled to at least 1 hour of unpaid break. The working hours of employees shall include rest and meal break periods in a manner that no employee works more than 5 consecutive hours without having a break. The period designated for meals and rest shall not be included in the employee’s working hours. Although, the rest period will be counted as working hours if the employee stays at the workplace during the rest period.
The designated authority has the right to identify the work for which it is necessary due to technological constraints or operational requirements to work continuously without a break. The authority also has the right to determine the type of work that is challenging or difficult and to incorporate break periods as actual working hours. Art 81 – 82, Labor Law.
An employee’s work in an establishment must be organized in such a manner that every employee is entitled to a paid weekly rest of not less than 24 full hours (i.e 1 day) after working for 6 continuous days.
In exceptional circumstances, where an employee works far from urbanized areas, and where such work is continuous due to the nature of work or the operating condition, the weekly rest an employee is entitled to, can be added together and can be granted to the employee at one go for a period not exceeding 8 weeks.
The employer who employed less than 10 employees can establish the rules for regulating the combined weekly trips in accordance with the rules established by the agreement. The combined weekly rest is calculated taking into account the start of the hour that the employee arrives at the nearest site with transportation and ends at the hour when they return to work.
Pay: If an employee works on their rest day, shall be entitled to the regular wage for that day.
Compensatory Rest Period – The employee who works on their rest day is entitled to receive their regular wage and a day off in the following week.
If the employee does not grant another day off, in such cases the employer will be entitled to receive 100% of their regular wages. Labor Law, Art 83-85.
Work On Rest Days
If an employee is employed to work on a day of rest, the employee shall be entitled to his regular wage for that day, and the employer shall grant another day in lieu of that day of rest during the following week. Art 83-85, Labor Law.
There are 13 public holidays in Egypt:
- Coptic Christmas – January 7
- Revolution Day
- Sinai Liberation Day
- Easter Sunday
- Eid Sham El Nessim*
- Labor Day – May 1
- End of Ramadan – 3 days*
- Revolution Day – June 30th & Jul 23rd
- Eid-Al-Adha – 3 days*
- El- Hijra*
- Armed Forces Day – October 6
- Eid Sham El Nessim (Birth of Prophet Mohammad)*
*Islamic Holiday exact dates are subject to moon sightings and may differ in dates every year. Friday & Saturday are considered as the weekend.
Work on Public Holidays
An employee may require to work on public holidays, they are entitled to a premium pay of 100% of their regular wage along with their regular pay. Art 52 of the Labor Law.
An employee who is employed for a year is entitled to 21 working days of paid annual leave and 30 working days for employees over 50 years of age every calendar year. Annual leave is increased by 7 days for employees engaged in hard, dangerous, or unwholesome work or working in remote areas.
If an employee has worked at least 6 months but less than a year, they are entitled to annual leave on a pro-rata basis. Annual leave also increases with the length of service. An employee is entitled to 30 days of annual leave after 10 years of service with an employer.
Annual leave is independent of public holidays, official occasions’ days off, and weekly rest days. The employer determines the dates of annual leave according to the work exigencies and conditions and the employee takes the leave on the date and for the period determined by the employer. The employer may not interrupt the annual leave except for strong reasons necessitated by work interest. The employee may also determine the date of annual leave provided that shall be notified the employer at least 15 days prior to the date of availing annual leave.
The annual leave shall be increased by 7 days for employees whose work in difficult, hazardous or health-damaging jobs, or in remote areas as determined by the concerned authorities
The employee has the right to determine the date of their annual leave if the employee is applying to take the exam in one of the stages of education, provided that they notify the employer at least 15 days before taking the leave.
An employee is not entitled to wages during annual leave if they have worked with another employer during this period. Annual leave may accrue however during a year, an employee has to be granted leave of 15 days including at least 6 continuous/ consecutive days. The employer must settle the unpaid leave balance or pay the appropriate wage every 3 years at most.
Termination of employment
If the employment of the employee terminates before they could avail of the annual leave, in such cases the employer shall provide the employee with wages according to the balance of annual leaves left with the employee.
Proposed Amendments: During the first year of employment, employees would be entitled to 15 calendar days of paid annual leave. Employees aged 50 or older would be entitled to 45 calendar days.
Effective January 1, 2023, the minimum wage is EGP 2700 per month.
An employee whose sickness is established and determined by the concerned medical authority is entitled to sick leave. The sickness benefit is paid as specified under the Social Insurance Law. Workers are entitled to sick leaves as follows:
- 75% of wages during the first 90 days of sick leave; and
- 85% of wages during the next 90 days of sick leave
An employee may be entitled to benefit from their accumulated annual leave in addition to the leave of sickness and also has the right to request their leaves of sickness to be transferred to the annual leave balance. Labor Law, Art 54.
Proposed Amendment: Sick leave benefits will be paid for 12 months i.e 365 days. The benefit payable would also increase to:
- 100% of covered earnings for the first three months,
- 85% for the following six months, and
- 75% for the last three months.
Female employees who have spent 10 months or more in the service of the same employer are entitled to (3 months) 90 days of paid maternity leave for not more than twice during the employee’s service period provided they have been contributing to social insurance for the past 10 months. Female employees shall submit a medical certificate stating the date on which the birth of the child occurred. Employers shall not employ any female employee within 45 days after giving birth.
Maternity benefits are paid at 75% of the last wage. Moreover, women employed in establishments with more than 50 employees are entitled to up to 2 years of unpaid childbearing leave per child.
Employees shall be required to submit a medical certificate indicating the date on which the birth took place. Employees may not be employed during the 45 days following the date of delivery.
Female employees are also entitled to two half-hour paid nursing breaks per day, or alternatively one combined hour-long break, for 24 months after the date of birth of each child in addition to the designated rest periods. The break shall be counted as working hours.
For establishments employing 100 employees or more, an employer is obliged to provide for an in-house nursery, or alternatively, to take charge of placing employee’s children (until the age of schooling is reached) inadequate nurseries. Art 91-92 of Labor Law.
Proposed Amendment – The female employee will be entitled to 120 (i.e. 4 months) days of paid maternity leave up to three times during the employee’s service period. Moreover, female employees of more than 25 employees-companies (once 50 employees) can also take up to 2 years of unpaid leave. Responsibility for financing the compensation for maternity leave wages will be split between the social insurance scheme (75%) and the employer (25%).
New fathers will be allowed to take one day off following the birth of their child. This paid day off will be granted to employees when they present the child’s birth certificate.
A female employee in an establishment that employs 50 or more employees shall have the right to obtain leave without pay for a period not exceeding 2 years in order to take care of her child and she is not entitled to this leave more than twice for the duration of its service with the employer. Art 94 of Labor Law.
An employee may take an absence from work for a casual reason for a period of not exceeding 6 days during the year, with a maximum limit of 2 days each time. The casual leave will be deducted from the employee’s annual leave. Art 51 of Labor Law.
Proposed Amendment – Casual leave entitlement (after one year of service) would increase from 6 to 7 days.
Employees shall be entitled to paid study leave subject to collective bargaining agreements. Duration is not defined. Art 55 of Labor Law.
An employee who has completed 5 continuous years of service with the employer shall have the right to leave for 1 month (30 days) with full pay for performing religious pilgrimage duty or visiting Jerusalem. This leave shall be granted only once throughout his service period. Art 53 of Labor Law.