Last updated on: February 9th, 2023
The Labour Law in Tunisia is regulated mainly by the Labour Code of 1966 (amended as of 2017). The Labour Code governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. The employment relationship is also governed by an array of Ministerial orders and Decrees.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Normal Working Hours
The normal working hours shall not exceed 48 hours per week, exclusive of overtime or an equivalent restriction established over a period of time other than the week and not exceeding one year.
The duration of 48 hours per week can be reduced up to 40 hours per week or an equivalent limitation can be established by collective bargaining over a period of time other than the week and not exceeding one year. In certain circumstances through a mutual agreement, the normal working hours can lower by 40 hours per week or to an equivalent limitation established over a period of time other than the week without however the working time this period may exceed one year.
In order to make up for the loss of time resulting from the interruption of work or the nature of the work, the working hours may be increased for certain companies or certain categories of employees to a maximum of 64 hours per week by order of the ministry.
The employer shall not extend the daily working hours to more than 10 hours per day(inclusive overtime) for any employee in certain exceptional circumstances for the performance of urgent work in the event of accidents, necessary repairs or rescue, or an extraordinary increase in workload. The extensions of working hours must be compensated during the year by equivalent hours of rest. [This compensation is made by reducing the working time by at least one hour. If it is not carried out during the year, it is carried out during the first quarter of the following year before any use of a new authorization]
The hours lost as a result of collective work stoppage in a facility can be recovered within 6 months following the interruption of work. The hours thus recovered are paid at a regular rate. Even when recovering the lost working hours, the total hours of work cannot exceed 60 hours per week including overtime work. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 79 – 80.
Work Schedule – Employees can only be employed in accordance with the indications of a timetable specifying, for each day and possibly for each week or each month, the distribution of working hours. This schedule sets the times at which the duration of work begins and ends.
Any change in the distribution of working hours gives rise, before application, to a rectification of the schedule previously established. This timetable, dated and signed by the head of the company or by the person to whom the head of the company has delegated powers for this purpose, is displayed in legible characters and affixed in a visible manner in all the workplaces to which it applies or, in the case of employees employed outside the company, at the premises to which the employee is at that time assigned.
A copy of the timetable and of any modification that may be made to it must be sent beforehand to the labor inspectorate.
Part-Time Employee – Part-time employees are entitled to similar rights and obligations as compared to full-time employees. The salary of a part-time employee and the allowances to which they are entitled such as paid annual leave, paid public holidays, maternity leave, and dismissal, are proportional to the duration of the work done by them.
Any hours worked by the part-time employee beyond the normal working time fixed by the employment contract are considered overtime. The overtime work requires the agreement of both employer and part-time employee, provided that the number of hours does not exceed one-third of the duration of work fixed by the employment contract and that the total of this duration and overtime does not exceed normal working time applicable to full-time employees in the same company. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 85, 94 (4-6).
An employer shall maintain a register consisting of names and addresses along with the duration of the vacation period, the amount of compensation paid for annual leave, etc. The register must be signed by the employee and made available to the labor inspectors. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 130.
Any work which is performed beyond the regular weekly hours (48 hours) is considered overtime. In the event of recovery of work or overtime work the maximum weekly working hours including overtime shall not exceed 60 hours per week.
In case of exceptional emergency situations or due to the extraordinary nature of the work an employee can be required to work overtime, but the total working hours shall in no case exceed 10 hours per day including overtime. The extension of such working hours shall be compensated with an equal amount of rest. The amount of rest shall be taken by reduction of daily work hours by 1-hour minimum. If such rest is not provided in the applicable year, it can be postponed to the first quarter of the following year.
Pay – An employee who performs overtime work is entitled to an increased rate of wages in the below manner:
- 75% at the regular rate for full-time working employees over a 48-hour workweek;
- For full-time employees working with an arrangement of fewer than 48 hours work week – 25% at a regular rate increase for the hours worked up to 48 hours and a 50% increase for subsequent hours.
The hours lost as a result of collective work stoppage in a facility can be recovered within 6 months following the interruption of work. The hours thus recovered are paid at a regular rate. Even when recovering the lost working hours, the total hours of work cannot exceed 60 hours per week. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 83 – 92.
The working day of an employee shall be interrupted by one or more unpaid breaks, the duration of which shall not be less than 1 hour. The working hours of an employee shall be arranged in such a manner that an employee does not work beyond 6 consecutive hours of work without an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes. If an employee’s daily working hours do not exceed 7 hours, an employee may be allowed to work without taking breaks. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 89.
An employee is entitled to not less than 10 hours of uninterrupted daily rest from work.
If work is organized by successive shifts or teams, the work of each team must be continuous in a manner that each employee gets a daily uninterrupted rest of at least 10 hours between each shift. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 89.
An employee is entitled to a break of at least 24 consecutive hours each week. This rest break is generally provided on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The weekly rest can also be granted on any other day of the week if there is an agreement between the employer and the employee.
The Governing authority may, at the request of one of the trade union organizations of employers or employee’s representative, set the terms of application of the weekly rest for a profession, a set of professions in the region, a city or a specific locality.
In cases, where due to certain emergency situations work could not be suspended on the weekly rest day, such a case, an employee is entitled to compensatory rest of duration equal to the lost rest period.
The Governor may help to fix a weekly rest period at the request of trade unions or organizations or employee representatives. They can suggest the same day of the week in the entire region or only in certain localities; fix for rest a day other than Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; decide that the rest will take place from noon on one day of the week until noon on the following day; or Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a compensatory rest of another half-day taken in rotation and each week; or by rotation of all or part of the employees.
In situations where the forced rest periods are taken due to bad weather, the period of forced rest period will be deducted from the weekly rest days provided to employees.
Outdoor industries that only work at certain times of the year or 4 Industries of perishable materials can suspend weekly rest 15 times a year but the employee must enjoy at least 2 days off per month.
Compensatory Rest Period- An employee is entitled to a compensatory rest period of equal duration for loss of rest period in a case where the employee has been employed for delivery of urgent work. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 95 – 98.
Employees are entitled to the following 6 public holidays:
- Revolution and Youth Festival – January 14
- Independence Day – March 20
- Labour Day – May 1
- Republic Day – July 25
- The day of Eid el Fitr (end of Ramadan)
- The day of Eid el Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice).
The hours lost as a result of a public holiday or day off can be recovered within 6 months following the interruption of work. The hours thus recovered are paid at a regular rate. Even when recovering the lost working hours, the total hours of work cannot exceed 60 hours per week.
Pay – An employee who works on a public holiday is entitled to a premium of 200% of the regular hourly wage rate. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 101 107 – 109 and 445.
An employee who has completed at least 1 month of actual work with the same employer is entitled to annual leave at the rate of 1 day per month with the total duration of annual leave not exceeding 15 calendar days per year, which shall include 12 working days in a year. The starting date of the period taken into consideration for the assessment of the right to leave is set at January 1 for each year. Leave with pay shall not exceed 6 working days in a continuous period.
The leave of more than 6 working days can be divided by the employer, with the approval of the employee. In the event that the leave is accompanied by the closure of the establishment, the split may be carried out by the employer or employee’s representative.
In the case of splitting, a fraction must be at least 6 working days, including between 2 days of weekly rest. The other fractions cannot be less than a whole day. The duration of annual leave is increased by 1 day of extra leave for every 5 years of continuous employment with the same employer to a maximum of 18 working days of annual leave.
The duration of leave for employees under 18 years of age cannot exceed 30 calendar days (24 working days) at the rate of 2 working days per month. The duration of annual leave for workers aged 18- 20 years cannot exceed 21 calendar days (18 working days) at the rate of one and a half working days per month.
In order to determine the duration of annual leave, periods equivalent to 26 working days are considered an effective working month.
Annual leave is granted during the period from June 1 to October 31 of each year. It may be granted during another period of the year by virtue of collective or individual agreements or by the employer when the need for the work so requires and after consulting the company advisory committee or the employee’s delegates.
The periods of paid leave, the period of maternity leave, and the periods during which the execution of the employment contract is suspended due to an accident at work are considered periods of effective work. during an uninterrupted period not exceeding 1 year. The periods during which the execution of the employment contract has been suspended without the contract having been terminated, in particular, because of illness, work accidents, or unemployment, are counted as periods of actual work.
In case, the annual leave is interrupted by public holidays and/or employee sickness or accident, such an interruption shall not be considered part of the annual leave. For the purpose of annual leave, working days are days normally devoted to working in the establishment even if as a result of off-season or inclement weather the days are not worked temporarily, in whole or in part, with the exception of days which are weekly rest days and public holidays.
Pay – An employee is entitled to average daily wages, which they would have received for normal working days along with other benefits for the duration of their annual leave. Any benefit to be paid in kind shall be assessed in cash, and such sum shall be paid to the employee along with the daily allowance.
Termination of Employment – An employee whose employment terminates after having 6 continuous months of service with the same employer, before he/she could use annual leave, an employer shall in such situations pay compensation for the unused leaves. This compensation is not required to be paid when the termination is due to the gross negligence of the employee.
In the event that the establishment or part of it is closed for a period longer than that of the annual leave, the employer is required to pay the employee’s remuneration. which may not be less than the daily paid leave allowance for each of the working days of closure exceeding the said annual leave. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 112 – 129.
Effective January 1, 2022, the minimum hourly wage for a non – agricultural employee in Tunisia is 2.198 Tunisian dinars for a 48 hours working week and 2.247 Tunisian dinars for a 40 hours work week.
The legislation does not specify the number of sick days an employee can receive. However, employees must inform their employer within 48 hours of the illness and provide a medical certificate. Eligible employees receive payments while on sick leave from Social security.
Sickness benefit is paid after a 5-day waiting period for up to 180 days a year. Two third (66.7%) of the insured employee’s average daily wage is paid for the first 3 years, 50% for up to 180 days a year for each subsequent year. Benefits are paid every 2 weeks. The average daily wage used to calculate benefits is the highest quarter of earnings in the last four quarters before the incapacity began. In case of hospitalization, the government recognizes long-term illnesses, or for incapacity that is the result of a non-work-related accident, there is no waiting period or time duration limit.
A female employee is entitled to 30 days of paid maternity leave on the birth of a child. In case of illness or complications arising due to pregnancy and confinement, an employee is entitled to an additional 15 days’ leave.
Pay– A female employee will be entitled to paid maternity leave if they have at least 80 days of contribution to social security during the 4 calendar quarters preceding that in which confinement occurs. Employees are paid two-thirds (66.7%) of the average daily wage as a maternity leave benefit during the period of maternity leave (30 days) and any extension thereof on medical grounds by Social Security.
A female employee is entitled to 2 paid nursing breaks, each of 30-minute duration, to breastfeed their child until the child is 12 months old. One break is fixed during the morning work, and the other during the afternoon. They can be taken by mothers at the hours fixed by agreement between them and the employers. The breastfeeding breaks are in addition to the normal breaks an employee receives during the working day and it is counted in the working hours of such an employee. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 64.
The spouse is entitled to 1 day of paid leave for the birth of the child. This leave can be taken in a period of 7 days calculated from the date of birth of the child. The employer shall make the payment to the employee immediately after the expiration of the leave. The employer can further be reimbursed by Social Security upon the production of relevant documents. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 122.
There is no duration defined in the law. Social Security provides benefits for 1 day to employees in an amount equal to the average daily wage calculated based on the insured’s earnings received in the last quarter.
An employee who has had to leave their job because they have been called up for military service in any capacity has the right to resume their job or a job in the same professional category with the same employer. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 8.