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
The normal working hours shall not exceed 48 hours per week, exclusive of overtime. The duration of weekly working hours can also be reduced, but cannot be less than 40 hours a week.
The weekly working hours may be increased, for certain companies or certain categories of employees, to a maximum of 64 hours in order to take into account the loss of time resulting from the interruption. of work or the nature of the work, by order of the ministry. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 79 – 80.
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. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 130.
Any work which is performed beyond the regular weekly hours (48 hours) is considered overtime. The maximum weekly working hours including overtime shall not exceed 60 hours.
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% 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% increase for the hours worked up to 48 hours and 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. 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 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. 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).
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 employment with an employer is entitled to annual leave at the rate of 1 day per month with the total duration of leave not exceeding 15 calendar days, which includes 12 working days. 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 not exceeding 6 working days must be continuous.
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 as an effective working month.
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, 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 he/she would have received for normal working days along with other benefits for the duration of his/her 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 October 1, 2020, the minimum hourly wage for a non – agricultural employee in Tunisia is 2.06 Tunisian dinars for a 48 hours working week and 2.11 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 five-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.
Paid maternity leave is provided to the employee with at least 80 days of contribution during the 4 calendar quarters preceding that in which confinement occurs. Employees are paid two-third (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 a 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 his leave. The employer can further be reimbursed by Social Security upon production of relevant documents. Labour Code of 1966 (Amended as of 2017), § 122.
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.
Last updated on: June 24th, 2021