Table of Contents

Bahamas

Table of Contents

Currency

Bahamian Dollar (BSD)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

5.90%

About Bahamas

A popular tourist attraction, Bahamas is made up of 700 islands and more than 2000 quays and rocks spread over 100000 square miles. The country has beautiful beaches, allowing for a thriving tourism industry, as well as a successful hotel and services industry. The culture of Bahamas has developed over generations from a mixture of African, American, and British influences. The people of Bahamas are known for being friendly and hospitable. English is the official language, with Creole spoken by most of the Haitian immigrants.

Bahamas has the second largest GDP in the Caribbean islands, with an economy primarily dependent on the tourism and the banking industries. Tourism constitutes 70-80% of the country’s GDP, employing more than half of its workforce. With beautiful beaches and an inviting economic climate, Bahamas can be a good place to work and invest.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

The Employment Act of the Bahamas does not explicitly define permanent employment except in the sense that it is employment that is indefinite and therefore does not have a fixed term. Such contracts can be terminated by giving a notice. They also provide protection against dismissal during maternity leave and right to redundancy payments.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

With no documented limit to the maximum duration (including renewals) of fixed-term contracts, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the contract of employment states the length of the contract in case of fixed-term employment. Fixed term employment contracts do not provide protection against dismissal during an employee's maternity leave. Employers can choose to not renew such contracts if they expire during maternity leave. In case of redundancy, employees who have worked on fixed-term contracts of duration less than 2 years will not be eligible for redundancy payment if their contract expires. 

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

Although the labor code of the Bahamas does not define “temporary,” a generally accepted approach is to ensure that the agreement timeframe is bound to a documented end date noted elsewhere in the organization’s paperwork.

Probationary Period

In the Bahamas, there are no statutory provisions or guidance on probationary periods. Collective agreements can stipulate the inclusion of a probationary period in an employment contract.

Working Hours

In the Bahamas, the Employment Act indicates that the standard workweek is 40 hours (8 hours per day). Minors under 18 years of age cannot be employed for more than 24 hours in a school week or 40 hours in a non school week. In every 7-day period, an employer must allow each employee at least 48 hours of rest with not less than 24 of such hours being consecutive. 

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

New Year's Day – January 1 Good Friday – date subject to change every year 1st Monday after Easter – date subject to change every year Whit Monday – date subject to change every year Labour Day – first Friday in June Independence Day – July 10 Emancipation Day – first Monday in August National Heroes Day – second Monday in October Christmas Day – December 25 Boxing Day – December 26

• Paid Annual Leave

Employees become entitled to annual leave after a year of service. Annual leave is based on tenure at work and paid in advance, as basic salary: 6 months to one year of employment – 1 week of basic salary For 1 year to seven years of service – 2 weeks For employees who have been employed for more than 7 years – 3 weeks Annual leave may be accumulated for up to 3 years. If an employee's contract is terminated before utilizing all leaves, they will be entitled to payment for the remaining leave duration on a pro-rata basis. 

• Sick Leave

The Bahamian labor code grants employees who have worked for at least 6 months with the same employer the right to paid sick leave of 1 week per year if they are unable to work due to an illness. Sick leave cannot be rolled over or claimed in cash if it is not used within a period of 12 months. Employees are required to produce a medical certificate when the sick leave lasts longer than 1 day. An employer may, on processing a claim for sick leave by an employee, require such employee to be examined by an independent physician and may refuse such leave if the physician is of the opinion that the employee is fit for work.

• Maternity Leave

The Bahamian Employment Act entitles female employees to 12 weeks of maternity leave. The leave must begin at least 1 week before the date of delivery and last for at least 8 weeks after. The employee is required to submit a certificate issued by a medical practitioner or midwife setting forth her expected delivery date. Maternity Benefit is a payment made from the National Insurance Board of the Bahamas weekly to eligible insured women while they remain at home during late pregnancy and delivery. The benefit is paid at a weekly rate of 66.66% of the woman’s average insured income, with a range of BSD 66.42 (Bahamian dollars) per week as a minimum payment, and BSD 333.30 per week as a maximum payment. During the employee's maternity leave, the employer must pay the mother a minimum sum equivalent to 33.33% of that portion of her wages which does not exceed the National Insurance ceiling on insurable wages (BSD 333.30 per week). A woman on maternity leave may not receive payment from her employer more than once every 3 years.

• Paternity Leave

Per Bahamian labor law, an employee who has been employed for at least 6 months is entitled to family leave without pay for a period not exceeding 1 week per year following the birth of a child.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

When an employee (of at least 1-year tenure) is dismissed because of redundancy, the following notice periods must be observed: 2 weeks or 2 weeks' basic pay in lieu of notice if the employee has been employed for more than 12 months If the employee holds a supervisory or managerial position – 1 month or 1 month's basic pay in lieu of notice In case of dismissal due to causes other than redundancy, the following notice period must be observed: 1 week or 1 week pay in lieu of notice if the employee has been employed for more than 6 months or more but less than 12 months 2 weeks or 2 weeks pay in lieu of notice if the employee has been employed for more than 12 months 2 weeks’ notice if the employee has been employed for one year or more but less than 2 years. 4 weeks’ notice if the employee has been employed for more than 2 years. If the employee holds a supervisory or managerial position – 1 month or 1 month's pay in lieu of notice

• Severance Benefits

Dismissed employees receive severance pay that varies according to their tenure, supervisory status, and reason for dismissal: Dismissal due to redundancy 2 weeks' basic pay (or a part thereof on a pro-rata basis) for each year up to 24 weeks of pay If the employee holds a supervisory or managerial position – 1 month's basic pay (or a part thereof on a pro-rata basis) for each year up to 48 weeks. Dismissal due to causes other than redundancy If the employee has been employed for 6 months or more but less than 12 months, 1 week's basic pay  If the employee has been employed for more than 12 months, 2 weeks' basic pay (or a part thereof on a pro-rata basis) for each year up to 24 weeks of pay If the employee holds a supervisory or managerial position – 1 month's basic pay (or a part thereof on a pro-rata basis) for each year up to 48 weeks. Employees who are summarily dismissed are not entitled to severance benefits.