Table of Contents

Belize

Table of Contents

Currency

Belize Dollar (BZD)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

.75-25%

About Belize

Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the rainforest on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize is the home of a small and diverse nation. The country, formerly known as British Honduras, was the United Kingdom’s last colony on the American mainland and still maintains strong ties with Britain. Tourism and ecotourism are major sources of foreign currency. Belize’s attractions include wildlife, Mayan ruins and one of the longest barrier reefs in the world. It also has the largest cave system in Central America. The Belizean diet is both modern and traditional. Breakfast typically consists of bread, flour tortillas, or fry jacks that are often homemade. Fry jacks are eaten with various cheeses, “fry” beans, various forms of eggs or cereal, along with powdered milk, coffee, or tea.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Persons employed under an oral or written contract on a daily basis (except time off), and for more than 2 weeks, are considered to be employed for an indefinite time. Such employees can be paid on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Details of a fixed-term agreement must be specified in the employment contract, whether written or oral. If the employer terminates the contract before the expiry of the term, the wages for the remaining period must be paid out.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

The labor code in Belize does not define "temporary" in terms of time. Employers can hire casual workers for short periods. In such cases, wages must be paid immediately on the completion of the work.

Probationary Period

Employment contracts can contain provisions for a probationary period of 2 weeks up to 6 months. The employer and employee may agree to a longer probationary period not exceeding 6 months.

Working Hours

The standard workweek is 45 hours (or 9 hours daily). Work done in excess of these hours is considered overtime. Belize has telecommuting policies for their public sector employees but has yet to promulgate any legislation applicable to the telecommuting of private sector employees.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

New Year’s Day – January 1 Baron Bliss Day – March 9 Good Friday and the day after – dates subject to change every year Easter Monday – date subject to change every year  Labor Day – May 1 Sovereign’s Day – May 24 St. George’s Caye Day – September 10 Independence Day – September 21 Columbus Day – October 12 Garifuna Settlement Day – November 19 Christmas Day – December 25 Day after Christmas – December 26

• Paid Annual Leave

The labor law of Belize provides for annual leave of 2 weeks to employees who have completed 1 year of service. Annual leave can be taken all at once or divided into 2 parts, with an agreement between the employee and employer. Annual leave may be extended for up to 6 months after the year's expiry. The payment for annual leave must be made in advance. If an employment contract is terminated and the employee has not taken annual leave, the employer must grant annual leave or payment in place of said leave.

• Sick Leave

After 2 months of work, employees are entitled to paid sick leave of 16 days a year. Employees must present a medical certificate indicating the duration of leave within 48 hours to avail themselves of this leave.

• Maternity Leave

Belizean labor law grants employees a total of 14 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. Maternity leave shall be taken as follows: Up to a maximum of 7 weeks before the expected date of confinement The remaining maternity leave balance after the expected date of confinement 2 weeks before and 7 weeks after the expected date of confinement is mandatory Employees are eligible for this leave if they have been employed for at least 150 days with the same employer during the 12 months immediately preceding confinement. If an employee is entitled to receive maternity benefits from Belize's Social Security Fund, the employee will receive maternity benefits from Social Security, and in addition be entitled to be paid by her employer the difference, if any. The state maternity allowance is equal to 80% of the woman's average weekly insurable earnings in the 39 weeks before maternity leave commences. The minimum weekly benefit is BZD 44 (Belizean dollars) and the maximum weekly benefit is BZD 384. Women must have paid 50 contributions to the Social Security Fund to qualify to receive this benefit. 

• Paternity Leave

The Social Security Fund of Belize provides a lump sum grant of BZD 300 (Belize dollars) to insured employees at childbirth if their spouses are not entitled to it and if they have paid at least 50 contributions and at least 25 contributions in the 39 months immediately preceding the maternity leave. There are no provisions for paternity leave in Belize.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

The Belizean Labor Act states that employment contracts can be terminated by either party with the following notice periods, depending on the duration of service: If the employee has worked for more than 2 weeks but less than 6 months – 1 week If the employee has worked for more than 6 months but less than 2 years – 2 weeks If the employee has worked for more than 2 years but less than 5 years – 4 weeks If the employee has worked for more than 5 years – 8 weeks There are exceptions to the notice period requirements and employers can provide pay in place of notice instead of observing the notice period. 

• Severance Benefits

In Belize, where an employee who has been continuously employed by any employer for a period of:  5 to 10 years, and Their employment is terminated by the employer, or They retire on or after attaining the age of 60 years or They retire on medical grounds, That employee shall be paid a severance pay of 1 week’s wages with respect to each completed year of service If an employee has been continuously employed for over 10 years and their employment is: Terminated by the employer for reasons, which do not amount to dismissal, or Ended because the employee retires on or after attaining the age of 60 years or on medical grounds, or The employee abandons the service of an employer for a good and sufficient cause, or The employee who resigns after a minimum of 10 years is eligible for a gratuity equal to severance pay, or The employee is terminated on the expiration of a contract for a definite period. That employee shall be paid a severance pay of 2 weeks’ wages for each complete year of service.