Table of Contents

Samoa

Table of Contents

Currency

Samoan Tala (WST)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

10%

About Samoa

Samoa, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is a stunning country known for its natural beauty and rich Polynesian culture. Comprised of two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, Samoa offers breathtaking landscapes of lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and pristine beaches with turquoise waters. The traditional way of life, known as fa’a Samoa, remains strong in Samoa, with deep respect for customs, communal living, and family values. Visitors can experience the warm hospitality of the Samoan people, witness traditional ceremonies such as the Ava (kava) ceremony, and indulge in delicious Pacific cuisine.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Samoan law enforces “freedom to contract.” An employer and employee may contract for employment contracts for an unspecified period and may be terminated by either party by giving notice, or without notice for gross misconduct. For employment contracts that are intended to last over 1 year, the common law Statute of Frauds would apply. The relevant requirement of the Statute of Frauds is that any contract with a duration that exceeds 1 year must be in writing to be enforceable. 

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

The Samoan labor law provides that an employer may terminate an employment contract where that employment contract specifies when the work is complete or if the time set in the contract has expired. Samoa law enforces “freedom to contract;” thus, an employer and employee may agree to a fixed duration of the employment contract for as long and as many times as they would like. There are no limits to successive contracts. For employment contracts that are intended to last over 1 year, the common law Statute of Frauds would apply. The relevant requirement of the Statute of Frauds is that any contract with a duration that exceeds 1 year must be in writing to be enforceable. 

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

In Samoa, employees and employers are free to contract any term of employment that they desire. Thus, an employment contract will be considered temporary if the contract terms are negotiated as such. For employment contracts that are intended to last over 1 year, the common law Statute of Frauds would apply. The relevant requirement of the Statute of Frauds is that any contract with a duration that exceeds 1 year must be in writing to be enforceable. Temporary employees may be procured through an agency, but this agency must be licensed. Employment agencies in Samoa are regulated.

Probationary Period

Employees have a probationary period of 3 months. During this period, an employer may either terminate or confirm the probationary employee in writing. If an employee has not received written confirmation, but the 3-month period has elapsed, the employee is deemed to have been converted.

Working Hours

A full work week is 40 hours or 8 hours a day. The employee and employer can agree that the employee who works less than 8 hours a day may work extra time on the remaining days of the week. However, the number of hours in a day may not exceed 9 and the hours for the week may not exceed 40.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

X

• Paid Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to annual leave if they have worked for 12 consecutive months for the same employer. The entitlement is at least 10 days of paid annual leave each year. This leave must be taken on days mutually agreed upon by the employer and employee. Employees are entitled to take leave on a pro rata basis during the year in which the leave is accumulated. The employer may pay the employee in lieu of annual leave if the employee agrees. Employees are entitled to carry forward their unused annual leave entitlement to a subsequent year. They can carry forward 20 days’ annual leave which can be extended by agreement between the employer and employee. 

• Sick Leave

Employees receive 10 days of paid sick leave after 12 months continuous service with the same employer, including any period of probation. They are entitled to take sick leave after 3 months from the commencement date of their employment on a pro rata basis during the year in which the leave is accumulated. When an employee is absent from work due to illness for more than 2 days, the employee must produce a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner. Sick leave may roll over to the next year. However, an employee may only carry over 20 days of accrued sick leave a year. An employer may not terminate an employee who is absent due to sick leave unless the medical report indicates that the employee will be unable to continue to provide the services at that time and in the future because of the illness. 

• Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to paid maternity leave when they have worked for the same employer for 12 consecutive months and provide a medical certificate proving their pregnancy. Maternity leave lasts for 6 weeks and is paid either as two-thirds of the ordinary salary during the maternity leave or 4 weeks of full pay and 2 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. An employee who miscarries in the third trimester or who delivers a stillborn is also entitled to maternity leave. Upon returning from maternity leave, an employer must guarantee the employee the same or equivalent position with the same pay rate upon the employee’s return.

• Paternity Leave

Male employees are entitled to a minimum of 5 days of paid paternity leave. The employee must present a medical certificate stating the presumed date of birth of the child and a written request by the employee’s wife or cohabitating partner. Employees are only entitled to paternity leave if they have worked for at least 12 consecutive months with the same employer.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

When an employee works full-time under a permanent contract, then they may not be terminated without notice. If an employer wishes to immediately terminate the employment contract when notice is due, the employer may pay the employee in lieu of notice. Notice periods range from 1 week to 8 weeks, depending on seniority. Employees can be dismissed without notice in case of gross misconduct. No notice is required for terminating a casual employee who has worked for less than 2 months, or a seasonal employee. 

• Severance Benefits

In Samoa, there are no legal provisions regarding severance benefits but if employment contracts have a provision for termination benefits, employees must receive those within 5 days of the termination of their contract.