Table of Contents

Sierra Leone

Table of Contents

Currency

Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

10%

About Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a West African country whose capital city is Freetown. Historically, the country was a refuge for slaves returning from bondage overseas. The country is regaining political stability after 11 years of a civil war which ended after intervention by Britain. The effects of the war continue to be felt by the population, but peace is starting to prevail in the country. Sierra Leone is rich in minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite, and titanium. Natural resources were the primary reason for the war as groups fought for control of the mineral-rich regions. Sierra Leone has a distinct mix of cultures and the people are known to be friendly, hospitable, and expressive. English is the official language of Sierra Leone with Krio being spoken by some. Muslims make up the majority of the population with Christians and traditionalists comprising 30% and 10%, respectively.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

There are no labor laws specific to permanent employees in Sierra Leone. However, the Labor Commissioner must vet every employment or service contract. The employer must submit any policies, handbooks, or other documents relating to the employment relationship prior to hiring an employee.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

In Sierra Leone, labor law limits the renewal of fixed-term contracts of 6 months or less to 2 terms. Employees working under fixed-term contracts for the same employer for 12 months or more are entitled to benefit accrual. Employers shall not summarily dismiss a fixed term employee unless it is proven that the employee has been guilty of gross breach of duty, gross misconduct or gross insubordination and where this has not been proven, the dismissed employee shall be entitled to claim full remuneration.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

The Employment Act defines temporary and casual employees as workers who are engaged in irregular seasonal or intermittent work for a period of up to 6 months. This employment relationship can be remunerated by calculating a daily wage.  If a casual or temporary employee works for the same employer for more than 6 months, the employment contract will be converted to a permanent one where the employer has a vacancy. Temporary employees are entitled to rent, transportation, medical, relocation, risk, and any other statutory allowances.  Temporary employment relationships are regulated by the Employment Act in matters of minimum wage, hours of work, night work, period of rest, holiday pay, and sick leave.

Probationary Period

In Sierra Leone, probationary periods of up to 6 months are allowed. An employee’s probation can only be done on 1 occasion unless the employee is transferred or promoted to a position with substantially different work than before.  During the probationary period, either party can terminate the employment contract with 7 days' notice or with 7 days' worth of wages in lieu of notice.

Working Hours

Sierra Leone's labor law stipulates that working hours cannot exceed 8 per day or 40 per week. A full-time employee may agree to work additional hours but these stipulated hours may not amount to more than 10 hours per day. The weekly limit, including additional hours, is 48 hours per week.  Any hours over 40 worked in any given week must be compensated as overtime (see Overtime Pay for more details).

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

New Year’s Day – January 1Good Friday – VariesEaster Monday – VariesWhit Monday – VariesMoulid-un-Nabi – VariesIndependence Day – April 27Eid-ul-Fitr – VariesEid-ul-Adha – Varies Christmas – December 25Boxing Day – December 26

• Paid Annual Leave

In Sierra Leone, employees become entitled to annual leave once they have completed 1 year of continuous service with the same employer. Continuous service is measured from the first day of work until termination. The Act does not specify how many days an employee is entitled to for annual leave, just that the employee must receive 1 month's base salary for each year of service as an allowance. If the employee attempts to take annual leave and is prevented by the employer, the leave allowance increases to 150% of a month's basic wage.

• Sick Leave

In Sierra Leone, employees are entitled to sick leave when they notify their employers and produce an incapacity for work certificate that is signed by a medical professional. Employers may require that the medical professional be appointed by them, but in such a case, the employer will bear the cost of the medical and transportation fees. 

• Maternity Leave

Sierra Leone requires employers to give at least 14 weeks of maternity leave to their pregnant employers with full remuneration. For this entitlement, pregnant employees must provide their employers with a certificate from a medical practitioner that specifies the anticipated delivery date. Employees must give their employer 7 days' notice before taking maternity leave entitlements. If illness arises from the pregnancy that makes returning to work inadvisable, the employee is entitled to up to 20 weeks of leave that commences from the period of confinement or miscarriage. The medical practitioner will determine the actual duration required for the employee to return to work. During the period of maternity leave, employees' normal benefits and entitlements including her contractual rights and the accumulation of pension rights as well as her legitimate expectations to advancement and seniority, shall continue uninterrupted in the same manner. Employee shall have right to return to the job which she held immediately prior to her maternity leave and on terms and conditions not less favorable than those which would have applied had she not been absent unless the job has ceased to exist because of economic, technological or organizational reasons, or she is incapable of continuing to perform that job. 

• Paternity Leave

Male employees in Sierra Leone are entitled to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave per year upon the birth of their children. The employee must give 1 week's notice before taking paternity leave. Paternity leave is granted no more than once per year. 

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

If an employee is hired under an indefinite employment contract, it can be terminated at any time by either party with 1 month's notice or 1 month's wages in lieu of notice. If the employee is a disabled worker, the notice period is increased to 2 months. The notice must be given in writing unless the employee is illiterate. In such cases, the notice must be conveyed to the employee in a manner that can be understood.  The notice period cannot include time taken for annual leave. If the employee terminates the employment without notice, the employee is not entitled to payment in lieu of notice.

• Severance Benefits

The Employment Act of Sierra Leone grants severance benefits to employees when their employment contracts are terminated for reasons other than disciplinary measures when the employee has worked for at least 1 year for the same employer. Severance benefits are due upon retirement, death, or termination on grounds other than serious misconduct.  Severance benefits must be paid within 1 month of termination, or the employer will be fined at least 24 months of the national minimum wage. If the employer cannot afford to pay the entire amount of severance benefits, the employer must establish a payment plan with the Labor Commissioner within 1 month of termination.