Everything you need to know about Egypt’s labor law

Everything you should know about the law that governs the Egyptian workplace.

You wake up to a sea of emails and an avalanche of angry phone calls. Your boss is asking you to make the sky green. Your attention is being pulled into 167 different corporate directions. You haven’t vacationed in two years, and your life is an absolute mess. However, it’s just a typical day at work, right?

Wrong. Apparently, it turns out that there are actual laws that govern the office-verse. Egypt’s labor law is one you need to know about.

Issued in 2003, the law is comprised of 257 articles that dictate what you, as a humble citizen of the office-verse, are entitled to and what’s required of you. These are the most important ones you need to be aware of.

What you’re entitled to at work

Did you know it’s illegal to work for more than five hours without taking a break?

After you’ve settled in your work environment, you should start casting a skeptical eye on your surrounding work conditions. Knowledge is power, and knowing these facts can’t hurt.

  • You are only legally obligated to go through one single three-month probation period, regardless of the nature of your work. If your employer tells you that you’ll be on probation for more than three months or that you’ll undergo more than one round of probation.
  • No employer has the right to discriminate against you based on race, religion or language, in any form. Don’t be scared to speak up if you feel like you’re being mistreated.
  • You can have 21 vacation days per year (annual leave) if you’ve worked for an employer for one year. It increases to 30 days after ten years. If you’ve worked for an employer for less than a year, you have the right to a vacation period that is proportional to your employment period. However, this only applies if you’ve completed your first six months. It’s important to note that a vacation request is never valid unless it’s in written form. Besides, you should take one vacation per year that is at least six days long.
  • You can decide when to take your annual vacation if you’re a student and you need to take a vacation for your finals or projects. You just have to notify your employer 15 days in advance.
  • You should get paid vacations on all national holidays and official occasions, but only for a maximum of 13 days per year. However, your employer has the right to make you work on holidays if circumstances require that, and you should get paid triple your usual day pay when working on said days.
  • You can have six days of vacation per year when you’re not required to state a reason for taking time off (casual leave), with a maximum limit of two days each time. However, casual leave, unfortunately, counts as part of your annual leave.
  • You are allowed a one-month vacation to perform a religious duty (pilgrimage to Mecca or Jerusalem) after you’ve worked for an employer for five continuous years. However, you’re only entitled to one religious leave per service.
  • You definitely don’t have to work when you’re sick. You have the right to a paid sick leave after a medical professional has established a legitimate medical condition that requires time off work.
  • You only have to work eight hours a day or 48 hours per week; these don’t include time for meals and rest. Break periods cannot total less than one hour. Moreover, you should not continuously work for more than five hours at a time.
  • Your total work hours (including work and break periods) cannot exceed 10 hours per day. In addition, you cannot have less than one complete day off per week. If you work for six continuous days, you must have 24 hours off between each six-day period.
  • If an individual conflict arises between you and your employer or someone else in your workplace, you should take it up with the HR department in your company within seven days. After ten days have passed, you have to go to court. If you don’t take action within 30 days of the conflict, you no longer have the right to do anything about it.
  • You should get paid in full if you arrive at work and your employer prevents you from working in any way. However, if you arrive at work and you are prevented from working due to compulsory reasons that are out of the employer’s hands, you only have the right to half your pay.
  • You can legally refuse to buy any products or services related to the products or services of your employer’s business.

What women are entitled to at work

Many women aren’t aware of what their rights are in Egypt’s labor law.

So you want to start a family and continue to excel at your career, or maybe you’ve decided to stop working entirely. Either way, you need to know how to handle the situation.

  • No employer has the right to discriminate against you based on gender, in any form or way. Remember that.
  • Apparently, there are some professions that women cannot legally have because they’re “unwholesome and morally harmful,” and there are some professions where women cannot work from 7 pm till 7 am because it’s, well, unwholesome and morally harmful? You may or may not agree with this, but you need to be aware of it either way.
  • You are entitled to a paid 90-day maternity leave after you’ve worked for an employer for ten months. You’re also entitled to not work during the 45 days after the birth. However, you can only have one maternity leave per service.
  • No employer can fire you during your maternity leave. However, you cannot work for another employer during the leave. In that case, the employer has the right to deprive you of your pay.
  • You can take two years off without pay for childcare if you work in an organization with 50 employees or more.
  • You can demand a daycare center at your place of work if you work in an organization with a 100 employees or more.
  • You are allowed to terminate your employment contract for the sole purpose of a marriage or pregnancy, you just to have notified your employer in writing within three months of the public announcement of either occasion.

What you need to do to stay hired

Just like you have rights as an employee, your boss has rights too.

It’s always fun to talk about entitlements, but you still have to do, you know, actual work. That work needs to be governed by some basic principles. These are some good ones to start with.

  • You have to perform all tasks with accuracy, honesty, and determination. You also have to perform tasks in a timely manner and stick to the guidelines and recommendations of your supervisors.
  • Cooperate with your co-workers on a daily basis, even if they don’t work in your department.
  • You have to adhere to company policy, brand values, company culture and core corporate messages.
  • You cannot perform any work for another employer on your selected vacation days. If you break this rule, your employer has the right to withdraw you pay for said vacation days.
  • Treat your clients incredibly well and represent your company as best you can. In other words: Act as if you’re an ambassador for the brand in front of the world.
  • Never reveal your company’s confidential information to competitors or anyone else outside of the workplace unless specified for a specific purpose by your employer.
  • Maintain all office-related properties. If you damage company property, you will have to pay for it.
  • Never keep an original copy of any work-related document for yourself.
  • Never work for a third party with or without pay. Your loyalty resides with your employer.
  • Never borrow money from clients of your employer or anyone exercising an activity similar to what your employer does. However, this doesn’t apply to borrowing from banks.
  • Never accept gifts, compensations, commissions or any other objects of favor from anyone for performing your work.

What you need to do to terminate your contract

Employment contracts are defined by how long they last.

So you and your employer have decided to part ways. Maybe you’re no longer in professional agreement, perhaps you’re moving on to a bigger, better opportunity or maybe you’re retiring. In all cases, you need to understand how to terminate a contract legally.

  • An employment contract that has a defined period can only be terminated with the expiry of the said period. If the period is longer than five years, you can terminate it after the five years are over, as long as you notify your employer three months in advance.
  • If your defined contract expires and you and your employer continue working together under the same regulations, that counts as a renewal of the contract for an indefinite period. However, if you want to renew it before expiry, you should do that through an explicit form of agreement between you and your employer.
  • If the employment contract has been specified to expire after accomplishing a specific project, you cannot terminate it before completing the project even if said completion lasts more than five years. Moreover, if you and your employer continue to work together under the regulations of the contract after you’ve completed the project, it counts as a renewal for an indefinite period.
  • If the employment contract is indefinite, you can terminate it at any time as long as you have a legitimate reason (medical, social or economic) and you notify your employer in writing beforehand. You must notify your employer about your impending termination of a contract two months beforehand if you’ve been working for your employer for ten years or less. If you’ve been working for your employer for more than ten years, you have to notify them three months beforehand.
  • If your employer terminates your contract without notifying you or before the end of the notification period, you should be paid for that specific period or what remains of it.
  • You cannot resign without submitting an official resignation letter (or email) to your employer. All employment-related communications must exist in written form. Moreover, you’re allowed to withdraw your resignation during the week after your employer accepts it.
  • No employer can choose a retirement age for you other than the age of 60, the legal retirement age. Therefore, your employer has the right to terminate your contract by 60, unless it’s a contract that expires after the age of 60.
  • However, it’s OK to work after 60 if you wish to do that and no employer can prevent you from doing so. If you choose to continue working after 60, you should get a yearly bonus worth half of your monthly salary during the first five years. It increases to a month’s pay after five years.

All corporations working on Egyptian soil have to stick to these rules, so make sure you let your employer know that you understand them. In addition, company policy (regardless of its contents) cannot contradict Egypt’s labor law. So keep your ears open and your eyes, always, skeptical.

P.S. Egypt’s labor law is currently undergoing a makeover. This article is based on the one currently in operation. The draft of the new labor law is available online, and the final results will soon be approved. Egypt’s new labor law is reportedly expected to go live in February. When the said time comes, this guide will be updated to fit the new regulations.

 

Is your boss working you to death? Did you know you had these rights and obligations at work? We covered the most important articles in the Egyptian labor law that you need to be aware of. Check out the complete labor law here and tell us about your work experiences in the comments below.

 

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