Guide to employment, payroll and benefits in


Rivermate offers complete payroll, benefits and compliance services for


01. Overview

Last updated: 

August 19, 2021

Jamaican Dollar
Ease of doing business
English (jamaican English)
GDP growth

02. Grow your team in


with Rivermate

Payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance can be difficult to manage in


, particularly if you don't have established local relationships. You can hire employees in


effectively, conveniently, and in full compliance with all relevant labor laws using Rivermate's global employment solution. We handle the responsibilities and legal risks associated with foreign employment so you can concentrate on growing your company.

03. Summary

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea. It is the third-largest island in the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean, covering 10,990 square kilometers. Jamaica is located approximately 145 kilometers south of Cuba and 191 kilometers west of Hispaniola; the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands is located approximately 215 kilometers to the north-west. The island was originally populated by the indigenous Tano tribes, but after Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1494, it fell under Spanish rule. Many indigenous peoples were killed or died of diseases from which they had little immunity, prompting the Spanish to bring large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica to work as laborers. Spain controlled the island until 1655, when England seized it and renamed it Jamaica. Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter under British colonial rule, with a plantation economy centered on African slaves and their descendants. In 1838, the British abolished slavery completely, and many freedmen preferred to live on subsistence farms rather than on plantations. The British started employing Chinese and Indian indentured labor on plantations in the 1840s. On August 6, 1962, the island gained independence from the United Kingdom. Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean, with 2.9 million inhabitants. Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica. The majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African descent, with minorities of European, East Asian, Indian, Lebanese, and mixed ancestry. Since the 1960s, there has been a strong Jamaican diaspora, especially in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, due to a high rate of emigration for work. Jamaica is an upper-middle-income country with a tourism-dependent economy; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music, and is globally popular in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting, and athletics.Jamaica is an upper-middle-income country with a tourism-dependent economy; it receives an average of 4.3 million visitors each year. It is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as the monarch. The Governor-General of Jamaica, Patrick Allen, has been her designated representative in the country since 2009. Since March 2016, Andrew Holness has been the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy in which the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, which consists of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives, has legislative authority.

04. Public holidays

05. Types of leave

Paid time off

Employees are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation per year. Employees who have worked for the company for more than ten years are entitled to three weeks of paid leave.

Public holidays

In Jamaica, there are ten public holidays.

Sick days

After 110 days of service, employees are entitled to 10 days of paid maternity leave.

Maternity leave

Employees are entitled to 56 paid days of maternity leave. Employees must provide 52 weeks of regular work to give notice to the employer in order to obtain compensation.

Paternity leave

There are currently no regulations in the Jamaican law regarding paternity leave.

Parental leave

There are currently no regulations in the Jamaican law regarding parental leave.

Other leave

06. Employment termination

Termination process

Employers should make a written statement or notify employees of their termination in the presence of a credible witness. Additionally, a notice of termination must be given.

Notice period

Employers are required to give notice based on the length of time they have been employed. For up to 5 years of employment, you are entitled to a two-week notice period. A four-week notice period is required after five to ten years of work. A 6-week notice period is required after 10-15 years of employment. After 15-20 years of service, you are entitled to an 8-week notice period. Finally, there will be a 12-week notice period for employees who have worked for more than 20 years.

Severance pay

Severance pay is required only in instances of redundancy. Severance pay for redundancy is two weeks' pay per year for the first ten years, increasing to three weeks' pay per year after the tenth year.

Probation period

Although no probationary period is required, collective bargaining agreements typically include a three to six-month period.

07. Working hours


Full-time employment is defined as 40 hours per week, or approximately 8 hours per day. A week's maximum number of days an employee may work is six.


Overtime is defined as any time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Overtime, including work rest days, is compensated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate. If an employee earns less than the minimum wage, public holidays and rest days are paid at a rate that is 100 percent higher than the regular rate.

08. Minimum wage


The minimum wage in Jamaica is set at 7,000 Jamaican dollars in a week. Security guards have a different minimum wage, which is currently set at $9,700 a week.

09. Employee benefits


In Jamaica, employee benefits can include, and is not limited to, any combination from the listing below:

Health insurance, including coverage of dental and optical care

Life insurance, including, in the case of public service officers, death benefit (JMD10 million)

Accidental death and dismemberment

Pension - employer voluntary contribution up to 20% of salary. This is additional to 2.5% compulsory for NIS

Sick leave with pay - up to 10 days per 12 months after first year

Casual leave with pay - up to 10 days off for the year at a maximum of 3 days at any time

Study leave with pay

Holiday with pay - up to 25 days after 3 years

Travel allowance and motor vehicle upkeep

Uniform and Laundry Allowances

Gratuity - after working 20 weeks

Motor vehicle - fully maintained



Subsistence level - $2,500 per 24 hour period for public service officers

Supper/Meal allowance - $700 per occasion for public service officers

Taxi Allowance - $700 per occasion for round town and $1,200 per occasion for out of town for public service officers

Shift allowance, between $13.75 and $20 per hour for public service officers

Funeral grant - $220,000 for public service officers

The benefit amounts are provided in JMD and apply to public servants and the 2015 financial year. The benefits depend on who is the employer (public or private) and level of appointment. For employers, some benefits are mandatory, for e.g., sick leave and holiday with pay. For others, it is discretionary, e.g., allowance for travel or subsistence.

10. Why Rivermate as your Employer of Record / PEO?

Establishing an entity in


to hire a team takes time, money, and effort. The labor law in


has strong worker employment protection, requiring great attention to details and a thorough awareness of local best practices. Rivermate makes expanding into


simple and effortless. We can assist you with hiring your preferred talent, managing HR and payroll, and ensuring compliance with local legislation without the hassle of establishing a foreign branch office or subsidiary. Our PEO and Global Employer of Record solutions in


give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about how Rivermate can help you hire employees in


via our Employer of Record / PEO solution.

Ready to get started? Our friendly staff is ready to assist you with all your questions, let's connect.