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The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a nation in the Atlantic Ocean located within the Lucayan Archipelago in the West Indies. It accounts for 97 percent of the land area of the Lucayan Archipelago and is home to 88 percent of the archipelago's people. The archipelagic state is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba and northwest of the island of Hispaniola (divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the American state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys. On the island of New Providence, the capital is Nassau. According to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, The Bahamas' territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean area.
For generations, the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Tano, lived in the Bahama Islands. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the islands, arriving in the "New World" in 1492. The native Lucayans were afterward sent to and enslaved in Hispaniola, leaving the Bahama islands virtually abandoned from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda landed on the island of Eleuthera.
When the British cracked down on piracy in 1718, the Bahamas became a British crown province. Following the American Revolutionary War, the Crown relocated thousands of American Loyalists to the Bahamas, bringing with them enslaved people and establishing plantations on land concessions. From this point on, African enslaved people and their descendants represented the bulk of the population. The British outlawed the slave trade in 1807, while slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. As a result, the Bahamas became a safe refuge for liberated African slaves. The Royal Navy relocated Africans freed from illegal slave ships on the islands, while some North American slaves and Seminoles fled to the Bahamas from Florida. Bahamians were even known to recognize the liberation of enslaved persons brought to the Bahamas by ships from other countries. Afro-Bahamians now constitute 90% of the 400,516-person population.
The nation acquired political independence in 1973 under the leadership of Sir Lynden O. Pindling, with Elizabeth II as its monarch. The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest nations in the Americas in terms of GDP per capita (behind the United States and Canada), with an economy built on tourism and offshore banking.
Employees who have worked for at least six months are entitled to one week of paid vacation in addition to public holidays. Those with one year of service receive two weeks of paid vacation, and employees with seven or more years of service receive three weeks of paid vacation. Employees must be compensated for vacation days at least one day prior to the commencement of the vacation.
The following holidays are observed in the Bahamas:
New Year’s Day
National Heroes Day
Employees who have worked for the company for at least six months are entitled to one week of paid sick leave every year. Unused sick time does not carry over to the next year. As proof of sickness, employees must produce a medical certificate. Employers can have an independent physician examine an employee and refuse the leave if the physician concludes that the individual is capable of working.
Once every three years, female employees with at least one year of service are eligible to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. In general, at least one week is taken before and after delivery, however this can be changed if the actual birth date differs from the due date. If the employee contracts a pregnancy-related ailment, she is entitled to an extra six weeks of unpaid leave. Maternity benefits are provided to qualifying employees by both the employer and the National Insurance Board.
For the birth of a child or the loss or illness of a spouse, child, or parent, employees with at least six months of service are entitled to one week of paid family leave.
There are no comprehensive provisions in the Bahamas law regarding paternity leave.
Other than the mentioned terms for maternity leave, there are no comprehensive provisions in the Bahamas law regarding paternity leave.
Employment can be terminated after the conclusion of a fixed-term contract, by the employer (for any reason), or by the employee. Employees may be dismissed without pay or notice if they violate a contract or engage in activity that is detrimental to the employer's interests. Otherwise, companies are typically required to warn employees of their impending dismissal.
The notice period is decided by the duration and position of the employee. Employers must provide one week's notice or pay in lieu of notice to employees with six months to one year of service. Employers must give employees with more than one year of service two weeks' notice or pay in lieu of notice. Supervisory or managerial personnel are entitled to one month's notice or equivalent compensation for each year of service, up to a maximum of 48 weeks. Additionally, an employee has the option of resigning. If the employee has fewer than two years of service, two weeks notice is necessary; if the employee has two or more years of service, four weeks notice is required.
Certain collective bargaining agreements in the Bahamas include a 12-month probationary period.
The proper method of terminating employment varies according to the employee classification. Please keep in mind that employees with a tenure of less than 90 days are not entitled to notice or compensation. Severance pay is 4% of the total salary earned during the applicable period for employees with tenure between 91 and 179 days. Severance pay is equivalent to one week's salary for employees with a tenure of between six and twelve months. Non-managerial employees with a tenure of more than one year are entitled to two weeks' notice or two weeks' salary in lieu of notice. For managerial staff, entitlements include four weeks' notice or pay in lieu of notice, as well as four weeks' salary for each year of employment, up to a maximum of twelve years.
The usual workday is eight hours long and the week is 40 hours long. Even if work hours are irregular due to the nature of the business, the average number of hours worked over a four-week period should remain at 40. Employees in the industrial, construction, manufacturing, transportation, law enforcement, and critical service industries may be required to work longer hours. Supervisors and managers are exempt from the regular 40-hour work week.
Depending on when the work is done, overtime is paid at 150 percent to 200 percent of the basic rate.
After a year of employment, bonuses are common, and employers frequently pay a Christmas Bonus.
The Bahamas has a 210 Bahamian dollar (210.72 USD) weekly minimum wage. Employers who do not pay this government-mandated minimum wage may face sanctions from The Bahamas' government.
Residents in the Bahamas have access to national public health insurance, although private insurance is also available. The general budget funds the national health insurance option, which covers primary care services. However, there are plans to increase the services provided and finance such services via company and employee payments.
In the Bahamas, there is no corporation tax, withholding tax, payroll tax, or transfer tax. Businesses, on the other hand, need a license to operate, which is paid at either a fixed fee of $100 or up to 3% of turnover, depending on the amount of income produced.
There is no income tax, inheritance tax, or wealth tax in the Bahamas. The National Insurance Board collects social security tax from workers at 3.9 percent, employers at 5.9 percent, and self-employed people at 8.8 percent, up to maximum amounts.
The bulk of transactions are subject to a 12% value added tax. The VAT rate was raised from 7.5 percent in 2018 to 12.5 percent in 2019. The VAT was implemented in 2015, replacing a 10% tax on hotel accommodations. A handful of necessities, including as food staples, medications, and property insurance, are VAT-free.
Citizens of countries that require a visa to enter The Bahamas will require a visa if arriving by cruise ship from the United States of America.
All visa applicants must have a valid passport with a validity period of at least 6 months.
The use of an Electronic Entry Visa (EEV) does not guarantee admission to The Bahamas. The Bahamas Border Management Officers have the authority to refuse entry into the country.
Employment contracts in the Bahamas may be verbal or written. Employers need to inform the employee the following:
Name of the employer and place of employment
Name of the employee
Nature of employment
Duration of employment (if it is a fixed-term contract) and how this was calculated
Salary amount, how the salary is calculated, and frequency payment
Number of hours of daily work if applicable
Wages must be paid in Bahama dollars and at intervals of no more than a month. Background checks prior to employment are common, but employers are not allowed to take fingerprints or administer lie detector tests. Exceptions are provided for lottery and gaming businesses
There is no set length for assignments. This is usually indicated in the employment contract for fixed-term employments.
Bahaman Dollar (BSD)
You won't be able to establish your Bahamas subsidiary unless you consider various elements that influence the incorporation procedure. Begin by locating the best location for your firm in a certain city or area of The Bahamas. Distinct parts of the nation may have different Bahamas subsidiary laws, much as states in the United States have their own rules. Working with a consultant, lawyer, or accountant may help you locate a location that is conducive to incorporation.
Following that, you must review your company's objectives and operations for The Bahamas. While you may incorporate as one of numerous organizations, many businesses choose the limited liability corporation (LLC) form. Because of the LLC, each of your shareholders' liability is restricted to the amount they contribute. Furthermore, your parent business will be safeguarded from lawsuits and penalties as a result of the subsidiary's restricted responsibility.
The following are the processes to establishing your Bahamas subsidiary as an LLC:
1. Obtaining The Bahamas Investment Authority's clearance (BIA)
2. submitting a detailed project proposal
3. Paying the 50,000 Bahamian dollar minimum capital investment
4. Getting your company registered with The Bahamas' Registrar General Department
5. Providing the Registrar with information such as the company's name, the jurisdiction in which it was established, the date of incorporation, and more.
6. After you register, you must pay an annual fee.
The subsidiary laws that you must follow in the Bahamas vary based on the kind of organization you pick and where you incorporate. LLCs typically owe 50,000 Bahamian dollars, however there is no legislative necessity that the capital be paid in whole or in part at the time of creation. Your business will need at least one shareholder, who may be either a natural or legal person.
At least one director is required, who may be either a natural person or a legal entity. Although appointing a secretary is optional, many businesses do. This secretary may be a person or a company, a resident or a non-resident.