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Termination and Severance Policies

Learn about the legal processes for employee termination and severance in Afghanistan

Notice period

In Afghanistan, the Labor Code (1999) provides the legal framework for notice periods during employment termination.

Standard Notice Period

According to Article 24 of the Labor Code:

  • If an employee wishes to terminate a non-fixed term contract, they must provide one month's written notice to the employer.
  • An employer wishing to end the employment contract for legally acceptable reasons must also give one month's notice. Although the law doesn't explicitly require written notice, it's advisable for documentation purposes.

Exceptions to the Standard Notice Period

There are several exceptions to the standard notice period:

  • During a probationary period, which can last up to three months as per Article 17 of the Labor Code, termination can occur without notice unless it's due to the employee's unsatisfactory performance.
  • In cases of serious misconduct by the employee, the employer may be able to terminate the employment without notice.
  • Employees can terminate the contract without notice if the employer has breached the contract terms or violated labor laws, as stated in Article 24.

Payment in Lieu of Notice

It's common for employers to offer payment equivalent to one month's salary and benefits instead of having the employee work during the notice period. This practice is generally accepted.

Importance of Employment Contracts

It's important to note that employment contracts in Afghanistan can specify notice periods that differ from the Labor Code's standard. The contract terms would generally supersede the Labor Code's provisions as long as they don't provide less favorable conditions to the employee.

Severance pay

In Afghanistan, the labor law acknowledges an employee's right to severance pay under specific termination scenarios, as outlined in Article 23 of the Labor Code.

Circumstances Warranting Severance Pay

Severance pay is granted to employees dismissed due to:

  • Cessation of Work: The business or organization ceases its operations.
  • Reduction in Staff (Redundancy): The employee is dismissed due to economic, technical, or organizational changes leading to downsizing.
  • Imprisonment: The employee is unable to work due to imprisonment.
  • Refusal to Work: The employee refuses to work without a justifiable reason.

Severance Pay Calculation

The severance pay an employee is entitled to is determined by their length of service with the employer:

  • Less than one year of service: One month's salary and other entitlements
  • One to five years of service: Two months' salary and other entitlements
  • Five to ten years of service: Four months' salary and other entitlements
  • Over ten years of service: Six months' salary and other entitlements

What Constitutes Other Entitlements

Other entitlements, in addition to the base salary, may include regular allowances and benefits defined in the employment contract or as per prevailing labor practices in the industry.

Important Considerations

Severance pay is mandatory in the circumstances described above, and employers cannot contract out of their obligation to provide severance. However, no severance is due if the employee resigns voluntarily, is terminated for serious misconduct, or if the employment contract was for a fixed duration that has ended naturally.

Termination process

The Afghanistan Labor Code (1999) provides several legal grounds for terminating an employment contract. These include mutual agreement between the employer and employee, completion of a fixed-term contract, retirement, death of the employee, disability, cessation of work for more than six months, dissolution of the organization or reduction in staff, final conviction, disciplinary reasons, refusal to work, and an unsatisfactory probationary period.

Immediate Termination

The Afghanistan Labor Code does not explicitly provide for immediate termination. However, certain instances may warrant it. During probation, employers may terminate a probationary employee immediately, often if performance is unsatisfactory. Termination may also occur without notice for severe breaches of contract or violations of company policy such as insubordination or theft. It is crucial for employers to have clear disciplinary procedures outlining circumstances that may result in immediate dismissal.

Additional Considerations

Large-scale layoffs, also known as collective redundancies, typically require approval from the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled. Employers should thoroughly document reasons for termination, particularly for disciplinary dismissals to avoid potential legal disputes.

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