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Employment Agreement Essentials

Understand the key elements of employment contracts in Angola

Types of employment agreements

In Angola, the General Labor Law (Law No. 7/15 of June 15, 2015) recognizes several types of employment contracts.

Indefinite-Term Contract

An indefinite-term contract is an employment agreement without a specified end date, intended for general, ongoing work within the company. This is the preferred contract type, providing employees with the greatest level of job security.

Fixed-Term Contract

A fixed-term contract is an employment agreement with a specific start and end date, typically used for project-based work or temporary needs. There are legal limitations to this type of contract, including a maximum duration of 36 months. It can be renewed, but there are rules governing when it automatically converts to an indefinite-term contract.

Part-Time Contract

A part-time contract is an agreement where the employee works a reduced number of hours compared to a full-time schedule. This type of contract must be in writing and offers pro-rated salary and benefits compared to full-time employees.

Apprenticeship Contract

An apprenticeship contract is designed to provide job training and experience, usually for young workers. This contract must be in writing and has a limited duration of up to 24 months.

Special Considerations for Hiring Foreign Nationals

When hiring foreign nationals, there are special considerations to keep in mind. Fixed-term contracts are generally the only option for foreign employees. All employment terms must be in writing for foreign workers.

While written employment contracts are not always mandatory under Angolan law, it's strongly recommended for clarity and to protect the interests of both employers and employees.

Essential clauses

The employment agreement should clearly identify both the employer and the employee, including their full names and addresses. It should also confirm that both parties have the legal capacity to enter into the agreement.

The agreement should clearly define the employee's job title, tasks, and responsibilities. It should also specify the primary work location.

The type of contract should be specified, whether it's indefinite-term, fixed-term, part-time, etc. The start and end dates of the employment relationship should also be indicated.

The agreement should state the agreed-upon salary amount and payment frequency. If applicable, it should define how bonuses and commissions are earned and calculated. It should also outline any additional benefits provided, such as housing allowance, transportation, and health insurance. Overtime rates and eligibility should also be specified.

The regular working hours per day and week should be detailed in the agreement. It should also outline the entitlement to rest breaks and daily rest periods. The number of annual leave days the employee is entitled to should also be specified.

The agreement should specify the required notice period for both employer and employee for termination. It should also list the valid grounds for dismissal, such as misconduct or redundancy.

The agreement should state that it is governed by Angolan law, specifically the General Labor Law. It should also specify the procedure for addressing disputes, such as internal mediation or labor courts.

Probationary period

A probationary period is a trial phase within an employment relationship that allows both the employer and employee to assess their suitability for the long-term working arrangement. In Angola, probationary periods are recognized under Article 80 of the General Labor Law (Law No. 7/15 of June 15, 2015). They provide an opportunity for the employer to evaluate the employee's skills, work ethic, and compatibility with the company culture, and for the employee to determine if the job and the company align with their expectations and career goals.

Key Provisions

Probationary periods in Angola cannot exceed 180 days, as per the General Labor Law, Article 80. During the probationary period, either party can terminate the employment contract with shorter notice periods than usually required (General Labor Law, Article 82). If successful, the probationary period usually transitions into an indefinite-term or fixed-term contract.

Best Practices

The employment contract should clearly define the duration of the probationary period, any specific performance goals or expectations, and the termination procedures during the probationary period. Employers should provide regular feedback and conduct evaluations to help the employee succeed and identify any potential issues early on.

Confidentiality and non compete clauses

In Angola, employers frequently incorporate confidentiality and non-compete clauses in employment agreements to safeguard their commercial interests. These clauses and their legal implications are discussed below:

Confidentiality Clauses

Confidentiality clauses are designed to prevent employees from divulging sensitive company information, such as trade secrets, client lists, or financial data, both during and after their employment. These obligations stem from general principles of good faith in contractual relationships and are further reinforced by Article 128 of the General Labor Law (Law No. 7/15 of June 15, 2015). Confidentiality clauses are generally enforceable in Angola as long as they are reasonable in scope and duration to protect legitimate business interests.

Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses aim to limit an employee's capacity to work for a competitor or establish a competing business for a certain period after their employment concludes. These clauses are also regulated by Article 128 of the General Labor Law. For a non-compete clause to be enforceable in Angola, it must meet the following conditions:

  • It must be explicitly written in the employment contract or an addendum.
  • It must be reasonable in terms of geographical area, duration (maximum 3 years), and the type of activities restricted.
  • The employer may need to provide the employee with financial compensation for the period of restriction.

Important Considerations

Courts in Angola will evaluate whether the restrictions imposed by confidentiality and non-compete clauses are reasonable and necessary. Clauses that are overly broad or restrictive may be deemed unenforceable. Angolan law recognizes the fundamental right to work. Restrictions on this right must be justified and proportionate.

Best Practices

Draft confidentiality and non-compete clauses that are specific to the company's legitimate business needs and the employee's role. Avoid using overly broad or generic language. Consult with an Angolan labor law expert to ensure that your confidentiality and non-compete clauses are legally compliant and enforceable.

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