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Termination and Severance Policies

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

Notice period

In Benin, Labor Law No. 2017-05 sets out the minimum notice periods that employers must give employees when terminating indefinite employment contracts. The length of the notice period depends on the employee's category.

Notice Periods by Employee Category

  • Hourly Workers (Ouvriers payés à l'heure): These employees are entitled to a notice period of 15 days.
  • Employees, Workers, and Laborers (Employés, Ouvriers et Manoeuvres): These employees are entitled to a notice period of one month.
  • Supervisors, Executives, and Equivalents (Agents de maîtrise, Cadres et assimilés): These employees are entitled to the longest notice period of three months.

It's important to note that the employer and employee can agree to a different notice period in their written employment contract, as long as it's not less than the legal minimums outlined above.

Severance pay

In Benin, the legal framework for severance pay is outlined in Articles 42 - 47 of the Labor Code. Employees with indefinite duration employment contracts are generally eligible for severance pay if their employment is terminated involuntarily by the employer, except in cases of gross misconduct. Employees on fixed-term contracts may also be entitled in certain circumstances.

Severance pay is calculated based on the employee's length of service and their average monthly salary. For 1-5 years of service, it's 30% of the average monthly salary for each year of service. For 6-10 years of service, it's 35% of the average monthly salary for each year of service. Beyond 10 years of service, it's 40% of the average monthly salary for each year of service.

In the case of collective dismissals, the severance pay rates may be slightly different: 35% for the first five years, 40% for 6-10 years, and 45% beyond 10 years.

Severance pay is not due in cases of termination of employment resulting from gross negligence of the employee, the employee reaching the legal retirement age, or resignation by the employee.

Termination process

In Benin, employers are required to adhere to specific legal procedures when terminating an employee's contract, as stipulated by the Labor Code of Benin (Code du Travail en République du Benin).

Valid Reasons for Termination

Employers must have a valid reason for termination. These reasons are categorized into two:

  • Personal Reasons: These are related to the employee's performance, conduct, health, or inability to fulfill the job requirements (Article 42). Examples include incompetence, repeated misconduct, or inability to work due to illness.
  • Economic Reasons: These are due to changes in the company's economic situation, technological advancements, or restructuring (Article 43). Examples include layoffs due to financial difficulties or the elimination of positions.

Notification to Labor Inspector

The employer is required to notify the labor inspector in writing of the termination and the reasons behind it (Article 44). This notification is crucial for ensuring the validity of the process.

Steps in the Termination Process

  1. Identify a valid reason: The employer must establish a clear and justifiable reason for the termination, in line with the Labor Code.
  2. Provide written notice: The employer should issue a formal termination letter to the employee, explicitly stating the reason for termination and the effective date.
  3. Notify the labor inspector: The employer should inform the labor inspector in writing, detailing the reasons for termination.
  4. Final Payment: The employer should issue the final payment to the employee, including any accrued wages and unused leave.
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