Rivermate | Bermuda flag


Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Bermuda


The primary legislation governing employment relationships and termination in Bermuda is the Employment Act 2000.

An employer in Bermuda may terminate an employment contract for reasons such as lack of capability or qualifications, misconduct, redundancy, operational requirements, or statutory illegality.

Bermuda's Employment Act 2000 mandates specific notice periods for termination, which must be outlined in the employment contract. However, during any probationary period, these notice requirements may not apply. The minimum notice periods are one week's notice for weekly paid employees, two weeks' notice for fortnightly paid employees, and one month's notice for monthly paid employees or others. An employer cannot give notice of termination while an employee is absent on annual vacation, maternity leave, bereavement leave, or sick leave (unless the sick leave extends beyond four weeks).

H3 Severance Pay

In Bermuda, employees are entitled to severance pay upon termination under specific circumstances. The Employment Act 2000 outlines the calculation: two weeks' wages for each completed year of continuous employment (up to the first ten years), three weeks' wages for each completed year of continuous employment thereafter, with a maximum of 26 weeks' wages.

H3 Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns due to the employer's actions creating an intolerable work environment. This can include significant changes to job duties, harassment, or substantial breaches of the employment contract.

Employment contracts may provide for longer notice periods or more generous severance pay than the statutory minimums. Employers must provide terminated employees with a "Certificate for Termination" upon request, stating the reason for termination (as per the Employment Act 2000). Unfair dismissal claims can be filed with the Employment Tribunal in Bermuda.


Bermuda has robust anti-discrimination laws in place to protect individuals from unfair treatment in various aspects of life, including employment. The primary legislation for anti-discrimination in Bermuda is the Human Rights Act 1981. It explicitly prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, place of origin, color, ethnic or national origins, sex or sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, disability, family status, religion, beliefs, political opinions, and criminal record (with exceptions for certain roles where specific offences would create conflict).

Protected Characteristics under the Human Rights Act 1981

  • Race
  • Place of origin
  • Color
  • Ethnic or national origins
  • Sex or sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy
  • Marital status
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Religion
  • Beliefs
  • Political opinions
  • Criminal record (with exceptions for certain roles where specific offences would create conflict)

Areas Covered by the Human Rights Act 1981

The Human Rights Act 1981 prohibits discrimination and harassment in key areas such as employment, housing, provision of goods, facilities, and services, education, and publications and notices.

Redress Mechanisms

If an individual believes they've been discriminated against, they have several redress options. They can approach the Bermuda Human Rights Commission, an independent body established to investigate and conciliate complaints of discrimination. They can also bring their case to the Employment Tribunal, which can hear cases of unfair dismissal based on discrimination as per the Employment Act 2000. Alternatively, individuals can pursue legal action in the courts to seek remedies for discrimination.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Bermuda have a legal responsibility to uphold anti-discrimination laws. This includes creating a discrimination-free workplace by implementing policies that clearly outline the company's stance against discrimination and establish procedures for handling complaints. Employers are also responsible for educating staff on anti-discrimination laws, recognizing discrimination, and fostering a respectful workplace. They must take all complaints of discrimination seriously and conduct prompt and fair investigations. Furthermore, they are required to address instances of discriminatory behavior with appropriate disciplinary measures.

Working conditions

Bermuda's work environment presents a blend of potential advantages and challenges. Here are some key areas to consider:

Work Hours

In Bermuda, there is no legislated standard for work hours. This implies that the number of hours worked per week can fluctuate based on the industry, the employer, and the terms of the employment contract.

Rest Periods

Although there is no mandated standard workweek in Bermuda, there are regulations concerning rest periods for employees:

  • Daily Rest: Employees are required to have a minimum uninterrupted break of one hour during the workday.

Ergonomic Requirements

Specific ergonomic requirements in Bermuda are not readily accessible through official government channels. However, employers generally have a common law obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This may involve the application of ergonomic principles to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Health and safety

Bermuda's legislative framework prioritizes worker well-being. This guide explores key aspects of health and safety regulations, outlining employer obligations, employee rights, and enforcement agencies.

Employer Obligations

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1982 (OSHA) and its accompanying regulations form the cornerstone of workplace health and safety in Bermuda. Employers have significant obligations under OSHA, including:

  • Providing a Safe Workplace: Employers must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. This includes maintaining safe working conditions, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing risk assessments.
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Management: Employers must identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement control measures to minimize risks.
  • Training and Instruction: Employees must be adequately trained on health and safety procedures relevant to their job roles.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Employers must have a written emergency evacuation plan and ensure employees are familiar with it.
  • Accident and Incident Reporting: Work-related accidents, injuries, and dangerous occurrences must be reported to the Department of Workforce Development.

Employee Rights

Employees in Bermuda have corresponding rights under OSHA:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from foreseeable risks to health and safety.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees are entitled to receive information and training on workplace hazards and safe work practices.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees can refuse work they believe to be unsafe, provided they have reasonable justification for their concern.

Enforcement Agencies

The Department of Workforce Development, specifically the Health and Safety Unit, is responsible for enforcing OSHA. This includes:

  • Conducting workplace inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Investigating complaints of unsafe work practices or unhealthy working conditions.
  • Issuing improvement notices or prohibition notices to employers who are not in compliance.
Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.