Rivermate | Botswana flag


Discover everything you need to know about Botswana

Hire in Botswana at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Botswana

Botswana Pula
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
48 hours/week

Overview in Botswana

Read more
  • Geography and Climate: Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, is roughly the size of France and predominantly flat with the Kalahari Desert covering about 70% of its area. It features the Okavango Delta in the northwest and rolling hills in the east. The climate is semi-arid with hot summers and mild, dry winters.

  • Historical Background: Initially inhabited by the San people, Botswana saw Bantu-speaking settlers introduce agriculture around 2000 years ago. By the 18th century, the Tswana kingdoms were established. In 1885, it became the Bechuanaland Protectorate under British control, gaining independence in 1966 with Seretse Khama as its first president.

  • Socio-Economic Development: Known as the "African Miracle," Botswana transformed from one of the poorest countries at independence to an upper-middle-income nation, primarily due to its diamond industry. Tourism also plays a crucial role economically, though challenges like income inequality and high unemployment persist.

  • Cultural Aspects: The Tswana people make up about 80% of the population, with Setswana and English as official languages. The culture emphasizes community and respect for elders, with traditional crafts and a blend of modern and traditional values evident.

  • Workforce and Economy: Botswana's economy is heavily reliant on the diamond industry, with significant contributions from the services sector, including tourism and finance. Agriculture remains vital in rural areas. The country faces a skills mismatch in the workforce, highlighting the need for enhanced vocational training.

  • Professional and Social Norms: In Botswana, indirect communication is preferred to maintain harmony, and hierarchical structures dominate the workplace with a high respect for age and seniority. Building relationships is crucial in professional settings.

  • Sectoral Insights: Besides mining, the services sector is a major employer, with growing sectors like technology, renewable energy, and healthcare noted for their potential. The manufacturing sector, though smaller, is expanding, particularly in food and beverage processing.

Overall, Botswana is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a strong economy based largely on diamond mining and tourism, facing modern challenges such as skills development and economic diversification.

Taxes in Botswana

Read more

Tax Responsibilities and Incentives for Employers in Botswana

  • Botswana Pensioners' Fund (BPF): Employers are not required to contribute to the BPF; it is primarily funded by employee contributions, though employers can opt to contribute voluntarily as an employee benefit.

  • Workmen's Compensation Insurance: Mandatory for employers to cover work-related injuries or illnesses, with premiums varying by industry and risk.

  • Skills Development Levy: Applicable to employers exceeding a certain payroll threshold, calculated as a percentage of the payroll.

  • Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE): Main form of income tax deduction from employees, with details available on the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) website.

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): Standard rate is 14%, with certain services like healthcare and education possibly exempt. VAT on imported services may be subject to a "reverse charge" mechanism.

  • Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Selibe Phikwe Economic Development Unit (SPEDU) Region: Offer reduced Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rates and other benefits like VAT exemptions and duty-free imports to qualifying businesses.

  • Sector-Specific Incentives: Include reduced CIT rates and other benefits for agricultural, tourism, and manufacturing sectors.

  • Additional Incentives: Allow for deductions like 200% of training expenditures and negotiated tax rates for approved relocations.

  • Foreign Tax Credit: Available for foreign withholding tax paid, which can be offset against Botswanan tax liability.

  • Important Considerations: Eligibility for incentives depends on sector, location, and investment specifics. Regular consultation with tax advisors and staying updated on tax laws is recommended.

Leave in Botswana

Read more

In Botswana, the Employment Act (Cap. 47:01) outlines various leave entitlements for employees. Key provisions include:

  • Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 15 working days of paid annual leave after six months of continuous service, with the possibility of carrying over a maximum of 30 unused days to the next year.
  • Sick Leave: Employees qualify for paid sick leave after six months, with entitlements varying from 14 days to one month per year, depending on the length of service.
  • Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave after working for the same employer for at least six months.
  • Compassionate Leave: Employees may receive a few days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member.
  • National and Religious Holidays: Botswana observes several national and religious holidays, including New Year's Day, President's Day, Botswana Day, Independence Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, a substitute day is typically given on the following Monday.

The act does not mandate paternity leave, but some employers may offer it. Employees are encouraged to consult their employment contracts or company handbooks for specifics, as some employers may provide more generous leave benefits than the statutory minimums.

Benefits in Botswana

Read more

Botswana's labor laws ensure a range of mandatory benefits for employees, including paid annual leave, public holidays, and maternity leave. Employees are also entitled to sick leave, overtime pay, and severance pay under specific conditions. Additionally, the law outlines provisions for probationary periods, notice periods, and retirement benefits, including both defined benefit and contribution pension plans.

Optional benefits provided by some employers include private health insurance, wellness programs, life and disability insurance, and flexible work arrangements. Financial and work-life balance perks may also include housing and transportation allowances, subsidized meals, and educational assistance.

While health insurance is not mandated by law due to the universal healthcare system, many employers offer private health insurance as an attractive voluntary benefit. Retirement income in Botswana is supported by a universal state pension, occupational pensions, and private pension plans, with the latter two being crucial for adequate retirement savings.

Workers Rights in Botswana

Read more

In Botswana, employment termination and anti-discrimination laws are well-defined to ensure fairness and protect both employees and employers. The Botswana Employment Act specifies lawful grounds for dismissal including misconduct, poor performance, incapacity, and redundancy. Notice requirements vary based on payment frequency, with options for immediate dismissal in cases of serious misconduct. Employees with at least five years of service are entitled to severance pay, calculated based on the duration of service.

Anti-discrimination laws in Botswana protect against bias based on race, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, with mechanisms in place for reporting and redressing discrimination. Employers are mandated to prevent discrimination and educate employees about these laws.

Work conditions are also regulated, with a standard workweek set at 45 hours and provisions for overtime pay. Employers must ensure safe working environments, including ergonomic considerations and necessary breaks to prevent fatigue.

Health and safety regulations are enforced by the Department of Occupational Health and Safety, requiring employers to provide a safe workplace, proper training, and personal protective equipment. Employees have the right to refuse unsafe work and participate in safety committees.

Overall, Botswana's legal framework aims to create a balanced, safe, and non-discriminatory working environment, though challenges in enforcement remain, particularly in informal sectors and remote areas.

Agreements in Botswana

Read more

In Botswana, the Employment Act governs various types of employment contracts, which are crucial for both employers and employees to understand. These include:

  • Permanent Employment Contracts: These are long-term with no set end date, detailing salary, benefits, duties, and termination notice periods.

  • Fixed-Term Employment Contracts: Used for temporary or project-based roles with a clear end date. These can convert to permanent contracts under certain conditions.

  • Casual Employment Contracts: For short-term, irregular work without guaranteed hours, focusing on compliance with minimum wage and labor regulations.

  • Probationary Employment Contracts: Often part of permanent or fixed-term contracts, allowing a trial period to assess suitability with a typical maximum duration of three months.

Each contract type should clearly outline the parties involved, terms of employment, compensation, working hours, leave entitlements, and termination requirements. Additional clauses like confidentiality and non-compete may also be included to protect business interests, though their enforceability depends on their reasonableness and adherence to legal standards.

Remote Work in Botswana

Read more

Botswana's Remote Work Environment: An Overview

Botswana is gradually adapting to remote work, though specific legal regulations for such arrangements are still under development. The Employment Act of 2017, while not tailored for remote work, covers applicable aspects like working hours and minimum wage. Employers and remote workers are encouraged to create written agreements detailing work specifics in the absence of dedicated remote work laws.

Technological and Infrastructure Needs

Successful remote work in Botswana requires robust technological infrastructure, including reliable internet, secure communication tools, and essential equipment like laptops, which employers may provide.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers have several responsibilities when setting up remote work arrangements. These include developing clear policies, providing necessary equipment, and ensuring effective communication and support for remote employees. They must also consider health and safety obligations and potential tax implications for remote workers residing outside Botswana.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work options such as part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing are gaining traction. The Employment Act provides a framework for part-time work, allowing employees to work fewer hours than the standard workweek, with benefits adjusted accordingly. Flexitime and job sharing lack specific legal frameworks but can be managed through internal employer policies and clear employment contracts.

Data Protection and Privacy

With the rise of remote work, data protection and privacy have become critical issues. Botswana currently lacks a comprehensive data protection law, but employers are expected to adhere to general principles of privacy and data security, including implementing technical safeguards and ensuring transparency in data usage.


As remote work becomes more common in Botswana, both employers and employees must navigate the existing legal landscape and adapt to new work cultures and technologies, ensuring compliance and effective management of remote work arrangements.

Working Hours in Botswana

Read more

Overview of Working Hours and Overtime in Botswana

Botswana's Employment Act of 2014 sets the maximum workweek at 48 hours, with a standard workday of 9 hours for a five-day week or 8 hours for a six-day week. Exceptions exist for certain professions, such as security guards, who can work up to 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week.

Overtime Regulations

Employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours exceeding the standard workweek, at a rate of at least 1.5 times their normal hourly rate. For work on rest days or public holidays, the compensation rate increases to at least double the normal rate. Overtime is capped at 14 hours per week unless an exception is granted by the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development.

Rest Breaks and Special Considerations

The law mandates a rest break of at least 30 minutes after five consecutive hours of work. Additional rest periods are provided for pregnant and nursing mothers. Night work and weekend work are included within the standard workweek limits, with overtime applicable if these exceed 48 hours per week.

Exclusions and Employer Responsibilities

Managerial, administrative, and executive roles are generally excluded from overtime pay. Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees receive their mandated breaks and comply with all regulations regarding working hours and overtime.

Collective Bargaining and Industry-Specific Regulations

Collective bargaining agreements may modify standard regulations, and the Ministry may issue specific guidelines for night or weekend work in certain industries.

Salary in Botswana

Read more

To effectively attract and retain top talent in Botswana's competitive job market, employers must offer market competitive salaries, which are influenced by factors such as job title, industry standards, education, experience, location, and specific skillsets. Resources like salary surveys, job boards, and networking can help determine appropriate compensation levels. Beyond salary, comprehensive benefits like pension fund contributions, health insurance, and paid time off are crucial. Additionally, understanding the national minimum wage, which is BWP 7.34 per hour as of 2022, and industry-specific minimum wages is essential for compliance. Employers also enhance compensation packages with bonuses and allowances, although these are not legally required. Understanding the payroll system, including pay frequency and overtime compensation, is also vital for employers operating in Botswana.

Termination in Botswana

Read more

Botswana's Employment Act (Chapter 47:01) Overview

  • Notice Periods:

    • Daily wage earners require at least one day's notice.
    • Monthly and other long-period wage earners need notice equal to their wage period.
    • During probation, a 14-day notice is mandatory.
    • Contracts and collective agreements may specify longer notice periods.
  • Termination Without Notice:

    • Allowed in cases of serious misconduct, though the term is not explicitly defined.
  • Severance Pay:

    • Eligibility requires at least 60 months of continuous service.
    • Calculation:
      • One day's wage per month for the first 60 months.
      • Two days' wage per month for any additional months.
    • Exceptions include employees receiving pension or gratuity, and certain management/professional employees.
  • Employer Initiated Termination:

    • Valid reasons include economic, technical, or structural changes; employee incapability or lack of qualifications; and serious misconduct.
    • Procedural fairness and non-discrimination are required in the termination process.

This summary encapsulates the key aspects of employment termination under Botswana's Employment Act, focusing on notice periods, severance pay, and employer-initiated termination conditions.

Freelancing in Botswana

Read more

In Botswana, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is vital due to its implications on rights, obligations, and taxes. Employees are under significant employer control, receive regular salaries with tax deductions, and have long-term work expectations with formal contracts. Conversely, independent contractors have more autonomy, handle their own taxes and expenses, and engage in project-based work with potentially informal agreements.

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) Section 200A presumes an employer-employee relationship for low-wage earners under certain conditions, placing the burden of proof on the company to demonstrate otherwise. Misclassification can lead to legal and financial penalties for businesses and loss of benefits for workers.

Contract structures for independent contractors vary, including fixed-price, time-based, and milestone-based contracts, each suitable for different project needs. Effective negotiation strategies, such as understanding market rates and focusing on value propositions, are crucial.

Key industries for independent contractors in Botswana include IT, creative sectors, construction, and mining. Contractors must manage their own taxes and may need private arrangements for social security benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

Intellectual property rights, particularly copyright and trademarks, are important for freelancers, with ownership typically defaulting to the creator unless otherwise agreed in contracts. Legal advice is recommended for complex IP and high-value projects.

Tax responsibilities for freelancers include registering with the Botswana Unified Revenue Service if annual income exceeds 36,000 BWP, filing annual returns, and understanding progressive tax brackets. Optional insurance like health, professional indemnity, and life insurance can provide additional security.

Health & Safety in Botswana

Read more

Health and safety laws are essential for ensuring a safe working environment, protecting both employees and employers from workplace hazards. Key legislation includes:

  • Factories Act (Chapter 44:01): Focuses on safety in factories, covering cleanliness, ventilation, machinery safety, and emergency procedures.
  • Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act (Chapter 44:02): Addresses safety in mining and quarrying industries, emphasizing structural safety and health surveillance.
  • Workers' Compensation Act (Chapter 47:03): Requires employers to compensate employees for work-related injuries or illnesses.
  • Radiation Protection Act (2006): Regulates the use and disposal of radioactive materials to protect against harmful radiation.
  • Public Health Act (Chapter 63:01): Includes provisions on communicable diseases, sanitation, and food safety.
  • Employment Act (Chapter 47:01): Contains general provisions on workplace health and safety.

Employers are obligated to maintain a safe work environment, conduct risk assessments, and ensure proper training and equipment for employees. Employees have rights to a safe workplace and must adhere to safety protocols.

The Department of Health and Safety (DOHS) enforces these regulations, with inspections being a critical component. Inspections can be routine or reactive, focusing on compliance with health and safety standards. Violations can lead to improvement notices, prohibition notices, or prosecution.

Workplace accidents must be reported and investigated by employers to prevent future incidents. Compensation for injuries or illnesses is managed through the Workers' Compensation Act, with various forms of compensation available depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the worker's capacity.

Overall, while there is a robust legal framework for occupational health and safety, challenges remain, particularly in enforcement and compliance, especially in smaller enterprises and informal sectors.

Dispute Resolution in Botswana

Read more

Labor disputes in Botswana are resolved through the Industrial Court and arbitration, as outlined by the Trade Disputes Act and the Arbitration Act. The Industrial Court handles cases related to labor laws and employment contracts, including unfair dismissal and trade union disputes, while arbitration offers a private, flexible alternative for resolving labor disputes. Compliance audits and inspections are crucial for ensuring legal adherence and operational efficiency, conducted by various bodies like government agencies and internal audit departments. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, including fines and legal action.

Botswana also emphasizes whistleblower protection under the Whistleblowing Act (2016), safeguarding employees who report wrongdoing from retaliation. The country aligns its labor practices with international standards, particularly those set by the International Labor Organization (ILO), influencing its domestic laws on freedom of association, child labor, and non-discrimination to ensure compliance and uphold ethical standards in labor practices.

Cultural Considerations in Botswana

Read more

Understanding Communication and Business Practices in Botswana

  • Communication Style: Botswana favors indirect communication to maintain harmony and avoid confrontation. Trust and rapport are essential before engaging in frank discussions, with a preference for consensus and collaborative solutions.

  • Formality: Business interactions are formal, using Setswana or English. Dress codes are conservative, and respect for hierarchy is evident through the use of titles and formal language.

  • Non-Verbal Cues: Non-verbal communication like facial expressions and posture is significant. Direct eye contact is sometimes viewed as challenging, while silence is often a sign of attentiveness.

  • Negotiation: Negotiations in Botswana are relationship-based and collaborative, focusing on long-term relationships and consensus building. Aggressive tactics are avoided, and understanding subtle cues is crucial.

  • Business Practices: Preparation is key in negotiations, including understanding market rates and potential concessions. Decision-making is hierarchical, flowing from senior management to lower levels, with limited upward communication.

  • Team Dynamics and Leadership: Teams respect hierarchical structures, with collaboration valued within the framework of directive leadership. Modern businesses are moving towards more balanced approaches, encouraging upward communication.

  • Statutory Holidays and Observances: Awareness of national and regional holidays is crucial for planning business activities, as these can affect work schedules and business operations.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

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