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Termination and Severance Policies

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

Notice period

In Botswana, the Employment Act (Chapter 47:01) provides the legal framework for notice periods during employment termination.

Minimum Notice Periods

The Act differentiates notice periods based on wage payment frequency and contract type:

  • For contracts of unspecified periods (open-ended contracts):
    • If wages are paid daily, the termination notice must be for a period not less than one day.
    • For wages paid over a longer period (e.g., monthly), the notice period must be not less than the wage period. This means that an employee paid a monthly salary is required to give (or receive) one month's notice before termination.

These are minimum requirements. Employment contracts or collective agreements may stipulate longer notice periods, which supersede the statutory minimum.

Probationary Period

During the probationary period, either the employer or employee can terminate the contract with not less than 14 days' notice. This 14-day minimum applies regardless of wage payment frequency.

Termination Without Notice

The Act allows for termination without notice in cases of serious employee misconduct. However, the specific definition of "serious misconduct" is not provided and may be subject to legal interpretation.

Severance pay

Severance pay in Botswana is primarily governed by Section 27 of the Employment Act (Chapter 47:01).

Eligibility for Severance Pay

Employees are generally eligible for severance pay if they have completed at least 60 months (5 years) of continuous service with the same employer. Severance pay applies when the employer initiates the termination of employment. This includes redundancy due to economic, structural, or technological reasons.

Calculation of Severance Pay

The formula for calculating severance pay is as follows:

  • One day's basic wage for each completed month of service for the first 60 months.
  • Two days' basic wage for each additional completed month of service beyond the initial 60 months.

Exceptions and Important Notes

Employees receiving pension or gratuity upon termination are not entitled to severance pay. Management and professional employees are only eligible for severance pay after completing 60 months of service with the same employer. In some cases, fixed-term contracts may have specific provisions regarding severance.

Example of Severance Pay Calculation

Consider an employee who worked for the same company for 8 years (96 months) and was terminated by the employer. Their severance pay would be calculated as follows:

  • 60 months x 1 day's wage = 60 days' wages
  • 36 months x 2 days' wages = 72 days' wages
  • Total severance pay: 132 days' wages

The authoritative source for this information is the Employment Act of Botswana (Chapter 47:01), specifically Section 27.

Termination process

Termination of an employment contract in Botswana can occur in a few ways: mutual agreement between the employee and employer, resignation by the employee, or termination by the employer.

Employer Initiated Termination

When an employer in Botswana initiates the termination, they must adhere to the following principles:

Valid Grounds for Termination

  • Economic, Technical, or Structural Changes (Redundancy): The employer may terminate employees due to restructuring, technological changes, or lack of work.
  • Employee's Incapability or Lack of Qualifications: Persistent failure to meet the established work performance or qualification standards that were made known to the employee.
  • Violation of Work Duties: Serious misconduct or behavior that breaches work obligations.

Termination without Notice

  • Serious Misconduct: The Employment Act allows for immediate termination in cases of serious misconduct by the employee. However, "serious misconduct" is not explicitly defined and may be open to interpretation.

Additional Notes

  • Procedural Fairness: In cases of performance or misconduct-related issues, employers may have the obligation to provide warnings and opportunities for improvement prior to termination.
  • Discrimination: Termination cannot be based on discriminatory grounds such as gender, race, religion, etc.
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