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Brunei Darussalam

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Brunei Darussalam


In Brunei, the Employment Order 2009 and the Labor Act (Chapter 93) are the primary laws governing employment. These laws outline several grounds for lawful dismissal, including gross misconduct, poor performance, redundancy, and contract expiration.

Grounds for Lawful Dismissal

Gross Misconduct: Actions such as theft, insubordination, fighting in the workplace, and serious breaches of company policy or trust fall under this category. In these cases, employers generally dismiss employees without notice or compensation.

Poor Performance: If an employee consistently fails to meet performance standards despite warnings and opportunities for improvement, the employer may terminate the contract, usually with notice.

Redundancy: If an employee's role becomes unnecessary due to economic conditions or restructuring, the employer may terminate employment. This typically involves severance pay and notice periods.

Contract Expiration: Fixed-term contracts naturally end at their specified date, without requiring termination by either party.

Notice Requirements

The Employment Order 2009 outlines specific notice periods. If either party wishes to terminate an employment contract, they must provide written notice. The notice periods depend on the employee's length of service:

  • Less than 26 weeks of service: 1 day's notice
  • 26 weeks to 2 years of service: 1 week's notice
  • 2 years to 5 years of service: 2 weeks' notice
  • 5 years or more of service: 4 weeks' notice

The notice period must be the same for both employer and employee, even if not explicitly defined in the employment contract.

Severance Pay

Severance pay in Brunei is not always mandatory. Here are the circumstances when an employee may be entitled to severance:

Redundancy: Severance may be required if the job position is made redundant. The amount is usually negotiated as part of a separation agreement.

Contract Breach: If the employer breaches the contract terms leading to termination, the employee may be eligible for compensation (severance pay or equivalent).


In Brunei, there isn't a comprehensive anti-discrimination law. Instead, there are scattered provisions within various laws that touch upon aspects of discrimination. The existing legal protections focus primarily on the basis of ethnicity and religion. Other characteristics like gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age lack comprehensive protection.

Limited Protections

  • Absence of Comprehensive Legislation: There isn't a single, overarching anti-discrimination law in Brunei.
  • Narrow Range of Protected Characteristics: Legal protections focus primarily on ethnicity and religion. Other characteristics lack comprehensive protection.

Key Protections & Mechanisms

  • Ethnicity and Religion: The Brunei Constitution prohibits discrimination based on descent or place of origin. The Penal Code also specifically outlaws inciting hatred or violence on the basis of race or religion.
  • Employment (Limited): While the Employment Order 2009 lacks an explicit non-discrimination clause, there are laws restricting some public service employment positions to specific ethnicities.

Redress Mechanisms

Despite the limited legal framework, there are a few avenues for individuals who have experienced discrimination:

  • Labor Department Complaints: For issues specifically within employment, complaints can be filed with the Labor Department.
  • Police Reports: For more severe cases involving criminal acts of discrimination, individuals can file reports with the police.
  • Civil Lawsuits (Limited): In specific instances, there might be grounds for a civil lawsuit, but these options are less established and may be subject to interpretation.

Employer Responsibilities

While not strictly mandatory, it's highly advisable for employers in Brunei to:

  • Proactive Policies: Establish a clear non-discrimination policy within the workplace, outlining commitment to equality and fair treatment.
  • Education and Training: Provide employees with training on anti-discrimination practices and how to foster an inclusive workplace environment.
  • Complaint Procedures: Have clear internal grievance procedures where employees can safely and confidentially report instances of discrimination.

Need for Stronger Protections

International organizations regularly cite the need for stronger anti-discrimination legislation in Brunei to create a truly inclusive and fair society.

Working conditions

In Brunei Darussalam, regulations outline the basic standards for working conditions.

Work Hours and Overtime

The maximum number of working hours in a week is 44, averaged over any continuous three-week period. This means some flexibility exists in scheduling, but the average shouldn't exceed 44 hours. An employee cannot work for more than 12 hours a day, including overtime. There's also a requirement for rest periods - no more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. Overtime work exceeding contracted hours requires employer request and employee consent. Overtime pay is mandated at a rate of 1.5 times the basic hourly rate. There's a monthly limit of 72 overtime hours, which can be exceeded with approval from the Commissioner of Labour.

Rest Days and Leave

Employees are entitled to one rest day per week, with no pay deduction. While the guide mentions rest days and leave, it doesn't detail specific allowances for annual leave or sick leave.

Ergonomic Requirements

There's no readily available information on specific ergonomic requirements mandated by law in Brunei Darussalam. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Order 2009 emphasizes ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for employees. This likely includes some provisions related to ergonomics, but further research into the specific order might be necessary.

Health and safety

Brunei Darussalam prioritizes worker well-being through a comprehensive set of health and safety regulations. These regulations outline the obligations of employers, the rights of employees, and the enforcement mechanisms to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.

Employer Obligations

The Workplace Safety and Health Order (WSHO) 2009 places significant responsibility on employers to safeguard employee well-being. Here are some key employer obligations:

  • Risk Management: Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement control measures to minimize risks.
  • Safe Work Procedures: Employers are obligated to establish and maintain safe work procedures to guide employees on safe work practices.
  • Provision of Information and Training: Employers have a duty to provide employees with relevant information and training on workplace safety and health hazards. This includes proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Accident Reporting: In case of an accident or occupational illness, employers must report the incident to the Department of Labour.
  • Safe Work Environment: Employers are responsible for maintaining the workplace in a safe condition. This includes ensuring proper ventilation, lighting, and housekeeping.

Employee Rights

Employees also have a role to play in workplace safety and health. WSHO 2009 empowers employees with the following rights:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their safety and health.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive information and training on workplace safety and health matters.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe and unhealthy. However, they must communicate their concerns to the employer and relevant authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The Department of Labour (DOL) is the primary agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health regulations in Brunei Darussalam. DOL inspectors have the authority to conduct workplace inspections, investigate accidents, and issue improvement notices to employers who fail to comply with regulations.

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