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Termination and Severance Policies

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

Notice period

In Burundi, the Labour Code outlines the required notice periods for terminating employment contracts. The minimum notice period an employer must provide an employee is dependent on the employee's seniority with the company, as stipulated by Article 80 of the Burundian Labour Code.

Notice Periods Based on Seniority

  • Less than 3 years of service: One month's notice
  • 3 to 5 years of service: One and a half months' notice (45 days)
  • 5 to 10 years of service: Two months' notice
  • More than 10 years of service: Three months' notice

Notice Periods for Employee-Initiated Termination

For employees initiating termination, the Labour Code allows for some leniency. In these instances, the notice period is generally half that required of the employer:

  • Less than 3 years of service: Two weeks' notice
  • 3 to 5 years of service: Three weeks' notice (approximately 22.5 days)
  • More than 5 years of service: One month's notice

Exceptions to Notice Periods

There are certain exceptions where notice periods may not apply:

  • Probationary Period: During the probationary period (which cannot exceed 1 year with renewals [Article 38]), either party can terminate the contract without notice during the first month. After one month of probation, three days' notice is required.
  • Gross Misconduct: If an employee commits severe misconduct, the employer may dismiss them without notice (Article 81).

Important Aspects of Notice Periods

  • The notice period serves as a buffer for a smooth handover of responsibilities and for the employee to find new employment.
  • Notice must be delivered in writing, clearly stating the termination date (Article 80).
  • Non-compliance with notice periods can result in legal repercussions for the non-compliant party.

Severance pay

In Burundi, the Labour Code provides guidelines on severance pay, which is given to employees under certain termination conditions.

Severance Pay Requirements

Severance pay is obligatory in these situations:

  • Involuntary Termination: If the employer terminates the contract due to economic reasons, restructuring, company closure, or workforce reduction (Article 84 of the Labour Code).
  • Retirement: Employees who retire after continuous service with an employer are eligible for severance pay.

Situations Where Severance Pay is NOT Required

  • Termination for Fault: Employees dismissed for gross misconduct, criminal activity, or serious negligence lose their right to severance pay (Article 84).
  • Resignation: Generally, employees who resign voluntarily do not receive severance pay.
  • Fixed-Term Contracts: Employees on fixed-term contracts that end without renewal may not be eligible for severance pay unless their contract specifically states otherwise.

Severance Pay Calculation

The Burundian Labour Code (Article 84) provides the following scale for calculating severance pay:

  • 3 to 5 years of service: One average monthly salary
  • 5 to 10 years of service: Two average monthly salaries
  • More than 10 years of service: Three average monthly salaries

Key Points to Note

  • The "average monthly salary" used in the calculation includes the base salary and regular allowances (e.g., housing, transportation).
  • Collective bargaining agreements or individual employment contracts may provide more generous severance entitlements than the minimums specified in the Labour Code.

Termination process

In Burundi, termination of employment can be categorized into dismissal for valid cause, redundancy due to economic reasons, resignation by the employee, and mutual agreement.

Types of Termination

Dismissal for Valid Cause: This occurs when the employer terminates the contract due to the employee's conduct or performance such as misconduct, incompetence, or recurring absences.

Redundancy (Economic Reasons): This type of termination is due to economic, structural, or technological changes within the company.

Resignation by the Employee: This is when the employee voluntarily ends the employment relationship.

Mutual Agreement: This happens when both the employer and employee agree to end the employment contract.

Grounds for Dismissal

For a dismissal to be considered lawful, the employer must have a valid reason. The Burundian Labor Code outlines the following acceptable grounds:

Personal Reasons: These include the employee's inability to perform work, professional misconduct, and health issues that create permanent disability.

Economic Reasons: These include restructuring, financial difficulties, and technological changes within the company that make the position obsolete.

Termination Procedure

Dismissal for Valid Cause

  1. Written Notice: The employer must provide a written notice of dismissal, clearly outlining the reasons for termination.
  2. Opportunity to Respond: The employee has the right to respond to the allegations and present their defense.
  3. Labour Inspector's Involvement (Optional): Either party can request the involvement of a Labour Inspector for mediation during this process.


  1. Consultation with Workers' Representatives: The employer must consult with worker representatives before initiating a redundancy process.
  2. Selection Criteria: Redundancy must follow objective and fair criteria, considering factors like seniority, skills, and family responsibilities.

Important Considerations

Protections for Workers' Representatives: Dismissing workers' representatives requires a special procedure and approval from the Labor Inspectorate.

Prohibition of Discriminatory Dismissal: Employers cannot terminate employees on grounds like race, gender, pregnancy, union membership, or political affiliation.

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