Rivermate | Cabo Verde flag

Cabo Verde

Dispute Resolution and Legal Compliance

Understand dispute resolution mechanisms and legal compliance in Cabo Verde

Labor courts and arbitration panels

Cabo Verde's labor dispute resolution system is composed of specialized labor courts and voluntary arbitration mechanisms.

Labor Courts

Labor courts are part of the judicial system and are responsible for handling individual labor disputes. They are organized into courts of the first instance and a higher appeals court. The jurisdiction of these courts includes individual disputes arising from employment contracts such as wrongful dismissal, wage claims, and discrimination. They also handle disputes related to work-related accidents and occupational diseases, as well as disputes concerning social security contributions.

The process in labor courts starts with the filing of a claim with the competent labor court. The court then attempts to facilitate a settlement between the parties. If conciliation fails, a hearing is held where evidence is presented and arguments are made. The court then issues a judgment, which may be appealed to a higher court. Typical cases handled by labor courts include unfair dismissal, unpaid wages and benefits, discrimination and harassment, and work-related accidents and illnesses.


Arbitration provides a voluntary alternative to labor courts and is often used in collective labor disputes. The parties involved choose an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators to resolve their conflict. The jurisdiction of arbitration includes collective labor disputes such as interpretation of collective agreements and strikes. It can also handle individual disputes if the parties mutually agree to arbitration.

The arbitration process begins with the parties agreeing to arbitration and selecting an arbitrator or panel. The arbitrator(s) then determines the procedures to be followed. A hearing is held with evidence and arguments presented. The arbitrator(s) then issues a binding decision (award). Typical cases handled by arbitration include interpretation of collective bargaining agreements, wage and working condition disputes, and strikes and lockouts.

The primary law governing labor relations in Cabo Verde is the Labor Code. The Law on Arbitration regulates the arbitration process, while the Judicial Organization Law establishes the structure and jurisdiction of the labor courts.

Compliance audits and inspections

Compliance audits and inspections are essential tools for ensuring adherence to various laws and regulations in Cabo Verde. They are conducted by several government agencies and regulatory bodies, including the General Inspectorate of Labor, the Tax Authority, the Economic Activities Regulatory Agency, and other sector-specific agencies.

Who Conducts Audits and Inspections

The General Inspectorate of Labor is the primary enforcer of labor laws, conducting workplace inspections to ensure compliance with wage, working hour, safety, health, and discrimination regulations. The Tax Authority conducts tax audits to verify compliance with tax laws and regulations. The Economic Activities Regulatory Agency oversees compliance in sectors such as energy, telecommunications, and transport. Various other agencies may conduct inspections relevant to their specific areas of regulation, such as healthcare and the environment.


The frequency of compliance audits and inspections varies depending on factors such as the sector, risk assessment, and complaints. Sectors with higher risks or potential for non-compliance may be subject to more frequent inspections. Businesses deemed higher risk, such as those with a history of non-compliance, might face more frequent inspections. Investigations may also be triggered by specific complaints or reports of violations.


Typical compliance audits and inspections generally follow these steps:

  1. Notification: The business is typically notified in advance of the inspection.
  2. Document Review: Inspectors request and review relevant documents such as employment contracts, financial records, licenses, safety reports, etc.
  3. On-Site Inspection: Inspectors may conduct a physical examination of the workplace, interview employees, and observe processes.
  4. Report: The inspecting agency prepares a report outlining findings of compliance and any violations discovered.
  5. Corrective Action: Businesses are given a timeframe to address any identified non-compliance issues.


Compliance audits and inspections play a vital role in protecting worker rights, safeguarding public interest, ensuring fair competition, and upholding the rule of law. Labor inspections ensure the upholding of safe working conditions, fair wages, and non-discrimination. Sector-specific inspections help maintain standards for public health, environmental protection, and consumer safety. Audits and inspections promote a level playing field for businesses, preventing unfair advantages gained through non-compliance. Compliance mechanisms deter violations and foster a culture of respect for laws and regulations.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with regulations can result in significant consequences, including fines, administrative penalties such as the revocation of licenses or permits and temporary closure of business operations, corrective orders to remedy non-compliance issues within a specified timeframe, and in severe cases, criminal prosecution and potential imprisonment.

Reporting and whistleblower protections

Cabo Verde has mechanisms in place for reporting legal violations and offers some protections for whistleblowers. However, these protections are relatively limited compared to other jurisdictions.

Mechanisms for Reporting Violations

Cabo Verde has several avenues for reporting legal violations:

  • Government Agencies: Specific agencies handle reports of violations depending on the nature of the wrongdoing. For instance, the General Inspectorate of Labor (IGT) handles labor law violations, the Tax Authority (DGCI) handles tax-related violations, and sector-specific regulatory agencies handle violations pertaining to their area of oversight.
  • Ombudsman: This independent public entity receives complaints of abuses or injustices committed by public authorities.
  • Anti-Corruption Hotline: Some agencies may have dedicated hotlines for reporting corruption-related offenses.

Whistleblower Protections

Cabo Verde has some legal provisions in place to protect whistleblowers:

  • The Labor Code: Contains basic anti-retaliation provisions for employees who report labor law violations in good faith.
  • Law on Prevention and Fight Against Corruption (Law n°06-01 of February 20, 2006): Provides some protection for whistleblowers reporting corruption offenses.

However, these protections have limitations:

  • Narrow Scope: Legal protections are primarily focused on reporting labor violations and corruption. Whistleblowing on other types of violations may not be expressly protected.
  • Burden of Proof: Whistleblowers may need to prove they suffered retaliation specifically due to their whistleblowing action.
  • Weak Enforcement: There's a lack of robust enforcement mechanisms and clear procedures for whistleblowers to seek redress.

Practical Considerations

Whistleblowers should consider the following:

  • Confidentiality: Consider options for reporting anonymously or confidentially if concerned about potential repercussions.
  • Documentation: Gather and preserve any evidence supporting your claims to strengthen your report.
  • Internal Reporting: Explore your organization's internal reporting channels before escalating externally.
  • Legal Counsel: Consult an attorney specializing in whistleblower protection for guidance on navigating risks and safeguarding your rights.

Advocacy for Stronger Protections

Civil society organizations and international bodies, including the United Nations, advocate for strengthening whistleblower protection laws in Cabo Verde to align with international best practices.

International labor standards compliance

Cabo Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, has made strides in aligning its laws and practices with international labor standards. The country's commitment to treaties and conventions has significantly influenced its domestic labor policy.

Ratification of ILO Conventions

Cabo Verde has ratified several core International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that provide a foundation for upholding labor rights. These include conventions related to forced labor, child labor, discrimination, and fundamental rights.

Forced Labor

Cabo Verde has ratified the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105).

Child Labor

The country has also ratified the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182).


In terms of discrimination, Cabo Verde has ratified the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111).

Fundamental Rights

Cabo Verde has ratified the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).

The ratification of these core ILO conventions has significantly influenced Cabo Verde's domestic labor legislation. The Labor Code (Código Laboral) acts as the primary framework for regulating labor relations, setting forth terms for employment contracts, working hours, worker protections, occupational safety, and termination procedures. The Constitution of Cabo Verde reinforces fundamental labor rights, including freedom of association, the right to strike, freedom from forced labor, and the prohibition of child labor.

Areas of Compliance and Ongoing Challenges

While Cabo Verde has seen positive developments in adhering to international labor standards, challenges remain.

Compliance Areas

Regulations generally align with the minimum working ages established by ILO Conventions. The domestic legal framework prohibits forced labor in all its forms following the ratification of forced labor conventions. Cabo Verdean laws recognize workers' rights to form and join unions, as well as to engage in collective bargaining.

Challenges and Areas for Improvement

Despite legal prohibitions, instances of child labor continue, especially in informal sectors. Limited resources and capacity can hinder consistent enforcement of labor laws, especially in smaller or remote workplaces. Although discrimination is prohibited, gender disparities persist in the Cabo Verdean labor market.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

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