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Cabo Verde

Freelancing and Independent Contracting

Understand the distinctions and regulations for freelancers in Cabo Verde

Difference employees and contractors

In Cabo Verde, the labor law framework differentiates between employees and contractors. This distinction is crucial for businesses operating in the country as it determines tax obligations, social security contributions, and worker rights.


Employees are subject to the employer's control regarding work hours, methods, and location. On the other hand, contractors have greater autonomy in how they perform the work.


Employees rely on the employer for their livelihood and typically receive a fixed salary. In contrast, contractors have their own businesses or provide services to multiple clients, and their income is not dependent on a single entity.

Integration into the Business

Employees are an integral part of the employer's business and typically use the employer's tools and equipment. Conversely, contractors use their own tools and equipment and are not integrated into the daily operations of the business.

The Cabo Verde Labor Code serves as the primary legal reference for employment relationships. It defines the concept of a work contract, outlines the employer's obligations towards employees, including salary payment, social security contributions, and paid leave, and establishes employee rights, including minimum wage, working hours, and occupational health and safety.

Contractor relationships, on the other hand, are generally governed by civil law principles enshrined in the Cabo Verde Civil Code.

It's important to remember that these are general guidelines. In some cases, the distinction between employee and contractor can be blurry. If you're unsure about the classification of a worker, it's advisable to consult with a lawyer specializing in Cabo Verde labor law to avoid any legal or financial repercussions.

Independent contracting

Independent contracting offers a flexible work arrangement for both businesses and skilled individuals in Cabo Verde. Understanding contract structures, negotiation practices, and prevalent industries utilizing independent contractors is crucial for navigating this landscape.

Contract Structures

Cabo Verdean law doesn't prescribe a specific format for independent contractor agreements. However, for clarity and protection, it's recommended to have a written contract outlining the key terms. Here are some crucial elements to consider:

  • Scope of Work: Clearly define the services to be provided, deliverables, and expected timeline.
  • Compensation: Specify the payment terms, including amount, method of payment, and milestones for payment triggers.
  • Term and Termination: Outline the contract duration, termination clauses for both parties, and any notice period required.
  • Confidentiality: Include provisions to safeguard sensitive information.

Negotiation Practices

Negotiating a fair and comprehensive independent contractor agreement in Cabo Verde requires effective communication:

  • Clarity of Expectations: Clearly communicate project goals, deliverables, and timelines to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Compensation Discussion: Research average rates for similar services in Cabo Verde to establish a fair compensation baseline. Be prepared to negotiate based on your skills and experience.
  • Payment Terms: Negotiate payment terms that are favorable for both parties. Consider milestone-based payments or a combination of upfront and completion-based payments.
  • Dispute Resolution: Establish a process for resolving any disagreements that may arise during the project.

Consulting with a lawyer experienced in Cabo Verdean contract law can be beneficial, especially for complex projects.

Common Industries for Independent Contractors

Several industries in Cabo Verde frequently utilize independent contractors:

  • Information Technology (IT): Web developers, programmers, and IT security specialists are in high demand for project-based work.
  • Tourism and Hospitality: Freelance tour guides, translators, and event planners contribute significantly to the tourism sector.
  • Creative Industries: Graphic designers, writers, and photographers often work on a freelance basis for various clients.
  • Marketing and Communications: Marketing consultants, social media specialists, and copywriters can be engaged for specific projects.

Understanding the legal framework, contract structures, and negotiation practices can help businesses and independent contractors establish mutually beneficial working relationships in Cabo Verde.

Intellectual property rights

Freelancers and independent contractors in Cabo Verde generate valuable intellectual property (IP) during their work. It's essential to understand the ownership and protection of this IP to secure their creative output and ensure appropriate compensation.

Ownership of IP

Cabo Verde follows the "work made for hire" doctrine as per the Civil Code of Cabo Verde, Article 1204. This principle generally assigns ownership of IP created by an independent contractor to the client unless a written agreement explicitly states otherwise.

Here's a breakdown of ownership scenarios:

  • Default Scenario: Without a written agreement, the client automatically owns the IP rights to work products created by the freelancer.
  • Contractual Override: A well-drafted contract can specify that the freelancer retains ownership of specific IP (e.g., copyright to source code) while granting the client a license to use it for the project.

Recommendation: Freelancers should always have a written contract that clearly addresses IP ownership. This protects their rights and ensures they are fairly compensated for their creative contributions.

Protecting IP Rights

Freelancers can use several strategies to protect their IP in Cabo Verde:

  • Copyright: Registering copyrights with the National Registry of Intellectual Property provides legal recourse in case of infringement as per the Intellectual Property Law, Article 54.
  • Trademarks: For logos or brand names, trademark registration offers protection against unauthorized use as per the Intellectual Property Law, Article 134.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): NDAs prevent clients from sharing the freelancer's confidential information or trade secrets.

By implementing these measures, freelancers can safeguard their intellectual property and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Note: Consulting with an IP lawyer familiar with Cabo Verdean law is highly recommended for complex intellectual property matters.

Tax and insurance

Freelancing in Cabo Verde comes with specific tax responsibilities and insurance options. Understanding these obligations allows independent contractors to navigate their financial landscape effectively.

Tax Obligations for Freelancers

Freelancers in Cabo Verde are considered self-employed and are subject to income tax (Imposto sobre o Rendimento das Pessoas Singulares - IRS). Here's a breakdown of the key tax considerations:

  • Registration: Freelancers must register with the Cabo Verdean Tax Authority (Direção Geral das Receitas - DGR).
  • Tax Filing: They are required to file annual income tax returns declaring their earnings and expenses.
  • Tax Rates: Progressive income tax rates apply, with higher income earners paying a larger percentage of their income in taxes (Código do Imposto sobre o Rendimento das Pessoas Singulares [Income Tax Code for Individuals]).
  • Social Security Contributions: While not mandatory for freelancers, opting into the social security system allows access to benefits like pensions and healthcare (Instituto Nacional de Previdência Social - INPS).

Insurance Options for Freelancers

Insurance can provide valuable financial protection for freelancers in Cabo Verde:

  • Health Insurance: Public health coverage is available, but private health insurance offers broader access to healthcare services.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: This protects freelancers from financial losses if a client sues for negligence or errors in their work.
  • Life and Disability Insurance: These provide financial security in case of illness, injury, or death, ensuring income continuity.

Freelancers should assess their individual needs and risk tolerance when choosing insurance options. Consulting with a financial advisor can be beneficial for creating a personalized insurance plan.

Tax laws and regulations are subject to change. It's advisable for freelancers to stay updated on the latest tax requirements by consulting the Cabo Verdean Tax Authority or seeking professional guidance from a tax advisor.

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