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Cabo Verde

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Cabo Verde


In Cabo Verde, the termination of employment contracts is governed by a comprehensive legal framework, as outlined in the Labour Code (Código Laboral). This framework sets the standards for dismissal, notice periods, and severance entitlements.

Grounds for Dismissal

Employment contracts in Cabo Verde can be terminated on either objective or subjective grounds:

Objective Grounds

  • Economic or Market Reasons: Termination due to economic downturn, restructuring, or technological advancements affecting the business is permitted.
  • Extinction of the Job: The job itself may become redundant or unnecessary, leading to lawful termination.

Subjective Grounds

  • Worker Misconduct: Serious breaches of contract, insubordination, or negligence by the employee may justify termination.
  • Worker Inability: If an employee persistently demonstrates inability to perform their duties, the employer may terminate the contract.

Notice Requirements

Specific notice periods are mandated in Cabo Verde prior to termination, and these vary based on the type of contract and length of service:

  • Fixed-Term Contracts: These contracts usually terminate upon expiration without requiring additional notice, unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract.
  • Indefinite-Term Contracts: Minimum notice periods are determined by the employee's length of service:
    • Less than 6 months service: 15 days notice.
    • 6 months to 2 years service: 30 days notice.
    • Over 2 years service: 60 days notice.

Severance Pay

Employees under indefinite-term contracts are entitled to severance pay upon termination, except in cases of dismissal for serious misconduct. The severance pay amount is calculated as follows:

  • Objective Dismissal: Severance pay is equivalent to 30 days of basic salary for each year of service.
  • Subjective Dismissal Due to Worker Inability: Severance pay is reduced to 15 days of basic salary for each year of service.

It's important to note that collective bargaining agreements may provide for more favorable severance or notice terms than those outlined in the Labour Code.


Cabo Verde has a robust legal framework in place to combat discrimination and foster equality in the workplace and broader society. The Constitution and Labor Code of the country prohibit discrimination on various grounds, with employers playing a pivotal role in upholding these rights.

Protected Characteristics

Cabo Verde's anti-discrimination laws protect individuals from discrimination based on several characteristics:

  • Race and Ethnicity: Discrimination based on a person's race, color, descent, or national origin is strictly prohibited.
  • Gender: Equal treatment of men and women in all aspects of employment is guaranteed by the Constitution and Labour Code.
  • Religion: Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right, and discrimination based on an individual's religious affiliation is not allowed.
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited.
  • Disability: Cabo Verde upholds the rights of persons with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination and promoting inclusion.
  • Health Status (HIV/AIDS): Discrimination on the basis of HIV status or other communicable diseases is unlawful.

Redress Mechanisms

Victims of discrimination in Cabo Verde have several options for seeking redress and holding perpetrators accountable:

  • National Commission for Human Rights and Citizenship (CNDHC): This independent body investigates discrimination complaints and can mediate disputes or provide legal aid.
  • Labor Inspectorate: Employees can file complaints with the Labor Inspectorate regarding workplace discrimination.
  • Judicial System: Individuals can pursue legal action in the courts to seek remedies for discrimination, including compensation.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Cabo Verde have a central role in creating a discrimination-free workplace. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Anti-Discrimination Policy: Developing and implementing a clear policy outlining the company's commitment to non-discrimination and a zero-tolerance approach to discriminatory behavior.
  • Training and Awareness: Providing regular training to employees on anti-discrimination laws, recognizing forms of discrimination, and building an inclusive work culture.
  • Grievance Procedures: Establishing robust procedures for employees to report discrimination incidents, ensuring prompt and impartial investigations.
  • Proactive Measures: Taking proactive steps to promote diversity and inclusion in recruitment, promotion, and employee development opportunities.

Employers in Cabo Verde, by championing anti-discrimination principles, contribute to creating fairer workplaces and a more equitable society.

Working conditions

Cabo Verde's Labour Code sets the standards for working conditions to promote employee well-being and safety. It covers key aspects such as work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements.

Work Hours

Cabo Verde establishes limitations on working hours to prevent overwork and ensure sufficient rest for employees. The standard workweek in Cabo Verde is 44 hours, typically spread across five or six days. Generally, employees cannot work more than 8 hours per day. Overtime work is permitted but regulated. It cannot exceed 2 hours per day or 160 hours per year, with a potential increase to 300 hours with the employee's written consent.

Rest Periods

Cabo Verdean workers are entitled to rest periods to ensure optimal performance and reduce fatigue. Employees must have at least one uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours per week, typically on Sunday. The law mandates daily breaks, although the specific duration may vary depending on industry and workload. Workers are entitled to at least 22 working days of paid annual leave, with exceptions based on the type of employment.

Ergonomic Requirements

While Cabo Verde doesn't have extensively detailed ergonomic regulations, the Labor Code places a general obligation on employers to ensure workplace safety and health. Employers are expected to implement measures to minimize the risk of work-related accidents and injuries, potentially including ergonomic considerations. They are also required to provide a work environment that promotes the general safety, health, and well-being of employees.

Sector-specific regulations or collective bargaining agreements might provide more detailed stipulations regarding working conditions and ergonomics. Adherence to these standards fosters a healthier and more productive workforce.

Health and safety

Cabo Verde has a comprehensive framework for worker well-being, as outlined in the Labour Code. This framework covers Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulations, including employer obligations, employee rights, and enforcement mechanisms.

Employer Obligations

Employers in Cabo Verde are responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Key obligations include:

  • Compliance: Employers must adhere to all health and safety regulations established by the Cabo Verdean government.
  • Risk Assessments: Regular risk assessments are required to identify potential hazards within the workplace. These assessments should be documented and reviewed periodically.
  • Preventive Measures: Employers must implement preventive measures based on the risk assessments. This may involve providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), establishing safe work procedures, and offering safety training to employees.
  • Safe Work Practices: Employers are responsible for ensuring safe work practices are followed by all employees. This may involve clear guidelines on machine operation, handling hazardous materials, and proper lifting techniques.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers must report all workplace accidents and illnesses to the relevant authorities and conduct investigations to prevent future occurrences.

Employee Rights

The Labour Code also grants Cabo Verdean employees rights in relation to occupational safety and health:

  • Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Information and Training: Employees have the right to be informed about potential hazards associated with their work and receive proper training on safe work practices. This training should be provided in a language they understand.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work that they reasonably believe presents an imminent danger to their health or safety. This right should be exercised responsibly and reported to the appropriate authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The Ministry of Labour and Employment, along with the Labour Inspectorate, are responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health regulations in Cabo Verde. Inspectors have the authority to:

  • Conduct workplace inspections to identify safety hazards and non-compliance issues.
  • Issue citations and impose penalties on employers who violate OSH regulations.
  • Order employers to rectify identified hazards to ensure worker safety.
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