Rivermate | Cameroon flag


Employment Agreement Essentials

Understand the key elements of employment contracts in Cameroon

Types of employment agreements

In Cameroon, the labor code outlines two main categories of employment agreements.

Contract of Indefinite Duration (CDI - Contrat à Durée Indéterminée)

A CDI is an open-ended employment contract with no predefined termination date. This offers greater job security for the employee.

Contract of Specified Duration (CDD - Contrat à Durée Déterminée)

A CDD is a fixed-term employment contract with a specific end date tied to the completion of a project or the replacement of an absent employee. However, there are limitations:

  • Written Form Requirement: Fixed-term contracts exceeding three months or requiring employee relocation must be in writing and submitted to the local labor inspector.
  • Renewal Restrictions: Certain CDDs cannot be renewed, including those tied to a specific task's completion or contingent on a future event.

Cameroon also recognizes two specific types of CDDs:

Temporary Job Contract

Designed to replace absent employees, cover maternity leave, or handle temporary workloads. These contracts are limited to 3 months, renewable once per year for the same company.

Occasional Job Contract

Suited for unexpected business surges or urgent repairs. These contracts address short-term needs and are not renewable.

Essential clauses

Employment agreements in Cameroon, although not obligatory to be in written form, provide a robust layer of protection for both employers and employees. A well-structured agreement guarantees clarity on expectations and minimizes the potential for misunderstandings. Here are the essential clauses to include, with reference to the Cameroon Labour Code:

Identification and Start of Employment

  • Parties Involved: Clearly state the full legal names and addresses of both the employer (individual or company) and the employee.
  • Start Date and Place: Indicate the specific date and location where employment begins.

Job Details and Remuneration

  • Job Title and Description: Outline the employee's job title and provide a clear description of their duties and responsibilities.
  • Compensation: Specify the employee's wage or salary, including calculation methods and frequency of payment (e.g., monthly).
  • Benefits: Detail any benefits offered, such as health insurance, paid leave allowances (including public holidays), and overtime pay structures (if applicable).

Term and Termination

  • Contract Type: Indicate whether the employment is fixed-term (specify end date) or indefinite.
  • Notice Periods: Outline the required notice period for termination by either party, adhering to Cameroon's Labour Code provisions.
  • Termination Clauses: Include clear guidelines for termination due to misconduct, redundancy, or other justifiable reasons, following legal requirements.

Additional Considerations

  • Confidentiality: If applicable, include a clause outlining confidentiality obligations regarding the employer's sensitive information or trade secrets.
  • Intellectual Property: Specify ownership rights over any intellectual property created by the employee during their course of employment.
  • Dispute Resolution: Establish a process for resolving any disagreements arising from the employment contract, such as mediation or arbitration.

It's crucial to ensure the employment agreement adheres to Cameroon's Labour Code. Consulting with a legal professional familiar with Cameroonian employment law is highly recommended for drafting a comprehensive and legally sound agreement.

Probationary period

In Cameroon, the probationary period is a common practice used to evaluate an employee's suitability for a position before they transition to a permanent role.

Legality and Requirements

The Cameroonian Labour Code (Section 28(1)) acknowledges probationary periods but offers limited specific regulations.

Duration Limits

The standard maximum probationary period in Cameroon is six months, including any renewals. For managerial positions, the probationary period can be extended to a maximum of eight months.

Key Points to Remember

The probationary period must be clearly defined in a written employment agreement. Both the employer and the employee must agree to the terms of the probationary period. This period serves for evaluating the employee's skills, performance, and fit within the company culture. A probationary period can be renewed once with the employee's written consent before the initial period ends.

Considerations During Probation

Employers should establish a clear performance evaluation process during the probation to assess the employee's progress. Regular feedback throughout the probation is crucial for the employee's development and understanding of expectations.

The probationary period is a trial period for both parties. Employers can assess suitability, while employees can determine if the role aligns with their career goals.

Confidentiality and non compete clauses

Employment agreements in Cameroon can incorporate confidentiality and non-compete clauses to safeguard the employer's legitimate business interests. However, these interests are balanced with the employee's right to work and compete freely under Cameroonian law.

Confidentiality Clauses

Confidentiality clauses, also known as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), are legally recognized in Cameroon. They are designed to protect the employer's confidential information, such as trade secrets, client lists, or marketing strategies, from unauthorized disclosure by the employee.

While there's no specific legislation governing NDAs in employment contracts, general contract law principles apply. The key elements of a valid confidentiality clause in Cameroon include:

  • Definition of Confidential Information: The clause should clearly define what constitutes confidential information.
  • Scope of Obligations: The clause should outline the employee's obligations regarding maintaining confidentiality, such as not sharing the information with unauthorized parties or using it for personal gain.
  • Duration: The clause should specify the duration for which the confidentiality obligations apply, even after the employment ends.

Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses limit an employee's ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business after leaving the company. Cameroonian law takes a balanced approach to non-compete clauses:

  • Employee Rights: The Labour Code recognizes the employee's right to work freely.
  • Employer's Interests: Employers have a legitimate interest in protecting their clientele and know-how.

To be enforceable, a non-compete clause in Cameroon must meet specific conditions:

  • Reasonable Scope: The clause's restrictions on the employee's ability to compete must be reasonable in terms of geographic area, duration, and activities covered.
  • Compensation: The employer must provide financial compensation to the employee for the limitations imposed by the non-compete clause.

If a non-compete clause does not meet these requirements, it may be deemed unenforceable by a court.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

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