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Congo (Democratic Republic of the)

Termination and Severance Policies

Learn about the legal processes for employee termination and severance in Congo (Democratic Republic of the)

Notice period

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), specific notice periods are required for both employers and employees initiating employment termination. These periods are stipulated in the Labor Code (Article 64) and depend on the employee's category and length of service.

Notice Periods for Employers

The minimum notice period an employer must provide an employee upon termination is 14 working days. This base period increases by 7 days for each year of continuous service rendered by the employee. For example, if an employee has worked for a company for 5 years, the employer must give them written notice at least 49 days (14 days + (7 days/year * 5 years)) before their official termination date.

There are exceptions to this rule. A Ministerial Order establishes differentiated notice periods for specific employee categories:

  • Workers in Categories 1-5 (ranging from unskilled to highly skilled workers): The standard Labor Code notice period applies (14 days + 7 days/year of service).
  • First-line Supervisors ("agents de maîtrise"): The minimum notice period is 1 month, increasing by 9 days for each completed year of service.

Notice Periods for Employees

An employee wishing to resign must also provide written notice to their employer. The required notice period for employees is half the period the employer would be required to give for termination of the same contract by the employer. However, the employee's notice period cannot exceed the employer's mandated notice period. For instance, an employee with 3 years of service would be required to provide 28 days' notice (half of the employer's 42 days' notice period).

Key Points

  • Employers in the DRC must provide written notice to employees before termination, with the minimum period varying based on the employee's length of service.
  • Specific employee categories may have different notice period requirements as defined by Ministerial Orders.
  • Employees must also provide written notice for resignation, with the duration being half of the employer's required notice period, capped at the employer's notice timeframe.

Severance pay

Severance pay entitlements in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are governed by specific labor laws.

Who Qualifies for Severance Pay

In the DRC, employees are entitled to severance pay under certain circumstances as outlined in the labor code.

  • Open-Ended Contracts (CDI): Employees with indefinite employment contracts (CDI) who are dismissed without just cause are eligible for severance pay. Just cause for dismissal is defined in the labor code and can include factors like employee misconduct, poor performance, or redundancy due to company restructuring.
  • Fixed-Term Contracts (CDD): There is no legal entitlement to severance pay for termination of fixed-term contracts (CDD) upon their expiry date.

How Severance Pay is Calculated

The amount of severance pay an employee receives in the DRC depends on their salary and length of service:

  • Maximum Limit: The severance pay cannot exceed 36 months of the employee's last salary. For example, if an employee's monthly salary is 1,000 USD and they are terminated without cause after 5 years of service, their severance pay would be capped at 36 months' salary (1,000 USD/month * 36 months = 36,000 USD).
  • Note: There is no official formula for calculating severance pay within the legal limit. In practice, the amount is likely determined through negotiation between the employer and employee, considering factors like the employee's tenure and reason for dismissal.

Additional Considerations

When an employment contract terminates, employers are obligated to pay employees for any unused vacation leave.

Termination process

Terminating an employee's contract in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) follows specific procedures outlined in the labor code.

Grounds for Termination

Employers can terminate an employment contract under two main conditions:

  • For Cause: When an employee commits a serious offense as defined in the labor code, such as theft, insubordination, or habitual absenteeism.

  • Without Cause: When the employer initiates the termination due to reasons not related to the employee's performance or misconduct. This can include economic reasons, company restructuring, or redundancy.

  • Important Note: Discrimination based on factors like race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited as grounds for termination.

Special Considerations

  • Labor Inspector Approval: Mandatory approval from the Labor Inspector is required before dismissing employee representatives (union officials).

  • Pregnant Women: There's no legal provision for extended notice periods for pregnant women or those on maternity leave. However, termination solely based on pregnancy is prohibited.

Reporting Requirements

The employer must report any termination, regardless of cause, to the regional office of the Labor Inspectorate and the National Employment Agency within 48 hours.

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