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Equatorial Guinea

Employment Agreement Essentials

Understand the key elements of employment contracts in Equatorial Guinea

Types of employment agreements

In Equatorial Guinea, labor law permits two primary types of employment contracts.

Fixed-Term Contracts (Limited Duration)

Fixed-term contracts, also known as limited duration contracts, have a predetermined start and end date. These contracts are suitable for temporary positions or projects that have a specific timeframe.

Indefinite-Term Contracts (Unlimited Duration)

Indefinite-term contracts, also known as unlimited contracts, are continuous employment arrangements with no specified end date. These contracts offer more stability for the employee and are typically used for permanent positions.

Essential clauses

Equatorial Guinea's National Labor Law (Law No. 2/1990) provides the basis for employment contracts. To ensure a comprehensive and legally sound agreement, several essential clauses should be included.

Parties to the Agreement

The employer and employee should be clearly identified by name, along with their respective legal entities (if applicable). Contact information for both parties should also be included.

Type of Contract

The agreement should specify whether it is a fixed-term or indefinite-term contract. If it's a fixed-term contract, the start and end date should be clearly outlined.

Job Description and Duties

The employee's job title should be detailed, outlining their primary responsibilities and duties. The department or section to which the employee is assigned should also be specified.

Compensation and Benefits

The employee's base salary and any additional compensation (e.g., bonuses, overtime pay) should be outlined. The benefits package should be detailed, including information on health insurance, vacation time, and sick leave (if offered).

Work Schedule and Hours

The standard workweek should be defined, including the number of daily and weekly working hours. The agreement should adhere to the limitations set forth in the National Labor Law (Article 48), which restricts the workday to eight hours and the workweek to 48 hours for regular shifts. If applicable, details concerning flexible work arrangements or shift work should be outlined.

Termination Clause

The grounds for termination by either party should be specified, following the guidelines set forth in Article 81 of the National Labor Law. The required notice period for termination by both employer and employee should be outlined. Any severance pay or compensation due in the case of termination should be addressed.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

Clauses protecting the employer's confidential information and intellectual property rights should be included. The limitations on the employee's use of such information and property should be defined.

Dispute Resolution

The process for resolving any disagreements arising from the employment contract should be established. This may involve internal mediation or recourse to the judicial system of Equatorial Guinea.

Probationary period

In Equatorial Guinea, labor law does not specify a mandatory probationary period for employment contracts. However, employers are free to include a probationary clause at their discretion.

Duration of Probationary Period

Employers can set a probationary period as they see fit, typically ranging from 3 to 6 months. There is no legal restriction on the maximum duration of this period.

Probationary Period Objectives

The probationary period serves as an opportunity for employers to evaluate the employee's skills, work ethic, and suitability for the role. It also allows employees to adapt to the new work environment and company culture.

Contract Termination During Probation

During the probationary period, the employment contract can be terminated by either the employer or the employee with a shorter notice period than the rest of the employment term. The notice period for termination during probation is typically just 3 days.

Important Factors to Consider

While probationary periods are legal, they must be fair and reasonable. The terms of the probationary period, including its duration and termination procedures, should be clearly outlined in the employment contract.

Confidentiality and non compete clauses

In Equatorial Guinea, employment agreements may contain clauses designed to protect the employer's confidential information and intellectual property. However, regulations concerning non-compete clauses are not as extensive.

Confidentiality Clauses

Employers have a legitimate interest in protecting their confidential business information, trade secrets, and client data. To restrict employee access and use of such information, confidentiality clauses can be incorporated into employment contracts.

These clauses should clearly define:

  • The types of information deemed confidential (e.g., customer lists, formulas, marketing strategies).
  • The restrictions on how employees can use or disclose this information (e.g., prohibition on sharing with competitors).
  • The duration of the confidentiality obligations, which may extend beyond the termination of employment.

While there's no specific law solely on confidentiality clauses, Equatorial Guinea's general contractual principles and the duty of loyalty can be invoked to enforce these clauses.

Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses, a type of restrictive covenant, limit an employee's ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business after leaving the company. However, Equatorial Guinea's labor law does not explicitly address non-compete clauses.

The legal enforceability of non-compete clauses remains untested in Equatorial Guinea's courts. Some legal experts believe that due to the right to work enshrined in the Constitution, broad non-compete clauses may be considered excessive restrictions on an employee's ability to earn a living.

Given the legal uncertainty, employers should exercise caution when including non-compete clauses. If included, they should be narrowly tailored to protect legitimate business interests and limited geographically and temporally.

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