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Equatorial Guinea

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Equatorial Guinea


In Equatorial Guinea, the National Labor Law (Law Num. 2/1990) is the primary legislation that governs employment relationships. This law includes key articles that outline the rules and procedures for terminating employment.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employment contracts in Equatorial Guinea can be terminated for the following valid reasons:

  • End of Contract: Both fixed-term and indefinite contracts naturally end when their term expires, unless renewed.
  • Economic, Technological, Structural, or Similar Reasons: Companies may terminate employees due to economic downturn, technological advancements making roles obsolete, or organizational restructuring. These reasons must be proven and communicated to employees at least 3 months in advance (Article 83, National Labor Law).
  • Employee's Incompetence or Misconduct: An employee may be dismissed due to a demonstrable inability to perform their duties, or violations of workplace rules and policies.
  • Force Majeure: Unforeseeable events outside of the employer's and employee's control, such as natural disasters, may necessitate termination.

Notice Requirements

The notice periods depend on the grounds for termination and the employee's job category:

  • Probationary Period: During the trial period (up to 90 days), either party can terminate the contract with 3 days' notice.
  • Valid Reasons (Economic, etc.): At least three months' notice is generally required (Article 83, National Labor Law).
  • Disciplinary Dismissal: Specific notice periods might depend on the severity of the misconduct.

Severance Pay

Employees dismissed due to economic, technological, structural, or similar reasons are entitled to severance pay. This amounts to 45 days' pay for each year of service.

Important Considerations

  • Labor Delegate: Employers must inform the labor delegate of their reasons for termination in advance (Article 83, National Labor Law).
  • Written Communication: Termination and its justification should always be conveyed to the employee in writing to avoid disputes.


Equatorial Guinea has some anti-discrimination laws in place, but their enforcement can be inconsistent and gaps in legal protection remain. The existing framework is not comprehensive or clearly defined.

Protected Characteristics

Key areas where discrimination is addressed include:

  • Gender: The Constitution of Equatorial Guinea proclaims the equality of men and women. However, significant gender disparities remain in practice.
  • Disability: The law offers limited protection to individuals with disabilities, but implementation and enforcement are weak.
  • Ethnic Minorities: Members of minority ethnic groups, particularly those from the island of Annobón, often face discrimination.
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: No explicit legal protections exist for LGBTQIA+ individuals, who often experience discrimination and prejudice.

Redress Mechanisms

Legal options for addressing discrimination are limited and often ineffective in Equatorial Guinea. Discrimination complaints based on gender or other factors can theoretically be brought before labor tribunals. However, these tribunals often lack capacity and independence. Individuals may be able to file cases with the Constitutional Court regarding rights violations, but the Court's independence is frequently questioned. Equatorial Guinea has a National Human Rights Commission, but its effectiveness in addressing discrimination issues is limited.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Equatorial Guinea have a general responsibility to avoid discrimination in their practices. However, specific guidelines and regulations are weak. Employers should strive to ensure that recruitment and promotion are based on merit rather than discriminatory factors. The law offers some provisions for accommodating workers with disabilities, but these are rarely enforced in practice. It's recommended that employers develop internal policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, along with mechanisms for reporting and addressing violations.

Important Considerations

Legal protections against discrimination are limited and inadequately enforced in Equatorial Guinea. Individuals facing discrimination may encounter significant hurdles in seeking justice through the legal system. Societal prejudice and discrimination remain barriers for protected groups, particularly women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Working conditions

In Equatorial Guinea, some baseline standards for working conditions have been established, although enforcement can sometimes be lax.

Work Hours

The typical workweek in Equatorial Guinea is 40 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours per day. However, variations might occur depending on the industry or specific employment contracts. Overtime work exceeding 40 hours is permitted, with limitations. Overtime cannot surpass 10 hours daily and 48 hours weekly. Overtime pay is mandated: 130% of regular wages for the first four hours, and 160% for subsequent hours.

Rest Periods

There's a requirement for a rest break during the workday in Equatorial Guinea, though the specific duration isn't explicitly stated in legal codes. Workers are also entitled to one day of rest per week, typically Sunday.

Ergonomic Requirements

Equatorial Guinea's labor code includes some general provisions for workplace safety and health, but specific ergonomic regulations are scarce. The law mentions that employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. There are regulations concerning occupational hazards and accidents. However, details regarding ergonomic considerations like workstation design or proper lifting techniques are not explicitly outlined.

Important to Note

Enforcement of workplace safety and health regulations can be weak in Equatorial Guinea. Employees might need to be proactive in advocating for ergonomic improvements in their workplaces.

Health and safety

Equatorial Guinea has established a framework for health and safety (H&S) regulations in workplaces. However, enforcement remains a challenge. This guide explores employer obligations, employee rights, and the enforcement landscape.

Employer Obligations

The primary responsibility for workplace health and safety falls on employers as outlined in Law No. 2/1990 on the General Labour System. Here are key employer obligations:

  • Safe Work Environment: Employers must provide a work environment free from foreseeable hazards that could cause accidents or occupational illnesses.
  • Risk Assessments: Employers should conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement corrective measures.
  • Preventative Measures: Employers have a duty to take preventative measures to minimize and control risks, including providing personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary.
  • Training and Information: Workers must be adequately trained on safety procedures and informed about potential risks associated with their jobs.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers must report workplace accidents and illnesses and conduct investigations to prevent future occurrences.

Employee Rights

Equatorial Guinea's labor law grants employees rights regarding health and safety in the workplace:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable hazards.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive information and training on safety procedures and potential risks associated with their work.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees can refuse work they believe is unsafe or poses a health risk.
  • Right to Report Violations: Employees have the right to report violations of health and safety regulations to the relevant authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) is the primary agency responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in Equatorial Guinea. They achieve this through:

  • Workplace Inspections: MLSS inspectors conduct inspections to verify compliance with health and safety standards.
  • Issuing Citations and Fines: In cases of non-compliance, the MLSS can issue citations and impose fines on employers.

It's important to note that:

  • Enforcement can be weak due to limited resources and capacity within the MLSS.
  • Workers' organizations play a vital role in advocating for improved H&S standards and holding employers accountable.
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