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Employment Agreement Essentials

Understand the key elements of employment contracts in Eritrea

Types of employment agreements

In Eritrea, employment law recognizes several types of employment agreements, each with specific characteristics as outlined in the Labour Proclamation of Eritrea No. 118 of 2001.

Contract of Employment

The standard agreement between an employer and an employee is known as a Contract of Employment. This contract can be for:

  • A definite period (fixed term)
  • An indefinite period (open-ended)
  • A specific project
  • Intermittent or periodic work

Although the contract can be oral or written, a written document in Tigrinya, the local language, is recommended for clarity and enforceability.

Apprenticeship Contract

An Apprenticeship Contract involves an apprentice receiving training and practical experience from an employer while earning a stipend.

Collective Agreement

A Collective Agreement is a written agreement between an employer (or group of employers) and employee representatives. This agreement, typically established through collective bargaining, outlines working conditions, benefits, rights, and obligations for both parties.

Essential clauses

Eritrean employment agreements should clearly identify the employer and employee by name and title. It's important to specify the type of employment and outline the employee's job title, duties, and responsibilities.

Remuneration and Benefits

The employee's wage or salary, including any allowances, bonuses, and overtime pay, should be clearly stated. Any benefits offered, such as health insurance, paid leave, and social security contributions, should also be specified.

Working Hours and Overtime

The standard workweek, daily working hours, and rest periods should be defined. Procedures for overtime work, compensation rates, and limitations (if any) should be established.

Leave Entitlements

The employee's entitlement to annual leave, sick leave, and other forms of leave, following Eritrean labor law minimums, should be specified.


The grounds for termination by either party, following legal requirements for notice periods and severance pay, should be outlined.

Dispute Resolution

The process for resolving any disagreements arising from the employment agreement should be established. This may involve internal procedures or recourse to the Eritrean labor courts.

Probationary period

In Eritrea, the labor law permits employers to incorporate a probationary period into employment contracts. This initial phase acts as a trial period for both the employer and the employee to evaluate each other's suitability.

Maximum Duration

The probationary period in Eritrea is legally limited to a maximum of 90 days. This restriction ensures a fair and balanced evaluation period.

Contractual Specification

The probationary period, including its duration, should be explicitly specified in the written employment contract.

Employee Rights During Probation

Probationary employees are entitled to most of the same rights and protections as permanent staff, with a few exceptions:

  • Compensation for Unjustified Termination: During the probationary period, Eritrean law does not mandate employers to provide compensation if they dismiss an employee deemed unsuitable for the job.
  • Termination Notice: Probationary employees can terminate their employment without giving any notice.

Transitioning from Probation

An employee who successfully completes the probation period, by continuing to work beyond the stipulated 90 days, is considered confirmed in the position and entitled to all benefits outlined in the employment contract.

Confidentiality and non compete clauses

In Eritrea, the Labour Proclamation of Eritrea No. 118 of 2001 doesn't explicitly address confidentiality and non-compete clauses in employment agreements. However, these clauses can foster trust and protect legitimate business interests for both employers and employees.

Confidentiality Clauses

Confidentiality clauses aim to protect an employer's sensitive information, such as trade secrets, client lists, or proprietary data. Incorporating a well-defined confidentiality clause, although not mandated by law, strengthens an employer's position in safeguarding valuable information.

Key Elements: The clause should clearly define confidential information, the employee's obligations regarding its handling and disclosure, and the duration of confidentiality obligations (which may extend beyond employment termination).

Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses restrict an employee's ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business after leaving the company. Eritrean labor law's focus on ensuring fair treatment for employees raises questions about the enforceability of such clauses.

Potential Limitations: Eritrean courts might view overly broad non-compete clauses as an unreasonable restriction on an employee's ability to earn a living.


Confidentiality Clauses: Employers can utilize well-drafted confidentiality clauses to protect legitimate business interests. Consulting with an Eritrean labor lawyer is recommended to ensure the clause complies with Eritrean legal principles.

Non-Compete Clauses: The enforceability of non-compete clauses in Eritrea remains unclear. Employers seeking to restrict post-employment activities should consult with legal counsel to assess the feasibility and potential limitations of such clauses.

Alternative Approaches

Non-Solicitation Clauses: These clauses restrict employees from soliciting the employer's clients or employees after leaving the company. Eritrean courts might be more receptive to such clauses as they focus on protecting business relationships rather than the employee's ability to find work.

Invention Assignment Clauses: These clauses clarify ownership of intellectual property created by the employee during their employment. This approach protects the employer's rights to inventions stemming from the employment relationship.

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