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Benefits and Entitlements Overview

Learn about mandatory and optional employee benefits in Eritrea

Mandatory benefits

In Eritrea, the labor law outlines several mandatory benefits that employers must provide to their employees. These benefits are designed to ensure a basic level of security and well-being for workers.

Eritrean employees are entitled to a minimum of 14 working days of annual leave with full pay after their first year of service. This entitlement increases by one day for each additional year of service, up to a maximum.

The specific entitlement to paid sick leave is not explicitly defined in Eritrean law. However, the Labour Proclamation does state that employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury are entitled to "leave with pay for a limited period" determined by a medical certificate.

Female employees are entitled to fully paid maternity leave for a period not specified in national legislation. However, regulations often set the duration at 3 months.

Other Mandatory Benefits

The law allows for a probationary period of up to 3 months, during which time termination of employment can occur with minimal notice.

Eritrean law mandates that overtime work be compensated at a rate of 150% of the normal wage.

Employees are entitled to breaks for relaxation and meals during working hours, though the specific duration is not mandated and should be determined based on the nature of the work.

Optional benefits

In Eritrea, employers often offer a variety of optional benefits to attract and retain talent. These benefits can range from healthcare to financial benefits and work-life balance initiatives.


Although not mandated, some Eritrean employers, particularly larger companies or those in urban areas, may provide health insurance plans to their employees.

Social Security

Eritrea has a national social security system, but participation is currently voluntary. Some employers might contribute towards employee enrollment in the social security system for retirement benefits.

Additional Leave

Employers may offer benefits beyond the mandated minimum leave, such as paternity leave or additional days of annual leave.

Financial Benefits

Some employers might provide allowances for housing, transportation, or meals. Performance-based bonuses or profit-sharing schemes can also be offered as incentives.

Work-Life Balance

Flexible work arrangements or remote work options may be provided by some employers, particularly in modern industries.

Health insurance requirements

In Eritrea, the labor law does not currently mandate that employers provide health insurance to their employees. However, the landscape of health insurance is evolving, and some employers are starting to offer it as a competitive benefit.

The Labour Proclamation of Eritrea (No. 118 of 2001) outlines various employee benefits but excludes health insurance.

Evolving Landscape and Potential Benefits

While not mandatory, health insurance is increasingly offered by some employers, particularly larger companies or those in urban areas. Offering health insurance can be a way for employers to attract and retain talent in a competitive job market.

Considerations for Employees

Employees seeking health insurance coverage should inquire directly with their employer or review their company handbook to determine if it's offered as a benefit. If health insurance isn't provided by the employer, employees can explore individual health insurance plans offered by private providers (availability may be limited).

Retirement plans

Eritrea's retirement landscape is currently undergoing development. While there's a national social security system, participation is voluntary, leaving many Eritrean workers to rely on alternative means for retirement income.

National Social Security System (NSS)

The Eritrean National Social Security System (NSS) was established in 1999, but participation remains voluntary for both employers and employees.

Benefits Offered by the NSS (if participating)

The specifics of the pension benefit are limited publicly available information, but it likely involves a portion of the contributions made during an individual's working years. Information on additional benefits such as disability or survivor pensions is scarce. It's advisable to consult the NSS directly for details (if considering participation).

Considerations for Retirement Planning

Details regarding contribution requirements, benefit calculations, and the overall health of the NSS are not readily available publicly. Given the voluntary nature of the NSS, many Eritrean workers may need to consider alternative strategies for retirement planning. This could involve:

  • Personal Savings: Building a personal savings plan throughout one's working life is crucial.
  • Informal Support Systems: Family networks often play a significant role in supporting Eritrean retirees.
  • Employer-provided Plans: While uncommon, some employers might offer private pension plans as a benefit.
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