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Vacation and Leave Policies

Understand the regulations on vacation and other types of leave in Ethiopia

Holiday leave

In Ethiopia, the Labor Proclamation (No. 1156/2019) outlines the rights of employees regarding vacation leave.

Minimum Vacation Entitlement

Once an employee has completed a minimum of one year of continuous service with the same employer, they are entitled to a certain number of consecutive working days of paid vacation leave:

  • For the first year of service, the employee is entitled to 14 working days.
  • For each additional two years of service, the employee is entitled to 16 working days.

Accrual and Eligibility

Vacation leave accrues proportionally within the qualifying period of service. The employer determines when an employee can take their vacation leave.


Employees are entitled to receive their regular salary in full during their vacation periods.

Unused Leave

If an employee has unused vacation leave, Ethiopian law allows for the carryover of up to 30 days to the subsequent year.

Public holidays

Ethiopia is known for its diverse mix of national, religious, and historical holidays celebrated throughout the year.

Fixed Date Holidays

Ethiopia observes several fixed date holidays. These include:

  • Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash): Celebrated on September 11th, or September 12th in Leap Years, this holiday marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the Ethiopian New Year, based on the Ethiopian Calendar.
  • Victory of Adwa: Commemorated on March 2nd, this holiday celebrates the Ethiopian victory over Italy in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa.
  • International Labor Day: Celebrated on May 1st, this holiday honors workers' contributions internationally.
  • Ethiopian Patriots' Day: Celebrated on May 5th, this holiday honors Ethiopian patriots who resisted Italian occupation.
  • Downfall of the Derg Regime Day: Commemorated on May 28th, this holiday marks the end of the communist Derg regime in 1991.

Religious Holidays (Variable Dates)

In addition to fixed date holidays, Ethiopia also observes multiple religious holidays based on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islamic calendars. The timing of these holidays varies yearly:

  • Genna (Ethiopian Christmas): This holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and is observed on January 7th based on the Ethiopian calendar.
  • Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany): This is a three-day festival celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ, observed in January.
  • Mawlid an-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad): This holiday commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan): This holiday marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice): This holiday commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son.
  • Meskel - Finding of the True Cross: This holiday celebrates the purported discovery of the cross on which Jesus was crucified and is observed in September or October.

Types of leave

In Ethiopia, the Labor Proclamation (No. 1156/2019) outlines various types of leave available to employees.

Vacation Leave

Employees become eligible for consecutive working days of paid annual leave after one year of service, with the amount increasing based on service length. During vacation leave periods, employees receive full pay.

Sick Leave

Upon completing service probation, employees become eligible for paid sick leave. The specific duration can vary based on the length of service and medical certification. Compensation during sick leave varies based on employment duration and medical documentation.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 90 consecutive days of paid maternity leave (30 days prenatal and 60 days postnatal). This can be extended in cases of health complications. Eligible employees receive full pay during the maternity leave period.

Other Types of Leave

Marriage Leave

Employees are entitled to three consecutive working days of paid leave upon their marriage.

Mourning Leave (Bereavement Leave)

Employees may be entitled to paid leave in the case of the death of a close family member, typically one to three days.

Special Circumstance Leave

Employees may request short-term leave for situations such as medical appointments or emergencies, though this is often unpaid and subject to employer approval.

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