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Discover everything you need to know about Gambia

Hire in Gambia at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Gambia

Gambian Dalasi
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
48 hours/week

Overview in Gambia

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The Gambia, a narrow strip of land within Senegal, is characterized by its flat terrain and the Gambia River, which is crucial for navigation and trade. Historically influenced by various empires and colonized by the British, it gained independence in 1965 and became a republic in 1970. The country experienced a shift from democracy to authoritarian rule following a 1994 military coup, which lasted until 2017.

The population is predominantly Muslim and includes ethnic groups such as Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, and Jola. The Gambia is one of the world's poorest nations, heavily reliant on agriculture, particularly peanut production, remittances, and tourism. The government focuses on poverty reduction, healthcare, education, and infrastructure, often supported by international aid.

Employment is largely in agriculture and the informal economy, with a significant portion of the workforce engaged in subsistence farming. The tourism and services sectors are also vital, providing urban employment opportunities, though these are often seasonal or low-paying. The government is promoting skills development in technology and renewable energy to diversify employment prospects.

Cultural norms significantly influence the Gambian work environment, including a flexible approach to work schedules, respect for elders, and top-down decision-making. Islamic practices shape work routines, and different ethnic groups may have unique cultural practices affecting workplace interactions. Emerging opportunities in fisheries, horticulture, and renewable energy are being explored to enhance economic prospects.

Taxes in Gambia

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  • Employer Contributions in The Gambia: Employers must contribute 10% of an employee's basic salary to the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) for social security benefits, and 1% to the Industrial Injuries Compensation Fund for workplace accidents and illnesses. Additionally, a 10% contribution is required for the Provident Fund scheme.

  • Payroll Tax Responsibilities: Employers are not subject to a separate payroll tax but must calculate, withhold, and remit employee income tax through the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system. The income tax rates range from 0% for incomes up to GMD 7,500 annually to 30% for incomes above GMD 47,500.

  • Other Contributions: Employers might need to contribute to the National Education Levy, which is 0.75% of annual gross revenue, and manage taxes on specific fringe benefits.

  • Compliance and Deadlines: Contributions to SSHFC and tax withholdings must be calculated monthly based on employee salaries and remitted by specified deadlines. Non-compliance can lead to penalties.

  • Employee Contributions: Employees contribute 5% of their basic salary to both the SSHFC and the Provident Fund.

  • VAT System: The standard VAT rate is 15%, with certain services being zero-rated or exempt. VAT liability depends on the location of service provision, with specific rules for cross-border services.

  • Tax Incentives: The Gambia offers tax incentives through Special Investment Certificates (SICs) and Export Processing Zones (EPZs), providing benefits like tax exemptions and reduced regulatory burdens for qualifying businesses in priority sectors or regions.

  • Professional Advice Recommended: Both employers and businesses are advised to use payroll services or consult tax advisors to ensure accurate tax calculations and compliance with Gambian tax laws.

Leave in Gambia

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The Gambia's Labor Act of 2007 Overview

  • Annual Leave: Employees in The Gambia are entitled to paid vacation leave after one year of continuous service. The minimum entitlement is 14 working days for those with 1-5 years of service, and 21 working days for those with over 5 years of service.
  • Vacation Pay: Employees receive full pay during their annual leave.
  • Carry-over and Termination: The Act does not specify rules for the carry-over of unused vacation leave, but many contracts allow it within certain limits. Employees are compensated for accrued but unused vacation leave upon contract termination.
  • Public Holidays: The Gambia celebrates both fixed and variable date holidays, including New Year's Day, Independence Day, and religious holidays like Eid al-Fitr and Christmas.
  • Other Leave Types: The Act also covers sick leave, maternity leave (12 weeks), and paternity leave (5 days), along with provisions for other types such as casual and bereavement leave.
  • Sector Variations: Leave entitlements can vary by sector and are detailed in employment contracts or collective agreements.

Note: For specific entitlements and conditions, employees should refer to their individual employment contracts.

Benefits in Gambia

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  • Paid Time Off: Employees in The Gambia receive 13 paid public holidays and additional annual leave determined by agreements or contracts.

  • Maternity Leave: Pregnant employees are entitled to 14 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.

  • Notice Period: Both employers and employees must provide a notice period before terminating employment, the length of which depends on the employee's tenure.

  • Severance Pay: Employers must pay severance if terminating employment without just cause, calculated based on salary and service length.

  • Overtime and Probation: Employees are entitled to overtime pay, and employment contracts may include a probationary period up to 12 months.

  • Health and Wellness Benefits: Employers often provide comprehensive health insurance and wellness programs, including gym memberships and fitness classes.

  • Financial Benefits: Some employers offer allowances for mobile phone usage and transportation, especially for those working outside major cities.

  • Work-Life Balance: Companies may offer flexible working hours, remote work options, and more generous PTO policies than the legal minimum.

  • Employee Development: Employers may support employee growth through training, conference attendance, or tuition reimbursement.

  • Public Healthcare System: The Gambia's public healthcare faces challenges like limited resources and access to quality care.

  • Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Some sectors, like banking and NGOs, offer health insurance, and some operate their own health clinics.

  • Retirement Schemes: The Gambia offers various pension schemes, including the Public Service Pension Scheme for government employees and the Federated Pension Scheme for others, with a mandatory national occupational pension managed by SSHFC. Private sector employees may also opt for the National Provident Fund or company-specific pension plans.

Workers Rights in Gambia

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The Gambia's Labour Act (2007) outlines lawful grounds for employment termination, including economic reasons, disciplinary issues, and inability to perform job duties. Notice requirements vary by contract type, with specific periods stipulated for fixed-term and indefinite contracts. Employees are generally entitled to severance pay unless terminated for serious misconduct.

The Constitution and Labour Act protect against discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, and political opinion. Various mechanisms are available for redress against discrimination, including internal grievance procedures, the Labour Commissioner, the National Human Rights Commission, and the courts.

Employers are obligated to ensure a non-discriminatory workplace, provide safety training, and implement anti-discrimination policies. The standard workweek is capped at 48 hours, with provisions for overtime compensation. Employees are entitled to rest periods and public holidays off.

Health and safety regulations mandate a safe work environment, requiring employers to conduct risk assessments and mitigate hazards. Employees have rights to a safe workplace and information about workplace hazards. Enforcement of these regulations is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Labour within the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment (MOTIE).

For detailed information on specific health and safety requirements, consulting Gambian legal resources or the MOTIE website is recommended.

Agreements in Gambia

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In Gambia, employment contracts are categorized into indefinite term contracts, fixed term contracts, and contracts for specific tasks, each with distinct characteristics and termination conditions. These contracts should include essential clauses such as basic information, remuneration and benefits, working hours and conditions, termination details, confidentiality, and intellectual property rights. Additionally, the legal framework recognizes probationary periods, allowing employers and employees to assess job suitability, with specific regulations for skilled and unskilled workers. Confidentiality and non-compete clauses are also common in Gambian employment agreements to protect employers' interests, though their enforceability can vary based on the reasonableness and scope of the clauses.

Remote Work in Gambia

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The Gambian landscape for remote work is currently unregulated specifically for such arrangements, but existing labor laws provide a foundation for employer-employee relationships. Key aspects include:

  • Legal Framework: The Labour Act 2007 mandates written contracts, which should detail remote work specifics such as communication channels and work schedules. It also outlines working hours and leave entitlements that should be considered in remote work agreements.
  • Taxation: Employers must ensure compliance with tax obligations, especially for remote employees residing outside The Gambia, as dictated by the Gambia Revenue Authority.
  • Technological Infrastructure: Essential for remote work success includes stable internet access, reliable communication tools, and necessary equipment like laptops and software.
  • Employer Responsibilities: Developing clear remote work policies, providing necessary training and support, managing performance effectively, and ensuring a safe and healthy work environment are crucial.
  • Flexible Work Options: The Gambian labor market is adapting to include flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing, each requiring clear contractual agreements.
  • Data Protection: Employers must adhere to the Gambian Data Protection Act of 2013, ensuring transparency, lawful processing, and security of employee data. Both employers and employees should engage in best practices like secure remote access, data encryption, and regular data backups to protect sensitive information.

Overall, while specific laws for remote work are lacking, existing regulations and best practices provide a framework for implementing effective and compliant remote work arrangements in The Gambia.

Working Hours in Gambia

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In The Gambia, the Labor Law does not specify standard working hours but limits the workweek to 40 hours. Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) can modify these hours, allowing for shorter workweeks or flexible schedules, provided the average weekly hours over a reference period do not exceed 40, with a daily maximum of 10 hours. Overtime is permissible under specific conditions such as unexpected work pressure, material spoilage prevention, or emergencies, with a weekly cap of 48 hours including overtime. Overtime compensation is typically at 1.5 times the normal wage unless otherwise negotiated in CBAs, which may also offer higher rates or double pay for Sundays and public holidays.

The Labor Law mandates a daily rest period of at least one hour and a weekly rest day, usually Sunday, though this can be adjusted per employment agreements. Breaks during work hours are not explicitly mandated but are generally expected to be provided. Night work is defined based on the time and amount of work done during night hours, with specific hours varying by sector.

Overall, while the Labor Law provides a framework, many specifics regarding working hours, rest periods, and overtime compensation are subject to CBAs and individual employment contracts.

Salary in Gambia

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Understanding competitive salaries in Gambia is essential for attracting and retaining talent. Factors influencing these salaries include job responsibilities, experience, company size, industry, and location. Resources like salary surveys, job boards, and government reports help determine competitive wages. Additionally, compensation in Gambia includes mandatory benefits like health insurance and a minimum wage of 50 Gambian Dalasi per day. Employers also offer discretionary benefits such as performance bonuses and allowances for housing, transportation, and meals. The payroll system operates monthly, and employers must adhere to legal requirements like income tax withholdings and social security contributions. Overtime pay is regulated, with specific rates for work beyond standard hours.

Termination in Gambia

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In The Gambia, the Employment Act governs the notice periods required for employment termination, varying by contract type and length of service. For indefinite contracts, notice ranges from a fortnight to one month, based on the payment schedule and duration of employment. Fixed-term contracts require a 14-day notice for early termination. Redundancy terminations necessitate a six-month notice. Employers may opt for payment in lieu of notice.

Severance pay is mandated under specific conditions such as redundancy, calculated based on six months of earnings, but does not apply to contract expiration, resignation, or dismissal for misconduct. Termination types include by notice, without notice for gross misconduct, and redundancy, each requiring specific procedures such as written notices and consultations. Disputes can be addressed by filing a complaint with the Labour Commissioner.

Freelancing in Gambia

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In Gambia, labor laws distinguish between employees and contractors, affecting their rights and obligations. Employees are under significant employer control, receiving fixed salaries and benefits like leave entitlements, while contractors have autonomy over their work and handle their own taxes without receiving employee benefits. Contractors engage in formal agreements such as Independent Contractor Agreements or Service Agreements, and they operate in various industries including IT, creative fields, and construction.

Contract negotiation in Gambia emphasizes clarity in deliverables, payment terms, and dispute resolution. Intellectual property rights are generally owned by the creator unless specified as "work made for hire." Copyright registration, while optional, offers legal protection and is recommended.

Independent contractors must manage their tax obligations with the Gambia Revenue Authority and consider voluntary insurance options like health and professional liability insurance to mitigate potential risks. This framework provides a flexible work environment but requires a good understanding of legal and financial responsibilities.

Health & Safety in Gambia

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In Gambia, health and safety regulations are governed by several key laws including The Labour Act of 2007, The Factories Act (Cap 70:01), The Public Health Act (Cap 141), and The Workers' Compensation Act (Cap 100). These laws cover a range of issues from general workplace safety, factory-specific regulations, public health considerations in workplaces, to compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses.

  • The Labour Act of 2007 sets the foundational framework for health and safety obligations for both employers and workers, emphasizing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the importance of informing employees about potential risks.
  • The Factories Act focuses on the safety in factory settings, detailing requirements for cleanliness, ventilation, and machinery safety.
  • The Public Health Act extends its reach to workplace environments, ensuring sanitary conditions and the safe handling of food.
  • The Workers' Compensation Act outlines the procedures and liabilities related to compensation for employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses.

Enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of the Department of Labour, which conducts inspections, sometimes unannounced, to ensure compliance and can issue notices or prosecute violations. These inspections focus on various aspects of workplace safety including cleanliness, equipment safety, and emergency procedures.

Training and education are crucial for maintaining safety standards, involving everything from induction training for new hires to ongoing training for all employees. The use of PPE is mandated where necessary, and employers are responsible for providing and maintaining this equipment.

Incident reporting and investigation are key components of the regulatory framework, requiring employers to report accidents and conduct thorough investigations to prevent future occurrences. The Workers' Compensation Act ensures that employees receive compensation for injuries or illnesses acquired on the job, with employers required to have insurance to cover such claims.

Despite these measures, challenges remain, particularly in enforcing standards in the informal sector and among smaller enterprises. Enhancements in inspection effectiveness could be achieved through increased resources for the Department of Labour and greater worker involvement in safety practices.

Dispute Resolution in Gambia

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The Gambia employs a dual system for resolving labor disputes, consisting of labor courts and arbitration panels. Labor courts, under the Subordinate Courts and specifically the Industrial Tribunal, handle a variety of employment-related disputes with a formal process that includes filing a claim, conciliation, a hearing, and a binding judgment. Arbitration panels, formed ad hoc, are generally used when collective bargaining agreements are in place or preferred by both parties, involving a less formal hearing and a binding decision.

Additionally, The Gambia conducts compliance audits and inspections across various sectors to ensure adherence to laws and regulations, with responsibilities designated to specific government agencies like the Labour Department, the Gambia Revenue Authority, and the Gambia Standards Bureau. These audits are crucial for protecting workers' rights, consumer protection, environmental protection, and ensuring fair competition.

Despite these systems, The Gambia lacks comprehensive whistleblower protection, with existing protections being fragmented and weak. This creates a challenging environment for individuals reporting violations, with advocacy groups pushing for stronger laws to safeguard whistleblowers.

In contrast, Gabon has aligned its labor laws with international standards by ratifying several key ILO conventions, which influence its labor legislation and aim to protect workers' rights, although challenges in enforcement and compliance remain. Gabon continues to work on improving adherence to these international labor standards through various efforts including collaboration with the ILO and awareness campaigns.

Cultural Considerations in Gambia

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In the Gambian workplace, effective communication hinges on understanding indirectness, formality, and the significance of non-verbal cues. Communication is often indirect to maintain social harmony, reflecting the cultural value of "hewura" (respect). Formal interactions, especially with superiors, require the use of titles and honorifics, though a friendly and warm atmosphere is encouraged among colleagues. Non-verbal communication, such as body language and eye contact, plays a crucial role, with specific gestures indicating respect or disagreement.

Trust is foundational in Gambian communication, particularly in negotiations, where building a rapport precedes business discussions. Negotiators use indirect methods like proverbs or humor to convey their points, avoiding direct confrontation to maintain respect. Patience and persistence are valued in the negotiation process, with initial offers often leaving substantial room for bargaining.

Understanding hierarchical structures is also vital, as age and experience dictate respect and authority in business settings. Decision-making may involve consultation to foster a sense of collective responsibility, aligning with the cultural value of "naam" (togetherness). Leadership in Gambia balances authority with guidance, promoting a paternalistic style that nurtures team loyalty.

Additionally, national and regional holidays significantly influence business operations, with major observances potentially leading to closures or adjusted business hours. Being aware of these cultural nuances and planning accordingly can facilitate smoother business interactions and strengthen partnerships in Gambia.

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