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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Ghana


Ghanaian labor laws, primarily regulated by the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), provide a comprehensive framework for employment termination.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers in Ghana can lawfully terminate employment contracts for reasons such as incompetence, misconduct, or redundancy. Incompetence refers to the employee's lack of qualifications or ability to perform the assigned work tasks. Misconduct involves serious breaches of discipline or workplace rules. Redundancy occurs when the employee's position becomes obsolete due to economic, operational, or technological changes within the company.

Notice Requirements

Prior to termination, employers are required to provide employees with written notice. The notice period varies based on the length of the employment contract. For contracts of 3 years or more, one month's notice or one month's pay in lieu of notice is required. For contracts of less than 3 years, two weeks' notice or two weeks' pay in lieu of notice is required.

Severance Pay

In cases of redundancy, severance pay is generally required. The Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) stipulates that severance pay should be computed based on the length of an employee's service and their current daily wage. For example, an employee earning a daily wage of GHC 100 with five years of service would be entitled to approximately GHC 1500 in severance pay (15 days of pay per year of service).

Additional Considerations

Employers must ensure that dismissals are based on valid justifications, to ensure fair termination. In cases of unfair dismissal, employees may be entitled to reinstatement, compensation, or both, as determined by the National Labour Commission.


Ghana's Constitution and labor laws provide a foundation for protecting individuals from discrimination in the workplace. These laws safeguard against discrimination on several bases including gender, race, color, ethnic origin, religion, creed, social or economic status, disability, and political affiliation.

Victims of workplace discrimination in Ghana have several legal avenues of redress. Organizations are encouraged to have internal procedures addressing discrimination complaints. The National Labour Commission (NLC) mediates and resolves labor disputes, including those related to discrimination. Employees can file complaints with the NLC, which may lead to conciliation, mediation, or arbitration. Additionally, individuals can pursue discrimination cases through the courts with potential remedies including compensation, reinstatement, or injunctions.

Employers play a crucial role in combatting workplace discrimination in Ghana. Their responsibilities include developing and implementing a clear policy that communicates a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination. They are also tasked with training managers and employees on anti-discrimination laws and fostering a culture of inclusion. Employers are expected to investigate complaints promptly and take decisive action against discriminatory behavior. They are also encouraged to collaborate with the NLC and civil society organizations to support anti-discrimination initiatives.

Working conditions

In Ghana, a set of legal standards are upheld to ensure minimum requirements for a safe and functional work environment. These regulations cover work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic considerations.

Work Hours

According to the Ghanaian Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), a standard workweek is established at 40 hours, typically divided into eight-hour days from Monday to Friday. This translates to a maximum of eight hours per day for most employees.

Rest Periods

The Act also mandates rest periods for workers to prevent fatigue and promote well-being:

  • Daily Rest: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 12 consecutive hours of rest between two working days.
  • Weekly Rest: Workers must receive a minimum of 48 consecutive hours of rest in every seven days.

Ergonomic Requirements

While there isn't a codified law solely dedicated to ergonomics in Ghana, the Labour Act's focus on safety and health indirectly covers ergonomic considerations. Employers have a general duty to provide a safe work environment, which can extend to ensuring proper workstation setups and equipment to minimize musculoskeletal risks.

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) publishes guidelines on ergonomics, offering recommendations for workstation design, equipment selection, and proper work practices. These guidelines, although not legally binding, serve as valuable resources for employers aiming to create ergonomically sound workplaces.

Enforcing Standards

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, along with the Labour Department, is responsible for enforcing these working condition standards. They conduct inspections and hold employers accountable for non-compliance.

Health and safety

Ghana prioritizes worker well-being through a comprehensive health and safety framework. This guide explores key aspects of this framework, including employer obligations, employee rights, and enforcement agencies.

Employer Obligations

The Ghanaian legal framework mandates employers to create a safe and healthy work environment. The primary legislation is the Factories, Offices and Shops Act, 1970 (Act 328). Here are some crucial employer obligations outlined in the Act:

  • Risk Assessment: Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement control measures to mitigate them.
  • Safe Work Practices: Employers are responsible for establishing and enforcing safe work practices to minimize risks associated with machinery, hazardous materials, and work processes.
  • Accident Prevention: Employers have a duty to implement accident prevention measures and provide employee safety training.
  • Medical Surveillance: In occupations with specific health risks, employers may be required to facilitate medical examinations for employees.

Employee Rights

Ghanaian employees enjoy extensive health and safety rights:

  • Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from foreseeable health and safety risks.
  • Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive information and training on workplace health and safety hazards.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees can refuse to perform tasks they believe pose a serious threat to their health and safety, provided they have reasonable justification for their refusal.
  • Complaint Mechanisms: Employees have the right to raise concerns about health and safety issues through established channels within the organization.

Enforcement Agencies

The primary enforcement agency for workplace health and safety regulations in Ghana is the Department of Factories Inspectorate under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. They conduct inspections, investigate accidents, and ensure employer compliance with health and safety regulations.

The Ghana Health Service also plays a role in workplace health and safety, particularly regarding occupational health hazards and employee health surveillance. This framework fosters a shared responsibility for workplace safety, ensuring a healthy and productive work environment for Ghanaian employees.

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