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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Iran


In Iran, the termination of employment contracts is governed by a strict legal framework. The Iranian Labour Law (Law No. 1 of 1996) stipulates that employment contracts can only be terminated under certain circumstances. These include the death or retirement of the employee, total disability of the employee, expiry of a fixed-term employment contract, completion of a specific task in a temporary employment contract, and resignation of the employee with proper notice. It's important to note that employers cannot unilaterally dismiss employees outside of these legal grounds.

Lawful Dismissal Procedures and Notice Requirements

When dismissal is lawful based on the reasons mentioned above, specific procedures must be adhered to. If dismissal is due to employee misconduct or violation of company regulations, the employer must provide written warnings and follow a documented disciplinary process before termination. In cases of redundancy or economic reasons, the employer is obligated to obtain approval from the Islamic Labor Council or the Labor Discretionary Board. These bodies will assess the legitimacy of the redundancy and ensure fair treatment of employees.

The notice period required for dismissal can vary depending on the circumstances and the employee's contract. However, Iranian labor law emphasizes providing reasonable notice to allow employees time to find alternative employment.

Severance Pay

Upon lawful termination of an employment contract, employers are required to provide severance pay to the employee. The amount of severance pay is calculated based on the employee's last salary and their length of service. Specifically, one month's salary for each year of service is mandated for employees who have completed at least one year of service.


Iran's Constitution enshrines the principle of non-discrimination, but the country's legal framework for combating discrimination remains limited. The lack of robust, specific laws creates an environment where individuals from minority groups can face significant disadvantages.

Protected Characteristics

Iranian law does not have a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that explicitly lists all protected characteristics. However, several legal provisions and principles touch upon issues of discrimination:

  • Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Article 19 of the Constitution declares all Iranian citizens equal under the law and forbids discrimination based on "race, color, ethnicity, language, and the like."
  • Religious Minorities: While Iran officially recognizes specific religious minorities (Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians), individuals who belong to other faiths (such as the Bahaʼi) or those who are atheists face systematic discrimination.
  • Gender: Iranian law contains discriminatory provisions against women, affecting various aspects of life including employment, family law, and freedom of movement.

Redress Mechanisms

Despite the limitations in law, individuals who experience discrimination in Iran have a few potential avenues for redress:

  • Filing complaints with the Ministry of Labour: The Labour Code provides a limited mechanism for individuals to file complaints related to discrimination in employment settings. However, the effectiveness of this process is often limited.
  • International human rights bodies: Iranian citizens can lodge complaints with international bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee, alleging violations of international human rights treaties that Iran has ratified. However, these mechanisms often offer symbolic redress and lack direct enforcement power within Iran.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Iran have a general obligation to create a working environment free from discrimination. However, the absence of a clear legislative framework makes it difficult to hold employers accountable for specific acts of discrimination.

  • Company policies: Progressive employers may choose to implement internal anti-discrimination policies that go beyond the minimum legal requirements. These policies can proactively promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Working conditions

Iranian labor law establishes guidelines for working hours, rest periods, and ergonomic considerations to ensure a balanced work environment.

Working Hours

The Iranian Labour Code (Law No. 1 of 1996) mandates a standard workweek of 44 hours, distributed across six working days. This translates to an average of 7.33 hours per day.

Overtime is permitted with limitations:

  • A maximum of 4 hours per day and 36 hours per month.
  • Overtime work requires the employee's consent and must be compensated at a higher rate than regular pay.

Rest Periods

Iranian regulations emphasize rest periods for employee well-being:

  • Daily Rest: Workers are entitled to a minimum of one hour of rest during the workday. This break allows them to recharge and return to their duties with renewed focus.
  • Weekly Rest: Employees must be granted a full day of rest each week, typically coinciding with Fridays.

Annual Leave: Additionally, Iranian workers are entitled to annual paid leave, with the minimum duration varying based on their length of service.

Ergonomic Requirements

While there isn't a single regulation solely dedicated to ergonomics in Iran, the Labour Code promotes a safe work environment:

  • Risk Assessments: Employers are encouraged to conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace, including those related to ergonomics. This can involve repetitive motions, awkward postures, or poorly designed workstations.
  • Workplace Safety: The Labour Code emphasizes the employer's responsibility to provide a safe work environment. This can include measures to minimize ergonomic risks by promoting proper posture practices and incorporating regular breaks for stretching and movement.

Health and safety

Iran prioritizes workplace safety through a set of regulations outlined in the Labour Code (Law No. 1 of 1996). This framework establishes clear obligations for employers, safeguards employee rights, and assigns enforcement responsibilities to specific government bodies.

Employer Obligations

The Labour Code emphasizes the employer's responsibility to create a safe and healthy work environment. Key employer obligations include:

  • Hazard Prevention and Mitigation: Employers must take necessary steps to identify, prevent, and minimize workplace hazards like accidents, fires, and exposure to harmful substances.
  • Provision of Safety Equipment: Employers are obligated to furnish employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for the specific workplace risks.
  • Safe Work Practices and Training: Employers are responsible for establishing safe work procedures and providing employees with proper training on these procedures and potential hazards associated with their jobs.
  • Accident Reporting: The Labour Code mandates employers to report work-related accidents to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA).

Employee Rights

Iranian employees enjoy a well-defined set of rights under the OSH framework:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the legal right to work in an environment free from foreseeable hazards.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees are entitled to receive information and training on workplace safety procedures and potential risks.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse to perform tasks they believe pose a serious threat to their health and safety, provided they can justify their concerns.

These rights empower employees to actively participate in maintaining a safe work environment.

Enforcement Agencies

The primary responsibility for enforcing OSH regulations in Iran falls on the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA). MOLSA carries out these tasks through its dedicated departments:

  • Labour Inspection Department: This department conducts regular workplace inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Occupational Health Department: This department focuses on promoting occupational health practices and conducting research on workplace hazards.

These departments work together to ensure a comprehensive approach to workplace safety enforcement and promote a culture of prevention.

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