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Payroll In Afghanistan

Employment Laws in Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Guide

With a GDP of 19.81 billion USD in 2021, Afghanistan is a fascinating country in South Asia. Furthermore, the country has an increasing labor force and recorded 9,105,733 active employees in 2020. While most working people in Afghanistan are occupied in the agriculture industry, a sizable percentage (37.6%) of the labor force is also present in the services sector, making it a point of attraction for entrepreneurs from all over. In addition, the economy of Afghanistan is witnessing continual improvement due to the creation of more trade routes, expansion of the nation’s mining and agriculture industries, and overall improvement in the nation’s infrastructure. Hence, Afghanistan is becoming a country worth investing in for business owners. 

The Afghanistan labor law comprehensively covers employment in Afghanistan, as stated in the country’s constitution. Employers must strictly follow these laws to employ and operate in the country. 

Some vital features of the labor regulations in Afghanistan are:

  • Mandatory employment contracts
  • 40-hour work weeks
  • Paid yearly recreational leaves

Continue reading this guide to Afghanistan’s employment laws to understand the rules and regulations better.

Who is Covered by the Employment Act?

The Afghanistan labor law covers all individuals employed in the country. Notably, the labor regulations in Afghanistan do not distinguish between blue and white-collar employees, and both categories of people are under the concerned laws. Furthermore, the laws also apply to foreign citizens with contracts and work permits in the country. 

Employment Contract

Written employment contracts between employers and employees are required as per labor regulations in Afghanistan. The contract may be for a definite or an indefinite period. In Afghanistan, fixed-term contracts are made for one year. If a contract exceeds that period, it is considered an indefinite period contract. Furthermore, employment contracts in Afghanistan can be further classified into part-time and full-time contracts based on the employee’s working hours. 

In addition, a few other pieces of information that should be mandatorily mentioned in employment contracts are:

  • Identification of employer and employee
  • Type of work the employee must perform
  • Basic salary and other benefits
  • Leave entitlements
  • Working hours
  • Term of contract
  • Workplace
  • Date of contract signing

The employer must prepare a total of three copies of the employment contract. One copy should be presented to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, one to the concerned employee, and the employer should keep one. 

Key Provisions of the Act

The Afghanistan labor law was created following Article 48 of the Constitution of Afghanistan. The employment laws govern all aspects of employment and regulate employees’ privileges, rights, and obligations. Furthermore, it also helps create equal work opportunities and employee safety. 

The significant provisions provided in the labor regulations in Afghanistan are given below:

Working hours

  • The working hours in Afghanistan are capped at 40 hours every week. 
  • Typically, the single work day lasts 8 hours, with a one-hour break. 

However, the following categories of employees have lower working hours:

  • Pregnant employees (35 hours per week)
  • Teenagers between 15-18 years old (35 hours per week)
  • Employees working strenuous jobs (30 hours per week)
  • Employees working the night shift (35 hours per week)

Overtime

  • Overtime is only allowed when consented to by the employee.
  • Any work that exceeds the typical work hours is classified as overtime.
  • Overtime is capped at four hours per day. 
  • Pregnant women, employees working strenuous jobs, and night shift workers are prohibited from working overtime. 
  • Overtime is compensated at a rate of 25% of the standard salary on regular working days and 50% if done on any public holiday. 

Public holidays

February 15

Fate of Liberation

March 21-22

Nowruz

April 28

Mujahideen Victory Day

May 1

Labor Day

Depending on calendar

First Day of Ramadan

Depending on calendar

Eid al-Fitr

August 19

Independence Day

Depending on calendar

Feast of Arafa

Depending on calendar

Eid al-Adha

September 9

Martyr Day

Depending on calendar

Ashura

Depending on calendar

Mawlid Sharif

Leave schemes

Annual leave

  • Employees are entitled to 20 days of paid recreational leave every calendar year. 
  • Employers can extend the recreational leave in the following cases:
    1. Employees under 18 can take 25 days of recreational leave.
    2. Employees with strenuous jobs are entitled to 30 days of recreational leave. 
  • Unused recreational leave days can be carried forward to the following calendar year. 

Urgent leave

  • Employees can get ten days of paid urgent leave under the following conditions:
    1. Birth of a baby
    2. Marriage
    3. Death of a family member 

Sick leave

  • Employees can get paid sick leave of up to 20 days. 
  • The employee must present a written notice in case of 5 days of sick leave.  
  • If sick leave exceeds five days, the employee must present a sickness certificate attested by a medical practitioner or Village Council.  
  • Employees who need sick leave longer than 20 days may use other leave days. 

Maternity leave

  • Pregnant employees receive ninety days of maternity leave.
  • 1/3rd of this leave can be used before the baby’s birth and 2/3rd after the birth. 
  • In case of complicated or multiple births, additional 15 days of maternity leave should be granted. 

Pilgrimage leave

  • Employees receive 45 days of paid leave to perform pilgrimage or Hajj. 
  • Recreational leave days can be utilized if the leave duration exceeds 45 days.
  • The concerned employees should present a certificate from the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs to get paid for their leave. 

Taxes

The following tax rates are applicable on the different income slabs:

Income slab

Tax rate

0-60,000 AFN

0%

60,000-150,000 AFN

2%

150,000-1,200,000 AFN

10%

1,200,000 AFN and above

20%

Termination of employment

As per the Afghanistan labor law, an employee can be dismissed due to the following reasons:

  • Retirement
  • End of contract
  • Mutual agreement
  • Death
  • Disability resulting in an inability to perform the work they were hired for
  • Disciplinary reasons
  • Refusal to work
  • Reduction in staff number
  • Being absent from work for more than six months
  • Imprisonment
  • Unsatisfactory work performance during the probation period

Notice period

  • Usually, the notice period is one month. 
  • The labor regulations in Afghanistan do not mandate written notices for termination; however, that is the general practice.
  • In the case of employees in the probationary period, there is no notice period. 
  • Furthermore, termination without notice can also be done if an employee has violated the employment contract or has been diagnosed with an incurable disease. 

Severance pay

  • Employees dismissed due to staff reduction, refusal to work, imprisonment, or absence from work are entitled to severance pay.
  • The severance pay amount depends on the duration of employment. 

Duration of Service

Severance Pay

Less than 1 year

One month’s salary and other entitlements

1 to 5 years

Two months’ salary and other entitlements

5 to 10 years

Four months’ salary and other entitlements

Over 10 years

Six months’ salary and other entitlements

Retirement

  • The retirement age in Afghanistan is 65 years. 
  • However, upon the employee’s request, retirement can be postponed for up to 5 years. 
  • Employees can also request early retirement before reaching retirement age.

Penalties

Any disputes in adherence to the Afghanistan labor laws are resolved by the following:

  • Dispute Resolution Commission of the administration
  • Authorized court
  • High Commission on Labor Dispute Resolution

The following penalties may be imposed on employers who fail to comply with the labor act rules in Afghanistan:

  • In case an employee is dismissed unlawfully or on discriminatory grounds, they must be reinstated to their original position, and the salary and other benefits accumulated during the period of their dismissal must be paid to them. 
  • If any employee sustains health injuries arising from work, the employer will have to pay compensation for the same. 
  • Forced labor is prohibited in Afghanistan and may lead to long-term imprisonment of the employer.  
  • Paying employees below the minimum wage is also a punishable offense.

Compliance Strategies for Employers

To follow the labor code in Afghanistan, one of the following strategies can be adopted by employers:

Following the employment guidelines

  • The Afghanistan labor laws are laid out in detail by the government of Afghanistan. These laws provide a framework for employers to work within while hiring individuals and operating their company. 

Building an HR team

  • Another valid option would be to create an in-house HR team to hire and manage employees based on the labor regulations in Afghanistan. 

Partnering with an EOR

  • An EOR or employer of record can help companies manage employment in Afghanistan in compliance with the local rules and regulations. 
  • For entrepreneurs aiming to dominate the Afghanistan markets, an EOR offers an ideal solution by reducing compliance costs and legal liabilities. 

How Can Multiplier Help?

The Afghanistani labor laws may not seem complicated, but employers must adhere to these regulations to avoid legal liability. This is why businesses hire EOR/POR solution providers to grasp Afghanistani employment laws fully.

Therefore, if you want to avoid legal troubles and comply with the labor act rules in Afghanistan, your best step would be to opt for Multiplier, a global EOR/POR partner operating in over 150 countries. We help businesses work within the legal structure of foreign countries and provide a robust and reliable infrastructure for payroll management, employee management, tax maintenance, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

The probationary period can last for a maximum of 3 months in Afghanistan.

Individuals must be, at minimum, 15 years old to be employed in Afghanistan. However, their legal guardians must authorize their employment contracts in such cases.

There is no minimum wage in Afghanistan for private-sector employees. However, the government forbids wages below 5,000 AFN in the private sector, the minimum wage for government employees.

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