The Basics of Zimbabwean Employment Contracts

contract

Zimbabwean Employment Contracts have been quite a fascinating field for most labour experts. A lot of debate and theories have been built around them. In this short post, we examine the basics of how exactly these contracts operate, along with the regulations that govern them.

Most workers in Zimbabwe are on fixed-term contracts. According to labour law, fixed-term contracts expire at the end of the term specified. Employment may be terminated by mutual agreement.

 

Contract Details

An employer is supposed to write a contract to the employee and the letter is supposed to have the following particulars:

  • Name and address of the employer
  • The period of time for which the employee is engaged
  • The terms of probation (if any)
  • The terms of an employment code
  • Information of the employee’s remuneration, its manner of calculation and the intervals at which it will be paid
  • Information on benefits receivable in the event of sickness or pregnancy
  • Hours of work
  • Information on any bonus or incentive production scheme
  • Information on vacation leave or vacation pay
  • Information on any other benefits

The law states that if a contract of employment does not specify the date of termination, other than a contract for casual work, seasonal work or for the performance of some specific service, it is deemed to be an indefinite contract. This provision is however conditional for casual workers.

Termination of Employment

According to the Code of Conduct, a contract of employment can be terminated if the employer and employee mutually agree to it in writing.
This is also the case if an employee is engaged in a fixed-term contract for the performance of a specific task and the contract has expired after the mandated period or the task is completed.

 

Contracts can NOT be terminated on:

  • Death of the employer.

In a situation where the employer has died the contract continues to have effect until it expires.

  • Contracts can also not be terminated on the grounds of race, place of origin, sex, religion, political opinion, tribe.
  • Contracts cannot be terminated without notice from the employer with strong reasons.

 

However, employers CAN terminate contracts on the following grounds:

If an employee:

  • Is guilty of theft or fraud
  • Willfully destroys employers property
  • Is absent for a period of five days or more working days without giving a reasonable excuse
  • Lacks a skill that he or she implicitly said they was capable of
  • Is substantially negligent in his or her duties
  • Is drunk to the extent that it makes him/her  fail to perform their duties

 

Notice periods of termination 

Notice of termination of the contract of employment to be given by either party shall be:

  • Three months in the case of a contract without limit of time or a contract for a period of two years or more
  • Two months in the case of a contract for a period of one year or more but less than two years
  • One month in the case of a contract for a period of six months or more but less than one year
  • Two weeks in the case of a contract for a period of three months or more but less than six months
  • One day in the case of a contract for a period of less than three months or in the case of casual work or seasonal work

Retrenchment

Where an employer wishes to retrench one or more employees, he will give notice of intention to retrench to the Works Council, NEC or Retrenchment Board. The employer will pay the employee a minimum retrenchment package of 1 month’s salary for every 2 years served by the end of the notice period unless better terms are provided.

Where an employer wishes to be exempted from paying the full minimum retrenchment package or wishes to pay the minimum package over a longer period, he will apply for exemption to the NEC or Retrenchment Board.

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