Employee Leave in Africa: What You Must Know

Women at the beach - Paid Leave in Africa - Africa HR Solutions

Beyond a legal requirement, employee leave can be a great incentive for staff and can help make job offers more attractive. They encourage family life and personal time in general, leaving room for self-care, which, in turn, has a direct impact on an employee’s performance. During your expansion plans, it is therefore very important to know about both the legal requirements and customary practices in each target country  to ensure that annual leave policies remain appropriate.

Vacation leave

Vacation leave, and sick leave are often considered two separate kinds of leave in Africa. Terminology may also vary. For example, vacation leave is referred to as “annual leave” in Mauritius, and provides up to 20 working days’ paid leave to employees. Vacation leave across Africa can last anywhere from 10 to 30 days depending on the country, with the most vacation leave recorded in  Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria (30), followed closely by Tanzania (28).

Sick leave

Sick leave varies greatly across African countries. While some countries calculate it based on a formulation per X-cycle of work days, others, like Mauritius, have a set number of days per worker, applicable from the completion of a year of work, with full costs covered by the employer. Accumulation of those sick days, or other remedies such as obtaining monetary compensation for unclaimed sick days also vary according to statutory provisions. The  most generous sick leave on the continent, however, is in Egypt, where workers are entitled to a year of sick leave for every three years of work.

Menstrual leave

Zambia was the first African country to introduce menstrual leave as part of its legislation, as early as 2015. The law, now often referred to as “Mother’s Day”, entitles working women to one day of leave per cycle without the need for a doctor’s note, likely acting as an incentive to encourage women to join or remain in employment. It has also contributed to placing the country among the highest-scoring countries in the world for female working populations in a survey by the World Bank. The 2021 survey registered an active female population of 68% (after spiking up to 70% in 2019), which places Zambia, among other African countries, far beyond European countries such as France (52%) and Spain (53%).

Maternity leave

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Tanzanian mothers receive fully paid maternity leave for a 12-week period postpartum, and Zimbabwean mothers are entitled to 60-75% of their salary for up to 90 days postpartum. Whilst the average paid maternity leave in Africa lasts from two to three months, the shortest leave has been recorded in Tunisia, for a period of 30 days.

Who pays for the leave? Laws vary greatly from country to country, often attributing the full remuneration either to the employer or to social security, with  the likes of Guinea offering a 14-week maternity leave on 100% pay split equally between the employer and social security.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave in Africa can vary from 0 to 14 days’ either paid or (mostly) unpaid leave (according to the ILO), with the ultimate choice often being left to the employer on whether or not to remunerate for this.

Parental leave

This broad term includes different types of leave, some of them unpaid. In South Africa, for example, there are 3 types of leave. The first concerns all parenting duties, entitling all parents to at least 10 days’ parental leave. The second includes adoptive parents of children below the age of two, entitling them to 10 weeks’ adoption leave; and the third protects parents opting for surrogacy, with a 10-week commissioning parental leave.

African countries with the most public holidays in the world

Egypt ranks 3rd in the world, with a staggering 21 public holidays, whilst Turkey ranks 6th, with 16 public holidays, and South Africa ranks 10th with 12 public holidays. It is also important to note that some multicultural African countries such as Mauritius also have numerous public holidays that are attributed to the religious diversity present in the country.

The subject of employee leave is clearly a layered topic and, for companies looking to expand into Africa, this requires  the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable advisors who live and breathe this, and are therefore able to appropriately react to legislative changes and customary practices. An experienced African payroll service provider will  be best placed to advise on the intricacies  and specifics in each country, and will be able to answer standard questions such as:

  1. What kinds of employee leave are applicable in each country?
  2. How many public holidays are there?
  3. Who pays for the different types of leave, i.e. the employer or social security?
  4. Is the leave cumulative and, if so, for how long?
  5. Is unclaimed leave subject to reimbursement?

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GRANT GERAGHTY - Africa HR Team

GRANT GERAGHTY

HEAD OF CLIENT RELATIONSHIP

Grant Geraghty is the longest-serving member of the Africa HR team. This resident subject matter expert and client champion is responsible for gaining a deep understanding of our clients’ unique HR needs in Africa and providing tailored solutions that align with their business objectives. Grant collaborates closely with our clients to ensure that their requirements are properly implemented, providing ongoing support and guidance throughout the process.

Grant brings a wealth of experience to his role, having served as Africa HR’s longest-serving employee. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Economics and Business Finance, from the University of Natal in South Africa. Additionally, he has completed a certification program in Payroll and Tax Administration from the University of Cape Town, further enhancing his expertise in HR operations and compliance.

His commitment to delivering exceptional service and his extensive knowledge of HR in Africa make him an invaluable member of the Africa HR team.

KEVINA TAKOORDYAL Africa HR Team

KEVINA TAKOORDYAL

HEAD OF OPERATIONS

Kevina Takoordyal has a BA Hons Business Management from the University of Glamorgan, UK, with MBA in leadership and Innovation, MBA General, PMP Certified, and Agile Scrum Master. She currently works as the Head of Operations at Africa HR Solutions Ltd with more than 20 years of proven leadership capabilities in Operations, Business Development, People Management, Process Optimization, and Project Management in the Financial Services, BPO, Banking Industry, and Heath Care Industry. In Senior leadership roles with an international footprint across Europe working and extensive Pan- African experience from a compliance, finance, and operations angle, Kevina comes across with a panoply of cross-functional skills. Kevina also serves on a few Boards, Non-Independent Executive at MioD and for NGOs on a voluntary basis, a coach and mentor to aspiring female leaders across Africa and Mauritius.

Kevina is a firm believer in Servant Leadership with a strong focus and commitment to uplifting others, with the ability to deliver through a highly engaged – diverse team, and works towards consistently synergistic value creation. While being a focused and adaptive thinker and Kevina is actively participating in panel discussions on Innovation, CX, Digital transformation.

Kevina serves as Project Assessor for the National Youth upskilling program. She has been recognized as Global Talent in a few companies, Ceridian, and International SOS Ltd whereby she has been awarded a few scholarships and had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Vice President in the US. Award Winner in various fields and at a national level and recognized including Super Achiever Leader Award in Africa in 2016, Awarded Africa Women Leader 2018.

VILOSHNA PACKIRY POULLE​

VILOSHNA PACKIRY POULLE

Head of Finance & Business Support

Viloshna is an experienced finance professional with 18 years of expertise in strategic financial planning, financial analysis, cash flow management, systems and controls implementation, financial reporting, and continuous process improvements. She currently serves as Head of Finance & Business Support, where she has successfully automated and leveraged the financial reporting system capabilities to ensure efficient company operations.

Viloshna’s background includes senior roles in a multinational pharmaceutical company and a large listed Mauritian conglomerate. Her meticulous attention to detail and strategic thinking have streamlined financial processes, making her a valuable addition to any finance team. Viloshna is a qualified finance professional with an FCCA qualification and an MBA, bringing valuable expertise to any organization.

In her current role, Viloshna leads the company’s Treasury and Payments function, including the fulfillment of the company’s cross-border payments into Africa. With her strong educational background and extensive experience, Viloshna consistently demonstrates her ability to optimize financial operations, minimize risks, and improve profitability. Her expertise in financial reporting and process improvements make her a valuable asset to any organization.

MARK DU PREEZ​

MARK DU PREEZ

Head of Legal & Compliance

A qualified lawyer who joined Africa HR Solutions in July 2020, Mark Du Preez has experience working in private practice for a reputable law firm in South Africa. He also played commercially focused roles at a leading private bank, wealth management company, and outsourcing firm in South Africa and Mauritius.

Mark has played a pivotal role in Africa HR Solution’s risk mitigation strategy, which positively impacted P&L performance over the years.

He currently leads the Partnerships function of the company including relationships and oversight with in-country partners (ICPs) across Africa.

Alex Daruty - Africa HR Team

ALEX DARUTY

Head of Commercial

Alex has more than 15 years of experience in the global, strategic development of both enterprise and consumer brands in categories including technology, transport, enterprise software, entertainment, and travel.

With experience in roles on both agency and corporate side, he has worked across international brands and has led the development and execution of multi-discipline campaigns across EMEA, NORAM and Asia Pacific.

His focus is on driving meaningful business impact through brand differentiation and building high-functioning, digitally oriented, and analytically driven capabilities. He is motivated by working with, and developing dynamic people, teams, and organizations.

He leads, manages, develops and mentors the Key Account Management department, including line management responsibility for the team of Key Account Managers and Key Account Administrator who represent the Company as the primary communication link between all relevant stakeholders, including clients, third party in-country partners and internal functions.

Originally from Mauritius, he holds bachelor’s degrees in International Business, Finance and Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.