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Global HR Compliance in Afghanistan

Any enterprise could not function properly without a thorough learning of the labor legislation of the country in which it carries out business. If the company does not develop internal regulations in accordance with the local legislation of Afghanistan, then it will inevitably face a number of problems. Any conflicts that employees initiate in such a situation will be resolved not in favor of the company.

Cooperation with Acumen International helps companies solve the problems of functioning and development in a market economy by reducing costs, accelerating adaptation to external conditions, improving the quality of products and services, reducing risks.

The war for global talent has never been tougher. Attracting and keeping sought-after international employees requires knowledge. Whether your company is already engaging or planning to engage global workforce in Afghanistan, you need to trust that your operations are executed without flaw and without any unnecessary risks.

Businesses of all sizes face a devastating lack of information and support on global employment, taxation, and immigration in Afghanistan. There’s a common and significant gap between what’s required to be 100% compliant and what most organizations actually have at their disposal.

Acumen International can fill the gap in fragmented Global HR Compliance knowledge

We are experts in global workforce employment in Afghanistan, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

We act as an information service for corporate clients, agencies, and independent contractors and freelancers. Our Global HR Compliance service in Afghanistan will help you:

  1. Navigate legislation and local nuances of Afghanistan. You need to know what is acceptable and what can expose you to employment litigation as well as employee / independent contractor misclassification risk in Afghanistan.
  2. Avoid areas of possible risk. Certain areas and activities can create unnecessary risk, such as employer-employee relations. We can help you with worker classification, payroll and tax calculations, and social cost contributions.
  3. Handle currency exchanges and local invoicing in Afghanistan. We save you time and effort, freeing you from having to understand complicated regulations and tax calculations written in the local language and subject to frequent changes.
  4. Create employment contracts and handle compliant engagements. Our objective is to assist you with international HR compliance issues and offer you the best payment and taxation options in Afghanistan.
  5. Manage expatriate immigration and visa support nuances in Afghanistan. Acumen International provides information about the best scenarios of expat immigration and employment.
  6. Handle global recruitment issues. We can help you select the person and then employ him with our help. We advise you on local employment laws and implied compliance risks to determine the most cost-effective, compliant, and risk-free solution for you.
  7. Withdraw from the region in the least risky and most cost-effective way. If you choose to do so, we can help you withdraw from the region as simply as possible.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Afghanistan.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Afghanistan Guide

# Employment contracts

The labour contracts may be concluded upon the following conditions:

  • Qualification, competence and citizenship of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
  • Completion of 18 years of age for employees and contractual workers in the field of light industries.
  • Completion of 15 years of age for the employees and contractual workers in the field of light industries.
  • Completion of 14 years of age for apprentices.
  • Completion of health certificate through health centers.
  • Obtaining of introductory letter from the Department of Labor & Social Affairs which shall have the status of work permit.
  • Completion of national army service or submission of exemption or respite certificate in case of becoming of age to be drafted and summoned for national army service.
  • Submission of financial guarantee by those workers who are employed as custodians of cash or kind.
  • Calculation and determination of the employment age shall take place regardless of months and days according to the year of birth as recorded in the identity card at the time of employment and shall be recorded in the personal file of the worker. Changes brought in the age as recorded in the personal file of the workers after employment shall not be valid.

The labour contract shoul be concluded in written form and for the next periods of time:

  • for a period of time not less than one year (the maximum duration of a fixed-term employment contract shall be one year, which can be extended for the same term with the mutual consent of the partie).
  • for an uncertain period of time.
  • for a definite or seasonal work.

# Minimum (Statutory) Employment Rules and Regulations in Afghanistan

# Hours of work:
According to the labour legislation of Afghanistan the normal working hours, which on average during the course of the year should not exceed 40 hours per week. Besides, hours of work on Thursdays shall not exceed 5 hours. Annual balance of hours of work calculation, total estimation of the used hours of work, regulating start and end of hours of work, defining timetable and shifts, as well as other issues related to the nature of work shall be arranged and fixed as recommended by the General Department of Labor & Social Affairs and approved by the Council of Ministers of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Prayer and lunch break is for one hour that is not included in the official working time. It is regulated by the internal rules of the organization.

# Probation period:
The both parties of the contract by their mutual agreement can fix a work probationary period. During this period of time that may not exceed three months, the parties may terminate the contract by notifying each one. If the Probationary contract is not terminated when it expires, the same contract may prolong with the same terms and conditions. The employer has no discretion whatsoever in any given circumstance to extend this probationary period.

The period of absence resulting from temporary incapability to work, temporary suspension of work, production, or from other justifiable factors shall not be calculated in the probationary period.

The probationary period shall not be defined in respect of the following persons:

  • Apprentices and those who have not completed 15 years of age.
  • Graduates of higher, secondary, professional, technical and vocational educational institutions.
  • Workers who are transferred to other organizations.
  • Temporarily or permanently handicapped persons.

# Annual leave:
An employee is entitled to 20 days’ paid annual leave. An employee below the age of 18 is entitled to 25 days’ annual leave, and an employee involved in underground and arduous work or work that is injurious to health is entitled to 30 days’ annual leave.

Annual leave is taken at the convenience of both the employee and the employer; an employee can take the allowed 20 days of annual leave consecutively, and if the employer cannot grant the employee annual leave due to an urgent matter, any annual leave not taken may be carried forward with the consent of the employee. Furthermore, if the employer has an urgent need, annual leave can be divided into 10 days for every six months. Moreover, a newly employed employee can take annual leave only upon completion of 11 months of work with an employer. An employee whose employment contract is less than a year but not less than three months may take annual leave proportionate to the term of the contract.

The employee is entitled to ten days’ essential leave with pay every year. Urgent leave in spread-about form, not exceeding three days, can be utilised through sending a notice and beyond that period through a written request. Workers are entitled to (10) days of urgent leave in the following cases: 1- Marriage, 2- Death of Father, Mother, brother, Sister, spouse, son, father in law, mother in law, uncle, aunt and birth of a new baby.

# Parental leave:
A female employee is entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave. Thirty days of this leave is granted to her before delivery and the rest (sixty days) is granted to her after delivery. In case she is going to have an abnormal type of delivery; gives birth to a twin or more than a twin, 15 day more paid leave will be granted to her. Salary and other supplementary allowances of the staff will be executed to her on the basis of the valid certificates issued by the relevant hospitals. After the completion of the maternity leave, the staff has to report to duty within five days. If she fails to do so, she will not be entitled to the privileges.

# Sick leave:
The employee is entitled to 20 days of sick leave with pay and other allowances per year. Employee’s sick leave for up to three days can be granted on the basis of a written notice. If the employee’s sickness lasts for more than three consecutive days, then a certificate of the medical doctor of the health institute and, in places without physicians, the certificate of the village headman or Province, will be 15 considered as valid certificates. In case the employee is covered under the medical insurance plan, the certificate from the doctor of the medical insurance company is valid. In case the employee requires more than 20 days of sick leave he/she may utilize of his other leaves as well.

If the employee’s sickness lasts for longer than 20 days, additional paid leave can be granted to him/her if a certificate of the competent governmental and or non-governmental health center is produced.

# Overtime:
In accordance with the Labour Law, a worker performing any work over and above the legally allowed working hours (ie, 40 hours per week) is entitled to overtime pay. The Labour Law has further categorised the circumstances in which work over and above the legally allowed working hours is considered as overtime:

  • in cases where performance of work may not be delayed and is required for public services;
  • in cases where performance of work is required for prevention or removal of industrial or social accidents or waste;
  • in cases where performance of work is required to repair or restore damaged machines if the malfunctioning leads to stoppage of work for a large number of employees;
  • in cases where performance of work is required to remove unforeseen circumstances that prevent the normal functioning of social services (eg, water supply, heating, lighting, sewerage, transportation, communications, health and other allied social services);
  • in cases where performance of work is required to complete work that was started previously and whose non-completion would lead to material damage;
  • in cases where performance of work is required to continue work due to absence of a shift worker and the interruption of work would lead to material delay in the delivery of work; and
  • in cases where performance of work is required by the employee or organisation as determined by the relevant person in charge.

The Regulation on Overtime, 2011 (the Overtime Regulation) governs the method of calculating the payments to be made in lieu of overtime work performed. Article 6 of the Overtime Regulation provides for the method for calculation of payment for overtime work performed as follows:

  • Overtime pay for normal working days – one hour of overtime payment is equal to a 25 per cent increase of the monthly wage or salary of an employee divided by the average number of working hours in a month.
  • Overtime pay for holidays – one hour of overtime payment is equal to a 50 per cent increase of the monthly wage or salary of an employee divided by the average number of working hours in a month.

Furthermore, article 7 of the Overtime Regulation states that allowances and fringe benefits are also considered as part of the base wage or salary for the purposes of calculating overtime payment. In a non-governmental organisation, overtime work payments can be made to an employee with the consent of the employer and the employee, in accordance with Overtime Regulation.

# State minimum salary:
The Afghanistan minimum wage rate is 5,000 Afghani per month for government workers with no minimum set for private sector workers, but labor law forbids a lower wage. Informal sector day workers have no minimum wage set by law. Afghanistan’s minimum wage was last changed in January 01, 2014.

# Employee dismissal:
Pursuant to the Labour Law, the employer is under an obligation to give one month’s notice prior to dismissal. However, the employer can terminate the contract with immediate effect, provided such term is included in the employment contract. Further, the employer has to provide payments in lieu of notice.

An employer can dismiss or terminate the employee with or without a cause by serving the employee with one month’s notice of the termination of the employment contract. The Labour Law provides for the circumstances wherein an employment contract can be terminated:

  • agreement of parties;
  • completion of term in a fixed-term contract;
  • retirement;
  • death;
  • disability that hinders the performance of work;
  • cessation of work for more than six months;
  • dissolution of the organisation or reduction in the number of staff;
  • final conviction that prevents an employee from working;
  • repeated breach of work regulations after application of disciplinary punishments;
  • refusal by the employee to work after being reassigned to previous duty; and
  • an unsatisfactory probationary period.

Furthermore, the Labour Law provides for the procedure to be followed if an employee violates labour discipline. The employer shall apply disciplinary penalties based on the following steps:

  • upon the first instance of a violation, the employee may advise the employee of the violation;
  • upon a second disciplinary violation, the employer may give a warning to the employee;
  • upon a severe violation, the employer may deduct an amount from the salary of the employee;
  • for further violations, the employer may transfer the employee; and
  • finally, the employer may terminate the employee’s contract.

Also, the Labour Law provides for instances wherein the employer shall have the right to terminate the employment contract:

  • absence for 20 consecutive days from work without good cause; and
  • in the event that a warning, deduction of salary or transfer of employee is applied more than once during a year.

If the employee is dismissed illegally from job, and re-employed to the previous job after decision of the Dispute Settlment Commisions or court decision, his/her wages and other benefits of dismissal period is paid as per average wage and other benefit of the last six months prior to dismissal.

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