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The New Labour Law

The New Labour Law

  • Tiago Arouca Mendes • Managing Partner & Ana Berta Mazuze • Senior Associate, MDR Advogados

With the aim of adjusting the labour reality to the dynamics of Mozambique’s socio-economic development and to ensure greater protection of the rights of employers and employees, Law no. 13/2023 of 25 August (Labour Law) was passed, repealing Law no. 23/2007 of 1 August, the “old” Labour Law.

The legislation that had been in force since 2007 was out of step with the current reality, in a country that has been undergoing various socio-economic transformations, particularly with the growing discovery of various natural resources that have attracted foreign investment.

With the covid-19 pandemic, which has had damaging consequences for the country and the world and has had direct consequences in the labour area, companies have had to reinvent themselves in order to guarantee the safe continuity of work activities. The new law therefore enshrines new labour regimes that are in line with the changes that have taken place in recent years.

There are a number of relevant changes that have been introduced by the Labour Law, such as the introduction of new modalities like teleworking, which, like other regimes such as contract work, intermittent, free, seasonal and private agency work, will be regulated by special legislation.

Like the old legislation, the new one makes some types of employment contracts subject to the written form, namely service commission, domicile, contract work, temporary, use, intermittent and teleworking. Provision is made for the multi-employment regime, which gives workers the power to enter into employment contracts with several employers.

The Labour Law presents improvements at various levels, having sought to change the regulation of some regimes that were out of step with social reality

Under the new Labour Law, maternity and paternity protection is strengthened. In addition to normal holidays, workers are entitled to maternity leave corresponding to a period of 90 consecutive days, which can begin 20 days before the expected date of childbirth.

The employee is now entitled to paternity leave corresponding to a period of seven days from the day after the birth of the child.

The system for hiring foreign workers has not undergone any significant changes, and the principles already laid down in the old Labour Law have been maintained. However, the creation of a new category of company, micro-enterprises, can be highlighted:

  • Micro-employer – the one that employs up to ten workers;
  • Small employer – those employing 11 to 30 workers;
  • Medium employer – those employing between 30 and 100 workers;
  • Large employer – those employing more than 100 workers.

Micro-employers will be able to hire up to 15% foreign workers, while the quotas provided for in the old Labour Law for small, medium and large employers will be maintained.

Another important aspect that has been amended is the compensation scheme to be paid to workers in the event of the employer terminating their employment contract for just cause. The system provided for in the old Labour Law was contested by trade union organisations because it was unfavourable to workers when compared to the system that preceded the old law.

On this basis, the Labour Law makes a small adjustment, giving 15 days’ pay to workers whose basic salary, including the seniority bonus, corresponds to between seven and 18 minimum wages; and five days’ pay to workers whose basic salary, including the seniority bonus, corresponds to more than 18 minimum wages.

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With regard to the disciplinary power that the employer has over the worker, under the Labour Law the employer is prohibited from abusing this power, with the effect of sanctioning the payment of compensation to workers. The special sanctions for non-compliance with the rules established in the new law are extended.

As you can see, the Labour Law presents improvements at various levels, having sought to change the regulation of some regimes that were out of step with social reality.

However, there is clearly a need to produce complementary legislation, such as the regulation of teleworking (mentioned above), in order to achieve the objectives that guided the approval of this new law.

It should be noted that Law no. 13/2023, of 25 August, has a vacatio legis of 180 days, so it will only come into force on 21 February 2024. Until then, the old Labour Law will remain in force.

After the new legislation comes into force, employers and their employees will have to pay attention to the transitional rules in order to ensure compliance with its provisions.

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