Practice Area Articles


February 05, 2024

By Paul Hastings Professional

Back to International Employment Law



Extensive revisions to main labour legislation

On 27 December 2023, revisions to the General Labour Law (initially passed in June 2015) (the “GLL”) were published and now come into force within 90 days of the publication date. The purpose of the revisions is to create a better balance between the rights of the employer and the employee and comprises various major changes:

  1. Employment contracts must now be for an indefinite period, and it will only be possible to use fixed term contracts when companies can justify this, with reference to the exhaustive list of reasons provided by law. The maximum duration of fixed-term employment contracts will now vary between 6, 12, 36 and 60 months, depending on the rationale for the use of the fixed-term contract. All fixed- term contracts must be in writing and must expressly state the reason for fixing the term of the contract.
  2. The law includes a section on women workers, gender equality and discrimination which includes provision for maternity leave and paternity leave.
  3. It eliminates the previous law which resulted in different methods to assess remuneration and compensation on termination based on the size of the employer.

The new law provides for two new disciplinary sanctions, namely temporary downgrading and unpaid suspension. For any dismissals based upon objective reasons, there will now be a compulsory phase of information and consultation with the employee representative bodies as well as greater involvement by the labour authorities. The threshold for collective dismissals based on objective reasons will be reduced from 20 workers to 5 workers. Both processes will be subject to increased regulation, which will make it more difficult for employers to validly dismiss employees.

With thanks to Karen Fulton, Sian Gaffney, Aneesa Valodia, and Layla Shah of Bowmans and Adail Cardoso of Fatima Freitas & Assodiados for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




General Labor Law

A preliminary bill of the General Labor Law (“GLL”) is under discussion in the National Assembly of Angola. Currently, there is an urgent need for the GLL to comply with the international conventions and agreements ratified by Angola, seven years after the approval of the last GLL. The GLL approved in 2015 calls for harmonization with the guarantee and implementation of the legal and constitutional principles of job security and fair compensation. And, on the other hand, the diploma revealed itself, in the Angolan context, as an advance incompatible with the social and economic reality of the country, thus generating a mismatch between the social reality considered within the scope of normative predictability and the concrete social reality of the country.

The bill indicates that Angola registered, in real terms, an average quarterly reduction in the production of goods and services of 2.41%, between the 1st quarter of 2019 and the 2nd quarter of 2021. As expected, unemployment during the period increased by 5.33 percentage points from 28.8% in the 1st quarter of 2019 to 34.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2021. The bill seeks to reconcile the interests of employers, employees and society in general so that respect and observance of employees’ rights can be guaranteed. It is clear that respect and observance of employees’ rights cannot be a factor that discourages economic growth.

The main changes of this initiative relate to mandatory reduction of fixed-term employment contracts in writing; introduction of justification for entering into a fixed-term contract; the reduction of the duration limit of the contract for a fixed term; the introduction, in special contracts, of the figure of the Telework Contract and the Service Commission Employment Contract; the introduction of Personality Rights in the Project, especially Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Physical and Moral Integrity, Reservation of Privacy of Private Life and Protection of Personal Data, respectively; elimination of the distinction between companies based on their size in terms of the duration of a fixed-term contract; reconfiguration of the criteria for setting additional remuneration, as well as determining indemnities and compensation, to name a few. Employers should be sure to keep abreast of updates regarding the bill.



The regime for the exercise of work activity in telework was approved through Presidential Decree No. 52/22, of February 17, which regulates the situations that allow the adoption of this regime, as well as the cases in which its adoption is mandatory, and the form and content of the special contract to be concluded. Questions relating to work instruments, additional expenses, duties and rights of the worker, working hours and the right to privacy are also regulated. This diploma came into force on 19 March 2022; however, it has some gaps that we believe may be filled in the bill of GLL.


Increase in the national minimum wage

Presidential Decree No. 54/22, of 17 February, updated as of 17 February 2022, the value of the national minimum wage by economic sector. The national minimum wage was defined as (i) AOA 48,271.73 for the commerce and extractive industry sectors; (ii) AOA 40,226.44 for the transport, services and manufacturing sectors; and (iii) AOA 32,181.15 for agriculture and economic activities not included in the previous categories. The update of the determined national minimum wage represents an increase of around 50% of the minimum amounts previously defined by Presidential Decree No. 89/19, of March 21. In case the bill of GLL is approved in 2023, these amounts must be taken into account.

With thanks to Karen Fulton, Tshepo Mokoana and Tarika Patel of Bowmans for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




Proposed updates to the Civil Procedure Code

The proposed updates to the Civil Procedure Code, which would also be applicable to labour legal proceedings, set out an outline for a model of civil procedure that guarantees the certainty and security of the law based on the freedom and autonomy of the parties and the prevalence of material truth over formal truth. If passed, these proposals would simplify existing procedures and would ensure that the Civil Procedure Code more closely reflects the structuring principles of the Angolan Constitution.


Proposed updates to the General Labor Law

Proposals have been made to amend the new General Labor Law, which will revoke the Labor Law No. 7/15 of 15 June if passed. If the proposals are passed, one of the main changes the new law will bring is that it will establish distinctive regimes for large, medium, small and micro-sized companies. We understand that it will also include revisions in respect of the rules around compensation and indemnities to workers on termination of their employment contracts and other issues not yet raised at public level.



For More Information

Image: Suzanne Horne
Suzanne Horne

Partner, Employment Law Department

Image: Aashna Parekh
Aashna Parekh

Associate, Employment Law Department

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