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Employment

HUMAN RESOURCES

Sierra Leone has abundant semiskilled and unskilled labour. Though the civil war shrank the workforce, including the number of mangers and skilled workers, many such workers are returning to the country. Wages in Sierra Leone are lower than in most other West African countries across all labour categories.

WORK WEEK AND PAY

The work week in Sierra Leone is 40 hours, with two mandatory consecutive days off. Work beyond 40 hours is paid at 50 percent overtime and work required on rest days is paid at 100 percent overtime.

WORKER DISMISSAL

Companies can find employees redundant for commercial or financial reasons after trying and failing to find them alternative employment, in consultation with unions. Employers must discharge workers based on seniority, with junior workers dismissed first, and give two months notice and pay redundancy compensation based on years of service. For example, an employer must pay a worker with 14 years’ seniority more than 2 years’ salary as compensation, while an employer must pay a worker with 20 years’ seniority more than 3.5 years compensation.

Workers can be dismissed in a reasonably straightforward manner for incompetence, inefficiency, violation of rules, or serious offenses. After two written warnings, employees can be dismissed without compensation. There is an appeals process through employer-union consultations and possible intervention by the commissioner of labour. The industrial Court hears dismissal cases and other disputes.

NATIONAL PENSION PLAN

The government pension fund and the National Social Security and insurance Trust (NaSSIT) offer employment insurance. NaSSIT the national pension plan created in 2001, is responsible for administering retirement and other benefits to meet the contingency needs of workers and their dependants. In June 2008 NaSSIT was responsible for providing insurance to about 141,500 public and private workers. Contributions to NaSSIT are mandatory: employers must pay 10 percent of each worker’s salary, and work