Most common method is advertisement in local newspapers. Further, there are employment agencies in Botswana to find local or regional talent.  Campus recruitment at University or other Tertiary Institutions is yet to become a common practice. Same is the case with online portals.


Employment or self employment of Expatriates


Work permit is granted for people with skills or qualifications that no Motswana (citizen of Botswana) is shown to possess. Employer needs to advertise for the position in local newspapers and should fail to get citizen applicants, as a pre-condition to application of work permits. Where expatriates are employed, employers should submit a training and localization programme with a view to replacing the expatriate with a Motswana understudy (who should be employed) at the end of the training period. Residence permit should also be obtained together with work permit.


Residence and work permits are granted to investors and self-employed persons, based on investment, membership with professional bodies, experience track record and market being available for the skills practised.  Tax clearnance certificates, licences, lease deeds, investment proof, bank statements, company incorporation documents, evidencen of corporate social responsibilities discharged, etc. need to be submitted for self-employed permit.


In case of dependents, residence permits are granted when financial and moral support is available,  Usually dependent permits are granted to parents over 65 years or children under 18 years of age.  Dependent resident permit holders are not allowed to work in Botswana.


Permanent residence permit is given upon application to residents who have resided in Botswana for a period of 5 years or more.  Minister has powers to grant permanent residence to residents who have contributed to economic growth of Botswana, notably.  The principal consideration is the contribution that the applicant has made to the economy of Botswana in terms of skills transfer, employment, investment, export, import substitution and such economic and social development efforts.


Under Immigration Exemption Order Botswana Investment and Trade Centre carries authority to apply for Exemption directly to the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs in respect of expatriates who will hold the position of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Office, Chief Marketing Officer, Operations Officer and Chief Information Officer.  This is an investor facilitiation measure.


Employment Contract


A written employment contract is a common practice observed in Botswana. The essence of the contract of employment is that the employer should provide work and employee should place his services at the disposal of employer. Wages and other terms of conditions are agreed in the employment contract. Contracts are also asked for by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service with a view to verifying the taxable income or benefit of the employee.


Basic Conditions of Employment


The ordinary working period of 8 hours a day or 48 hours per 6 –day week or 9 hours per day for a 5- day week. Rest period of at least 24 hours in a period of 7 consecutive working days and 30 hours in the case of shift employees.


Wages paid to security guards, workers in manufacturing industry, hotels, restaurants, wholesale and retail trade should not be less than the minimum wage which in most cases is about P 7 per hour (around 60 US Cents in June 2021).  Leave with pay should not be less than 15 days in a year.  8 of these days should be used before the first half of the following year or they elapse. Unexpired leave may be carried forward for 3 years after which it elapses. Leave pay is due when employment is terminated. Sick leave should not be less than 21 days in a year. Further severance pay is payable upon conclusion of employment or in 5 year rests when so demanded by employees.  Severance is paid at the rate of 1 day per month of service upto 5 years of employment and 2 days for each month worked beyond 5 years.  Employment is deemed confirmed after probation period, where it is so specified. Probation is normally 3 months for unskilled employees and can extend upto 12 months for skilled employees. During maternity leave allowed for 6 weeks employees should be paid 50% of their normal wage. Some of these issues are discussed in greater detail later in this Chapter.


Occupational Health and Safety


Employers are required to provide safe and healthy work environment, protective clothing and equipment where required, training and supervision to ensure health and safety standards are adhered to. Employers are required to report incidences of accidents at work or death when dangerous situations arise. Employees also have a duty to report unsafe and unhealthy work environments and they, themselves, must obey and observe health and safety rules. Employers are required to cause compensation to be paid for disablement, death, caused by occupational injuries or diseases contracted by employees in the course of their employment. Without satisfactory health and safety measures employers will not be able to get trading and manufacturing licenses or registrations or permissions required to conduct various business activities. These are also pre-requisites for registration for manufacturing companies under Factories Act.


Retirement, Pension and Medical Aid


Retirement, Pension and medical aid funds are registered with Non Bank Financial Regulatory Authority.  Only registered pension and retirement funds and medical societies can conduct business in the related field.  It is, therefore, not possible for employers to run their own funds under their administration and they are required to subscribe to registered funds. It is not, however, compulsory for employers to contribute to any of these funds or medical aid. What is compulsory is payment of severance pay or gratuity at the end of the contract period, which is not normally less than the severance pay otherwise payable.

Government has placed medical facilities within easy reach of members of public. But contribution to medical aid is for access to private hospitals and clinics. Medical Aid Societies reimburse medical expenses incurred even outside Botswana by the members, subject to their rules and regulations.


Severance Pay


Severance pay computed at a day's pay for a month of service upto 5 years and 2 days per month thereafter, is payable upon termination of contract. It is not payable where the employee benefits from pension or gratuity.  One-third of the severance pay or retirement benefit is tax exempt while the other two-thirds is taxed according to marginal rates of tax applicable to individuals.  The employee is allowed to contribute to a pension fund a maximum of 15% of his remuneration for tax reasons.  Employers may contribute upto 20% of the employee remuneration.  On retirement the employee may commute 1/3 of his total retirement benefit while the remaining 2/3 is applied to purchase a retirement annuity which will be payable monthly for the remainder of the life of the pensioner


Payment of Wages


Wage period for casual workers is a maximum of one week and for others, a maximum of one month. Wages are paid, latest, within three working days after the last day of the wage period and during working hours and at designated workplace. Payment of wages- in- kind is limited to 40% of employee`s wages. Only certain deductions are permitted from the wages and will include:- Income Tax withholding tax (PAYE), pension contribution, recovery of advance payment and amount relating to leave without pay. Attachment of wages is not permitted if the result is undue hardship to an employee and his family. Wages for partial performance are prorated by reference to any period of work to length of period worked. Payment of wages has priority over payment to the judgment creditors.


Female Employees


Female employees proceeding on maternity leave are paid a maternity allowance of not less than 50% of basic pay in three installments (for 3 months), first for a period of absence to the day of confinement after informing the employer of the date of confinement, second, for period of absence of 6 weeks immediately after day of confinement and the third, where period of absence is extended for a further 2 weeks due to illness arising out of confinement.  If the female employee is given notice of termination of her employment for no good cause she will remain entitled to maternity allowance.


Period of maternity leave is 8 weeks from date of confinement.  Further the employer is required to allow all the female employees time to nurse their children for half hour twice a day or for one hour in the morning or in the afternoon as may be agreed with the employer. Medical expenses in connection with pregnancy are however borne by the female employee and not by the employer.


Employment of Casual Workers


Where an Employer engages casual workers he is required to keep a record of casual workers for a period of two years. Upon winding up of the business in which casual workers were employed all the registers are deposited with the Commissioner of Labour.


Employment of Children and Young Persons


No employer is permitted to employ children or young persons who are aged not more than 14 years unless if, in the case of a young person, Commissioner of Labour allows the employment, terms and conditions applying.


Breaches of Employment Contract


A party, who breaches a contract of employment with result that the contract ceases, is required to pay to the other party compensation equivalent to basic pay that would accrue to the employee during the minimum lawful period of notice. If the termination is unlawful, then the employee may approach Labour Conciliation Office for mediation, whose findings may be produced as evidence in Labour Court, because any recommendation made during conciliation court need not necessarily by accepted by either party.


Termination of Employment


Contract of employment terminates when a specified piece of work is completed or specified period of time expires or otherwise when lawfully terminated. A minimum period of notice of one month is prescribed by law and must be given by either party to a contract of employment. Either party may waive the requirement of a notice. If notice is not given the party in default pays the other party an amount equal to basic pay for the period a notice is required to be given or where notice is given and is partly observed, the basic pay equal to remainder of the notice period. If notice is given during probation period, 14 days is the notice period required.

Redundancy to ensure efficient operations of the undertaking is a valid reason for lawful termination. Those to be retrenched first are those who were first employed but it should not compromise efficient operations or lead to loss of essential services staff. Employment within six months after retrenchment in the occupations affected by redundancy should give preference to former employees.


Certificate of Service

Employer is required to provide an outgoing employee with certificate of service upon termination of employment. The certificate shall be a plain certificate with no characterization of the employee.




An employer is required to pay costs of repatriation of an employee, whether or not he brought him to work, by direct route from Botswana to expatriate`s home country when a contract of employment expires by effluxion of time, the parties to the contact fail to fulfil the contract, the employer for just cause terminates the contract, both parties agree to terminate or termination is by order of court. Where the expatriate chooses to remain in Botswana for whatever reason or unreasonably delays the repatriation, the employer`s obligation to pay the repatriation expenses and costs will no longer apply. Should the Commissioner of Labour pay repatriation expenses and costs for emergency cases, the employer shall be liable to reimburse the Commissioner. The employer is exempted from repatriating an employee who has not completed 3 months at work or who has been fired for non – performance or for misconduct that has brought the organization into disrepute.


Summary Dismissal from Work


An employer may summarily lay off an employee if he has reasonable grounds to do so. In the majority of cases he may do so if an employee commits a serious misconduct that has brought the organization into disrepute or for repeated non- performance. Participation in trade union activities, representing workers at workplace, questioning employer's involvement in violation of law or based on race, tribe, place of origin, sex, marital status - these are never good reasons for summary dismissal.


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