Engage In Burundi

Table of Contents

About Burundi

Capital City

Bujumbura

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Burundi is 13.2 million.

Currency

The currency in Burundi is the Burundian Franc (BIF). The currency symbol is FBu.

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Overview

Burundi, located in east-central Africa, is a landlocked country known for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes. It is nestled in the Great Lakes region, bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country’s borders were not determined by colonial rulers, making it unique among African nations. Burundi is predominantly inhabited by the Hutu people, who have traditionally been farmers. However, power has often rested with the Tutsi minority, who historically controlled the army and the economy, particularly in coffee exports. The cultural and ethnic ties between the Hutu and Tutsi are historically close, as both communities speak Rundi (Kirundi). Despite the linguistic homogeneity, Burundi has been plagued by ethnic conflict since gaining independence from Belgium in 1962. This conflict has resulted in significant loss of life and property. Efforts to address ethnic tensions, such as international peacekeeping forces and power-sharing agreements, have had mixed success. The capital city of Bujumbura, located on the northeastern tip of Lake Tanganyika, showcases a blend of German and Belgian colonial architecture and a vibrant central market. Burundi remains committed to promoting unity, overcoming ethnic divisions, and rebuilding its nation.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

The labor law of Burundi defines permanent employees as employees who are hired for an indefinite time. All contracts without express duration are presumed to be for an indefinite term. Permanent employment contracts may include a trial clause; however, the trial must be expressed in writing.  Employers are required to maintain a register of permanent employees, containing the name, date of birth, nationality, qualifications, and the date of joining. 

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

In Burundi, the Labour Code prohibits hiring fixed-term contract workers for tasks of a permanent nature. The duration or maturity of fixed-term contracts is precisely agreed to between the parties. A fixed-term contract may be initiated in relation to a particular project, to replace an absent worker, or if there is exceptional or unusual additional work.  The continuation of services beyond the expiration date agreed upon, automatically constitutes the execution of a permanent contract. The fixed-term employment contract cannot be renewed more than twice except for temporary workers. For temporary workers, the employer should establish a long-term employment contract. 

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Employers may hire temporary employees only for a short period of time. The contract must be made in writing and include the social security contributions, employer obligations, employee obligations, and conditions of work. Even in the case of contracting temporary employees through a third party, employers must respect this requirement. The terms of the contract may not be prejudiced against the worker. 

Probationary Period

The Labor Code of Burundi dictates that a probation/trial period may not exceed the time required to evaluate the employee, given a profession’s technology and practice. A probation period cannot exceed 12 months for employees in occupations of higher responsibility (directors, officers, managers, etc) and 6 months for occupations of lower responsibility. The total term of a probation period for fixed-term contracts may not exceed one-third of the duration of the employment contract.

Working Hours

The regular working hours are 8 hours a day and 45 hours a week. Daily working hours in the civil service are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (paid and unpaid work). The Labour Code provides for weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours. 

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

New Year’s Day (January 1), Reconciliation Day (February 5), Commemoration of the Assassination of President Ntaryamira (April 6), Labour Day (May 1), Ascension Day (May 25), Independence Day (July 1), Assumption Day (August 15), Commemoration of the Assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore (October 13), Commemoration of the Assassination of President Ndadaye (October 21), All Saints’ Day (November 1), Christmas Day (December 25), Eid-el-Fitr and Eid-el-Hajj (Muslim religious holidays dates depend on the sighting of the moon).

Paid Annual Leave

In Burundi, labor law provides 20 days paid annual leave (one and two-thirds of a day for every month of service), after completion of 12 months of continuous service. The duration of annual leave is determined either by collective agreement or by the concerned Ministry after consulting the National Labor Council. Length of annual leave increases by at least one paid day for every additional four years of service. The amount of benefits during annual leave is equal to the daily wage of the employee. The annual leave may be split. However, its minimum duration in a term cannot be shorter than six continuous weekdays between two weekly rest days. Annual leave can be accumulated for two years.

Sick Leave

The maximum duration of sick leave is up to 3 months in a calendar year. Compensation for sick leave is equal to at least 66.7% of the daily wage a worker received before getting sick. The employment contract remains suspended and may not be terminated during sick leave, except in case of gross misconduct or force majeure.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to a maternity leave of 12 weeks with full pay, including 6 weeks of prenatal leave. Maternity leave may be extended up to 14 weeks, at least 6 of which must be taken after birth.  Employers must pay pregnant employees 50% of their wages as allowances during maternity leave and all the benefits in kind they received earlier. The Social Security Institute covers the remaining 50% of the wages. An employee cannot be dismissed during the period of her maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

In Burundi, employees are entitled to 4 fully paid paternity leave days upon the birth of their child.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

The minimum notice period for termination of employment contract by an employer is: 1 month if the employee has seniority (work experience with the firm) of less than 3 years 45 days if the employee has seniority of 3 to 5 years Two months if the employee has seniority of 5 to 10 years Three months if the employee has seniority of more than 10 years If an employee initiates the termination of the employment contract, the period of notice is half of the above notice requirements. The notice period can be waived and substituted by compensation. During a trial period, either party may terminate the employment contract at any time and without notice during the first month of probation. The required notice during the trial period is three days after a worker has completed one month of probation.

Severance Benefits

Severance benefit is not payable to a worker employed on daily wages or in the case of dismissal for gross negligence or dismissed during probation. For individual and collective dismissals, the rate of severance pay is as follows: Half average monthly salary for workers with seniority of less than 3 years One average monthly salary for workers with seniority of 3-5 years Two average monthly salaries for workers with seniority of 5-10 years Three average monthly salaries for workers with seniority of more than 10 years

Social Security

Pension

For full old-age pension, a worker must have attained 60 years of age (with a few exceptions) with at least 180 months (15 years) of contributions. The old-age pension for the first 15 years is 30% of a worker’s average monthly earnings. The pension increases by 2% of average monthly earnings for each 12-month period of coverage exceeding 180 months. The maximum pension is 80% of the insured worker’s average monthly earnings, and the minimum amount is 60% of the national minimum wage.  The contributions to the National Social Security Institute are made by both employees and employers.

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

Invalidity Benefit

In case of disability persisting longer than 3 months, caused by an illness or accident of non-professional origin, insured persons become eligible to receive a disability pension if they are under the retirement age, have suffered a permanent reduction of 66% in earning capacity, and have at least three years of insurance coverage.  The pension is calculated as 30% of a worker's average monthly earnings for the first 15 years of coverage, increased by 2% of average monthly earnings for each 12-month period of coverage exceeding 180 months. The maximum pension is 80% of the insured worker's average monthly earnings, and the minimum amount is 60% of the national minimum wage.  There is a separate scheme for disability due to work accidents or diseases covered by employers. It covers costs for medical treatment and allowances, depending on the type and degree of disability. 

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

In Burundi, the tax assessment year runs from July 1 through June 30. Personal income tax applies to all income made by physical persons, including salary, commercial, industrial or services activities, as well as capital gains.  For residents, income from employment is taxed progressively from 0% to 30%, while the income of non-residents is taxed at a flat rate of 15%.

Immigration

Types of Visas

Transit visa – issued to persons who are traveling to another country through Burundi. They must be in possession of a valid passport and ticket for onward journey and cannot exit the airport transit area. Entry visa – issued to foreign citizens for single or multiple entries for 30 or 60 days Residence visa – a renewable visa issued to foreign citizens who wish to stay in Burundi for more than 90 days and up to 2 years. Establishment visa – issued to foreign citizens who have stayed in Burundi for at least 10 years. Exit-return visa – issued to foreign citizens with an establishment visa who leave Burundi, even for a short duration

Work Permit

Foreign nationals who wish to work regularly in Burundi must obtain a work permit. Work permits are issued by the Director of Labor Inspection for up to 2 years and must be renewed 1 month prior to their expiry.

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