Engage In Eswatini

Table of Contents

About Eswatini

Capital City

Mbabane

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Eswatini is 1.2 million.

Currency

The currency in Eswatini is the Swazi Lilangeni (SZL). The currency symbol is L.

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Overview

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is bordered by South Africa to the north, west, and south, and Mozambique to the east. Eswatini boasts a diverse geography, ranging from majestic mountains along the Mozambique border to expansive savannas and lush rainforests. The country operates under a monarchy system of government, with the king serving as the chief of state and the prime minister as the head of government. Eswatini’s economy is primarily based on subsistence agriculture, with a majority of the population engaged in farming for their livelihoods. The country is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). With its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant traditions, Eswatini offers a unique blend of history, wildlife, and welcoming communities, making it a fascinating destination for travelers and a country with a distinct identity in the region.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Employees who are hired for an indefinite term are considered permanent. Their contract can be terminated by either party by giving notice. Such employees are protected against unfair dismissal.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Fixed-term employment contracts that terminate upon the expiry of their stated duration are allowed by law. Employment contracts and written particulars of employment must clearly state that the contract is for fixed duration. Written contracts are not required for contracts made for a fixed period of 6 weeks or less and are not renewed. There is no statutory limit to the duration of contract. Fixed-term employees cannot claim remedy for unfair dismissal after the expiry of their term.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Casual employees are defined as those who are paid at the end of each day and who are not engaged for a longer period than 24 hours at a time. Seasonal contracts mean contracts of service, the period of which cannot be pre-determined, entered into for a particular season, or for work to be performed on or in connection with a special project. Such contracts can be terminated without a notice. There are no restrictions on use of casual contracts. They can be used for continuous employment. While employers are allowed to use employment agencies for hiring employees, there are no specific guidelines on hiring temporary employees.

Probationary Period

No probationary period shall, except in the case of employees engaged on supervisory, technical or confidential work, extend beyond 3 months. In the case of employees engaged on supervisory technical or confidential work, the probation period shall be fixed, in writing, between the employer and employee at the time of engagement. During probationary period, any party can terminate the employment contract without any notice.

Working Hours

Standard working hours for employees are determined in collective agreements by industry and by individual employment contracts. The normal working hours are 45 to 48 hours per week, spread over 5 or 6 days. Every employee shall receive one day off work each week and no employee shall be required to work on their day-off in successive weeks unless mutually agreed to by prior arrangement. Working hours for children must not exceed 6 hours per day or 33 hours per week.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

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Employees working on paid public holidays are entitled to premium payment depending on their industry level regulations. Employees working in the Building and Construction Industry are paid twice their wages for working on public holidays. If a paid public holiday falls during the annual leave of an employee, the period of the annual holiday shall be increased by one day in respect of that public holiday and wages payable to the employee in respect of the annual holiday shall include one day’s wages for each such public holiday.

Paid Annual Leave

Employees become entitled to 2 weeks' (12 days) paid annual leave after working for 1 year. This leave must be taken no later than 6 months after the completion of the year in which leave has been accrued. Annual leave is paid at the normal wage rate for the employee. Wages in respect of the paid annual holiday shall be paid in advance not later than the last working day preceding such holiday.  An employee who has taken 36 days' leave in a year for reasons other than sickness or maternity is not entitled to annual leave in that year. Employees can make an agreement with their employers to defer 1 week of their leave each year and accrue them for a maximum of 4 years. When an employment contract is terminated before the employee could utilize all accrued annual leave, they become entitled to be paid for those leave days. 

Sick Leave

Employees become entitled to a maximum of 14 days sick leave on full pay and a maximum of 14 days sick leave on half pay after working for the same employer for 3 months. Payment for sick leave are made by the employer at the employee’s basic rate of wages. Employees must provide a medical certificate to claim the benefit.

Maternity Leave

Female employees in Eswatini are entitled to 12 weeks maternity leave – six weeks before and six weeks after delivery. Only two weeks maternity leave is paid with full pay. They must have completed a year of service with the employer and submit a medical certificate to avail this benefit. They can avail next period of maternity leave after the lapse of 24 months from the last maternity leave. Employers must not terminate the services of, or give notice of such termination to an employee or require her to resign during her maternity leave, except in case of operational necessities. Employees are entitled to continue in their former work or equivalent work without loss of seniority or pay after maternity leave. 

Paternity Leave

There are no provisions for paternity leave in Eswatini.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

The minimum notice period for terminating an employment contract required by the Employment Act is as follows: If the period of continuous employment is less than 3 months – 1 week If the period of continuous employment is between 3 months and 12 months – 2 days for each completed month of continuous employment up to and including the twelfth month If the period of continuous employment is more than 12 months – 1 month and an additional 4 days for each completed year of continuous employment after the first year of such employment.  The minimum period of notice to be given by an employee who has been continuously employed by the same employer for a period of three months or more is one week or as determined by their contract. No notice is required for termination of contract during probation. Employees are entitled to 12 hours of paid leave each week during their notice period to look for jobs.

Severance Benefits

Employees whose contracts are terminated for reasons related to employers and due to no fault of their own are entitled to severance pay. The benefit is calculated at the rate of 10 days of wages per year of service in excess of the first year.

Social Security

Pension

The National Provident Fund of Eswatini provides retirement benefits to insured members. All employees must be registered into the fund by their employers. Contributions to the fund are paid by both employees and employers. The retirement age is 50 years (or 45 years for those who are retired due to permanent disability). If a member, having qualified for age benefit at 50 years, continues to work, the employer must continue to pay contributions for him/her. The employer must wait 2 years before claiming a benefit again. Upon retirement, the benefit is paid as an annuity or lump sum of total sum of the contributions paid and accrued interest. There is also a universal social welfare scheme funded by the government that grants age benefits to those citizens or permanent residents who reached 60 years of age. They must live in Eswatini to be eligible for benefits. The benefit is paid as SZL 500 (Swazi lilangeni) per month. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

Eswatini's National Provident Fund grants benefits to survivors of an insured member who dies before qualifying for a personal benefit. The survivors include family members. The total benefit paid to them is the total sum of the contributions paid and accrued interest in the deceased member's account. The benefit is shared among survivors in proportions that the member had submitted to the executive officer in writing.  If an employee dies due to a work-related injury or disease, the survivors of the deceased receive 48 times the monthly salary of the deceased. They are also paid a funeral grant of SZL 500. 

Invalidity Benefit

Eswatini's National Provident Fund provides disability benefits to insured members who become permanently disabled physically or mentally. There are no age requirements. The beneficiary must submit a doctor's medical report confirming his/her member’s incapacity to continue with gainful employment as a result of the accident or sickness or mental illness. The benefit is paid as an annuity or lump sum of total sum of the contributions paid and accrued interest. There is a universal social benefit scheme for Eswatini citizens and permanent residents who are permanently disabled. The grant is SZL 280 per month.  In case of disability due to work-related accidents or occupational diseases, employees are entitled to benefits paid by their employers (through insurance), depending on the type and degree of disability.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

In Eswatini, both residents and non-residents are subject to tax on their income. Non-residents are defined as persons who do not reside in Eswatini ordinarily. They are taxed on their income from sources in Eswatini. The tax year runs from July 1 to June 30.  Income tax rates are progressive ranging from 20% to 33%. Retired persons or those who are made redundant are eligible for concessionary rates of income tax. Income from dividends, rent and interest is taxed at a flat rate of 10% for residents and non-residents. Non-residents are taxed at 15% on their income from royalties or management fee. Non-residents are also taxed on income from shares, dividends, etc. at the rate of 15%.

Immigration

Types of Visas

Eswatini has the following categories of visa: Single entry – allows a single entry for a maximum of 3 months  Multiple entry – allows multiple entries for a maximum stay of 12 months  The following types of entry passes are also issued:  Transit pass – issued to those who enter Eswatini for the purpose of traveling to another destination for stay of up to a maximum of 7 days. Visitor's pass – issued to those traveling to Eswatini for temporary purposes such as holiday, business trip, etc, valid for a maximum of 6 months and does not allow employment. Student pass – issued to those who are accepted to study in an educational institute in Eswatini.   Dependent's pass – issued to family members who are dependent on citizens or permanent residents of Eswatini or those who have come for work. Special pass – issued to those who are entering the country to apply for their residence permits or conducting an appeal. 

Work Permit

Foreign nationals who enter Eswatini for employment are required to apply for a work permit. They must submit the following documents to the immigration department:  Complete application form (Form 3) 2 Passport size photos Covering letter of application from employer Proof of advertisement of the job post (Full Page) Original police clearance from the country of origin Qualification certificates Medical certificate The period of validity of any entry permit shall be at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer but may be renewed for further periods on the payment of the renewal fee, provided it is not issued or renewed for more than 5 years. When a permit holder's employment is terminated, the employer must report to the Chief Immigration Officer within 7 days.

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