Engage In Gambia

Table of Contents

About Gambia

Capital City

Banjul

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Gambia is 2.7 million.

Currency

The currency in Gambia is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD). The currency symbol is D.

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Overview

The Gambia is a small West African republic located on the banks of the Gambia River. Officially known as the Republic of The Gambia, it is bordered by Senegal on all sides except for a short coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. With a land area of 10,689 square kilometers, The Gambia is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. The nation has a diverse ethnic composition, with major groups including the Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Jola, Soninke, and Serer. English is the official language, but numerous local languages are spoken as well. The country gained independence from the United Kingdom on February 18, 1965, and has since developed into a unitary presidential republic. Adama Barrow currently serves as the President, with Banjul as the capital city. The Gambia is characterized by its vibrant culture, rich history, and beautiful natural landscapes, attracting tourists seeking to explore its diverse ecosystems, including mangrove swamps, wildlife reserves, and sandy beaches. The economy of The Gambia is primarily based on agriculture, tourism, and remittances from Gambians living abroad. Despite facing challenges such as poverty and limited resources, The Gambia is committed to progress, peace, and prosperity for its population.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

In Gambia, employment contracts made for indefinite duration are considered permanent. Such contracts continue until terminated by either party. An employee is permanent if they are regularly and continuously employed in work related to normal and permanent activity of the employer, and are paid wages regularly. Contracts not made in writing are presumed to be made for indefinite duration. 

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Gambia's Labour Act recognizes employment contracts made for specific duration or specific task. Such contracts terminate at the expiry of the specified duration or task, unless they are expressly or tacitly renewed. No notice is required for termination. If a contract is to be terminated before the expiry of its term, minimum notice required is 14 days.  Fixed term contracts for 6 or more months must be made in writing. If such contract is not made in writing, it is enforceable by the employee but not the employer. If a contract made for fixed duration or specific task involves work connected with normal and permanent activity of the business, it is considered to be for indefinite term.   

Temporary Employment Contratcs

In Gambia, there are no specific guidelines on temporary employment contracts. 

Probationary Period

Employment contracts for skilled jobs can include a probationary period for a maximum of 12 months in Gambia. During probation, either party can terminate the contract at any time without notice and need for severance pay.

Working Hours

There are no statutory guidelines on working hours in Gambia. Provisions on working hours must be included in the employment contract. 

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

Paid Annual Leave

Employees in Gambia have the right to accrue annual leave days provided by their collective agreement or individual employment contract. Employers must grant leave in consultation with the employee. Annual leave days are paid at the daily wage rate for the employee, excluding any bonus but including overtime payment. There are no provisions for transferring accumulated leave to the next year. If an employment contract is terminated, employees are entitled to receive payment for any unused leave they have accumulated. 

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to paid sick leave as per their collective agreements or individual employment contracts that can be used on days when the employee is unable to perform their usual work due to physical or mental illness, disease or injury. The payment for sick leave cannot be less than the wage that the employee would have been entitled to receive for normal work on that day, including both bonus and overtime pay.

Maternity Leave

Gambia grants paid maternity leave to all female employees who have been continuously employed for at least 2 years with the same employer or whose service has been interrupted by 1 or more periods not exceeding 7 months and who have worked for a total of at least 18 months with the same employer. Maternity leave is for 12 weeks with pay – 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery and 6 weeks after. Employees must give a notice to their employers of their wish to return to work after the leave. Employees must be placed in the same job with same benefits and entitlements as before. Any dismissal for the reason of pregnancy or having taken maternity leave is unfair and employers can be penalized for the same. 

Paternity Leave

There are no provisions for paternity leave in Gambia.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

Indefinite term employment contracts can be terminated by giving a notice by either party. The duration of notice depends on the frequency of wage payment and how long the employee has been continuously employed, ranging from 1 day to 2 months. Employment contracts can determine longer notice periods that provided by the law. However, contracts that are made with shorter notice periods than those provided by the law are null and void. Contracts can be terminated by making a payment in lieu of the notice. In case of redundancy due to economic, organizational, climatic or technical reasons, minimum notice period is 6 months. The minimum notice period for terminating a fixed-term contract before its expiry is 14 days. 

Severance Benefits

There are no provisions for severance benefits in Gambia. Employees made redundant are entitled to a redundancy payment worth 6 months' pay. All wages and benefits due to employees must be paid on the day of termination.

Social Security

Pension

The legal retirement age is 60 years in Gambia. Private sector employees are insured under the National Provident Fund. It is a defined-contribution fund in which both employees and employers make a contribution to individual member accounts.  Benefits upon retirement are paid based on the amounts credited in those accounts and accrued interest, in the form of a lump sum. There are no regular pensions. However, at the request of the beneficiary, a part of the lump sum can be converted into an annuity, receivable periodically.  There is a separate scheme for government sector employees, called the Federated Pension Scheme. It is a final pay or defined benefit scheme in view of the fact that benefit payments are based on a defined formula which take into account factors such as age, salary at the point of termination and length of service. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

In Gambia, the National Provident Fund benefits private-sector insured members' dependents after their death. Members must choose their nominees at the time of their registration with the fund. Nominees can be their dependents, such as children, spouses, or in their absence, parents and siblings. The addresses and ages of the various nominees must be clearly mentioned, and the apportionment of percentages to each beneficiary indicated. This list must be updated as and when circumstances change. To avail benefits, they must provide a death certificate. Benefit is paid as a lump sum of the balance in the member's provident fund account.  In case of death due to an industrial accident or disease, employees' survivors become eligible to compensation from the Industrial Injuries Compensation Fund. They are paid up to a maximum of GMD 180,000 (Gambian Dalasi), depending on the level of income of the employee at the time of death.   

Invalidity Benefit

Gambia provides disability benefits to private-sector employees through the National Provident Fund Scheme. Employees become eligible for benefits if they cannot continue engaging in gainful employment due to permanent physical disability. Where a member’s disability is total and permanent, the benefit payable shall be the full balance in their account. Where a member’s disability is partial and temporary, the initial benefit payable shall be a proportion of the current balance in their account. Government-sector employees are eligible for disability benefits under the Federated Pension Scheme. Benefits are granted to employees who retire early due to ill health or disability on a medical authority's advice.  All employers must insure their employees against industrial injuries and accidents under the Industrial Injuries Compensation Fund. Accident victims whose disability is below 20% will receive a single lump sum or one-off payment. The IICF will pay a monthly pension to an individual whose disability is assessed to be greater than 20%, irrespective of their age.  

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

In Gambia, both residents and non-residents are subject to income tax on their taxable income for the year. Tax year is the same as the calendar year, running from January 1 to December 31. Residents are taxed on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on their income from sources in Gambia.  Income tax is calculated on gross income after subtracting eligible deductions and tax credits. Income tax rates are progressive, the maximum being 35%. Fringe benefits are not considered a part of income for employees and are paid by the employer separately at the rate of 27% of their value. Income from dividends is taxed at 15%. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

Foreign nationals require a visa to enter Gambia. A visa or visiting pass is issued for a month. Such passes can be renewed. Visitors must have a return ticket or sum in cash equivalent to the ticket cost to be eligible for a pass. For longer stays, visitors must apply for resident permits as follows:  Residential Permit A is issued to students or retired persons. They cannot be employed in Gambia. Residential Permit B is used for employment, and it is used by citizens of ECOWAS and other foreign nationals who are working in Gambia in skilled employment and companies. They must submit a valid employment contract. Residential Permit C is issued to unskilled workers from ECOWAS countries and small traders upon submitting a valid employment contract.   All resident permits are valid till January 31, following the date of issue of the permit, and have to be renewed annually.

Work Permit

Gambia grants 2 types of residential permits for employment. Foreign employees are not allowed to change jobs or conduct other business while in Gambia. Residential Permit B is used by citizens of ECOWAS and other foreign nationals who are working in Gambia in skilled employment and companies. They must submit a valid employment contract. Residential Permit C is issued to unskilled workers from ECOWAS countries and small traders upon submitting a valid employment contract.  All resident permits are valid till January 31, following the date of issue of the permit, and have to be renewed annually. Nationals coming from Mauritania, the Republic of Guinea, Mali, or Senegal are exempt from having to apply for the residential permit.

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