Engage In Lesotho

Table of Contents

About Lesotho

Capital City

Maseru

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Lesotho is 2,330,318.

Currency

The currency in Lesotho is the Lesotho Lot (LSL). The currency symbol is L.

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Overview

Lesotho, a small and landlocked country, is nestled within the borders of its much larger neighbor, South Africa. With a population of approximately 2.3 million people, Lesotho boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Known as the “Kingdom in the Sky” due to its mountainous terrain, Lesotho offers stunning landscapes that captivate visitors. The nation gained independence from British rule on October 4, 1966, and is now a constitutional monarchy, with a king serving as Head of State and a Prime Minister as Head of Government. Despite facing challenges such as political instability and external shocks, Lesotho is striving for economic growth and development. The country’s economy is predominantly driven by sectors like agriculture, services, and mining. Additionally, Lesotho is undertaking noteworthy projects like the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which aims to harness its water resources for both domestic and economic purposes. While the nation continues to address poverty and food security issues, Lesotho is making efforts to enhance its competitiveness, encourage private sector-led growth, and improve service delivery. With its vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and determination to progress, Lesotho is a country brimming with potential and opportunities.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Employment contracts made for an indefinite term are considered permanent. Such contracts can be terminated by either party, subject to the provisions of the Labour Code concerning dismissal and notice of termination.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Employment contracts can be made for a period of fixed duration or for performance of a specific task. A contract for a period of fixed duration sets forth its date of termination and automatically terminates on that date without requiring any notice of termination from either party. It is deemed renewed by default if an employee continues to work after the period of the fixed term expires and the employer accepts the employee working A contract to perform specific work or to undertake a specified journey terminates upon the completion of the work or journey. No notice of termination is required of either party. Seasonal employees are also hired under fixed term contracts. The contract normally terminates at the end of the season. If a seasonal employee works with the same employer for several seasons, they become eligible for severance pay.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

While the Labour Code of Lesotho does not make any reference to temporary or casual employees, temporary employees can be used to replace temporarily disabled employees or striking employees according to the Code of Good Practices.

Probationary Period

An employee can initially be employed for a probationary period not exceeding four months. At any time during the continuance of the probationary period or immediately at its end, the employee may be dismissed with one week's notice. Probationary period can be extended beyond a period of four months only with approval in writing of the Labour Commissioner. Probationary period must be clearly mentioned in the employment contract.  If a probationary employee is dismissed for any reason other than their performance or conduct, normal rules of fair dismissal apply. A probationary employee is entitled to be represented by a fellow employee or workplace union representative.

Working Hours

Normal working hours are 45 hours per week in Lesotho, nine hours a day for those working five days a week, and eight hours of work on five days and five hours of work on one day for those working six days a week. No employee shall be required to work continuously for more than five hours without being given a rest period from work of no less than one hour. The limitations on ordinary working hours and hours of overtime do not apply when it is necessary to perform urgent work to remedy any breakdown of machinery and plant or in case of an emergency. No person under the age of 16 years shall be required or permitted to work for more than four consecutive hours without a break of at least one hour, or for more than eight hours in a day.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

X

Paid Annual Leave

All employees to one working day's leave on full pay in respect of each month of continuous employment with the same employer. An employee is entitled in each year to a minimum of 12 working days' holiday on full pay. Employees must take at least six working days as a continuous holiday in the year the holiday is due. When employees are entitled to more paid annual leave than the statutory leave, they are allowed to carry over a maximum of 18 days' leave to the next year. Employees can request their employers to receive a cash payment in lieu to taking no more than six days of statutory annual leave. Any employee whose employment has terminated after at least three months of continuous work with the same employer shall be entitled to be paid one day's full pay in respect of each completed month of employment for which the employee has earned but not taken a holiday with full pay.  

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to paid sick leave after six months' continuous employment with the same employer. During the first six months of employment, any absence owing to sickness is unpaid. After 12 months' continuous employment with the same employer, an employee shall be entitled to sick leave on fall pay for up to 12 days and thereafter to sick leave on half pay for up to 24 days in each period of 12 months' continuous employment. Entitlements of sick leave cannot be carried forward from one year to another. Employees have to present a medical certificate indicating their incapacity signed by a registered medical practitioner. In the case of sick leave extending beyond six working days, employers may require their employees to be examined by another registered medical practitioner, with the expenses of the examination and any travel expenses be borne by the employer. 

Maternity Leave

Pregnant employees are entitled to six weeks' maternity leave before and six weeks' leave after the date of delivery. They must give a notice of their anticipated date of delivery to their employers. The leave can be extended by two weeks in case of medical complications. There is no obligation on employers to pay wages during maternity leave but employers can choose to pay benefits under an employment contract.  Any dismissal of any employee that takes effect during her statutory maternity leave shall automatically be an unfair dismissal. An employer who knowingly permits or requires any female employee to perform any work during her period of statutory maternity leave shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine or to three months' imprisonment or both. 

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is not a statutory benefit for employees in Lesotho.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

For indefinite term contracts, either party can terminate a contract of employment by giving notice as follows: When the employee has been continuously employed for one year or more – one month When the employee has been continuously employed for more than six months but less than one year – 15 days When the employee has been continuously employed for less than six months – one week Employers and employees can agree to a contract with longer notice periods. Notice to terminate a contract can be either oral or written. Employers can also choose to pay the employee in lieu of providing notice of termination.  

Severance Benefits

Employees who have completed more than one year of continuous service with the same employer shall be entitled to receive, upon termination of their services, a severance payment equivalent to two weeks' wages for each completed year of continuous service with the employer. Employees who have been fairly dismissed for misconduct are not entitled to a severance payment.

Social Security

Pension

Lesotho does not have a national retirement scheme. It provides social welfare benefits to elders in the form of medical care, access to social and legal services, and cash benefits. All citizens above the age of 70 years are entitled to a monthly pension of LSL 700 (Lesotho loti).  To access Old Age Pension, applicant must apply and attach any one of the following as proof of birth to determine eligibility: Passport Birth Certificate Sworn Affidavit Identity Document

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

In Lesotho, there is a social pension for citizens above the age of 70. After their death, their survivors receive the pension they were entitled to.  In case of death of an employee due to workplace injury or occupational disease, dependents are entitled to a compensation not exceeding LSL 72,000 (Lesotho loti). Employers must also pay the reasonable expenses of burial of the deceased employee not exceeding LSL 5,000. 

Invalidity Benefit

Lesotho grants disability benefits in case of workplace injuries or diseases. There are no pension benefits available in other cases. Benefits are paid by the employers and the amount of benefits depends on the type of invalidity and its degree. In addition, an employer must pay for medical expenses (maximum LSL 10,000), prosthetic devices (maximum LSL 5,000), and transportation to hospital (maximum LSL 1,500) when necessary.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Income tax assessment year runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. Income tax is imposed on every individual, trustee, company, and non-resident who has chargeable income for the year of assessment. Income tax is calculated by applying the relevant rates of tax to the chargeable income and subtracting any allowable tax credits. Residents are taxed on their income from all sources, while non-residents are taxed only on there income from Lesotho sources. The tax rates are 20% and 30%. Fringe benefits tax rate is 40%.

Immigration

Types of Visas

Tourist visa – Provides a traveler temporary entry into the country as a visitor, issued for leisure travel only. Visa holders are not allowed to engage in any sanctioned or paid business activities. Single-entry visa allows stay for a maximum of 44 days. Multiple entry visa allows multiple entries within a period of 180 days. Business visa – issued to travelers who need to travel to Lesotho in relation their business activities or on behalf of their company and expect to stay in Lesotho for less than 90 days. If they require a longer stay, a 1 year stay visa is needed and they are required to register with the immigration department.  Student visa –  issued to foreign students who have got admission in Lesotho. Diplomatic visa – issued to foreign nationals with diplomatic passport when applying in an official capacity. 

Work Permit

Lesotho does not have a specific work permit for foreign nationals. They grant Business Visas for single (up to 90 days) or multiple entries (up to 180 days). Applicants must submit business references: a letter from the employer or an invitation letter from the Lesotho organization.     

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