Engage In Tunisia

Table of Contents

About Tunisia

Capital City

Tunis

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Tunisia is 12,458,223 people.

Currency

The currency in Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar (TND). The currency symbol is د.ت‎ .

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Overview

Tunisia, officially known as the Republic of Tunisia, is a North African country located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. As the northernmost country in Africa, Tunisia shares borders with Algeria to the west and southwest, and Libya to the southeast. The country is part of the Maghreb region and has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Tunisia is known for its diverse and welcoming culture, where Arab and Berber influences blend with European elements due to the country’s historical connections with various civilizations. The official language is Arabic, but Tunisian Arabic and French are also widely spoken. With a population of over 11 million people, the majority of Tunisians practice Sunni Islam, while a small percentage follow other religions. Tunisia is famous for its stunning landscapes, including beautiful Mediterranean beaches, ancient ruins such as the UNESCO-listed site of Carthage, and the enchanting Sahara Desert. The country’s political system is a unitary presidential republic, with the President serving as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. With a combination of historical significance, natural beauty, and a vibrant culture, Tunisia offers visitors a captivating experience.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Per Tunisia's Labor Code, upon hiring, an employee must be informed about whether they were hired on a permanent, seasonal, or occasional basis. Permanent employees are recruited for an indefinite period. Employees hired under indefinite employment contracts must receive notice of any applicable probationary period as well as confirmation of the legal or contractual provisions applicable to them. Indefinite term contracts end when the notice period expires. When the employee continues to work without opposition from the other party at the end of a fixed-term contract's duration, the contract turns into an indefinite term contract.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Tunisia's Labor Code states that the use of fixed-term employment contracts is permitted. These agreements may be renewed, but their total duration must not exceed four years. The fixed-term employment contract ends with the expiration of the agreed duration or by carrying out the work covered by the contract. If the employee continues to work without opposition from the other party at the end of a fixed-term contract, the agreement is deemed to be an indefinite term contract.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Employers can hire temporary workers through contractors/sub-contractors. Employer is responsible, together with the labor sub-contractor, for observing all the requirements of the legislation concerning working conditions, health and safety, working hours, the work of night, the work of women and children, weekly rest and public holidays, on the occasion of the employment, in its workshops, stores or construction sites, of employees of the sub-contractor, as if it were a question of its own workers and employees and under the same sanctions. In case of insolvency of the contractor, the user company becomes responsible to pay wages, holiday compensation and social security contributions for the temporary staff. 

Probationary Period

Per Tunisia's Labor Code, the probationary period for indefinite employment contracts is regulated by collective agreements, the individual employment contract, and employer regulations. Where it is mutually agreed, this period can be renewed once or reduced. During the probationary period, both the employer and the employee may terminate the agreement without providing a valid reason or notice. In such circumstances, the employer will not be liable to pay an end of service indemnity.

Working Hours

Tunisia's Labor Code sets a standard 48-hour workweek for most sectors and requires one weekly 24-hour rest period. The standard working hours may be reduced without going below a 40-hour week or an equivalent average established over a period of time other than a week (but not exceeding 1 year). In case of interruption of work, the law allows certain industries to increase the working duration to a maximum of 64 hours a week in order to take into account the loss of time resulting from the interruption. 

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

January 1: New Year’s Day; March 20: Independence Day; April 9: Martyrs’ Day; May 1: Labour Day; June 15,16, and 17 End of Ramadan; July 18; July 25: Republic Day; August 13: Women’s Day; August 22 Eid al-Idha (Feast of the Sacrifice) (depending on the moon calendar, shifts towards the beginning of the year by 11 days per year); August 23 and 24 Aid El Kebir Holiday (date varies on Lunar cycle); September 11 Ras elam el Hejri; October 15 Evacuation Day; November 20 Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday.

The religious holidays are officially confirmed by the religious authorities of the Tunisian government.

Paid Annual Leave

Tunisia's Labor Code provides annual leave to all employees upon completion of at least 1 month of service. Employees over 21 are entitled to 1 day of leave per month for a total duration of 15 calendar days (12 working days) of annual leave. The duration of annual leave for employees under 18 years of age is a total of 30 calendar days (24 working days) annually and accrues at the rate of 2 working days per month. The duration of annual leave for workers aged 18-21 years is a total of 21 calendar days (18 working days) and accrues at the rate of one and a half working days per month. The amount of annual leave an employee is entitled to also increases with the employee's length of service by one additional day of leave for every 5 years of continuous service with the same employer, up to a maximum of 18 days. Employees are entitled to their regular wages and other benefits for the duration of their annual leave. 

Sick Leave

Tunisia's Labor Code does not specify the amount of paid sick leave to which an employee is entitled. Sick leave causes the employment contract to be suspended. Sick leave only constitutes a reason for termination if it is sufficiently serious or prolonged that the company's needs require the employer to replace the sick employee. Tunisia's social insurance fund provides sickness benefits to employees for up to 180 days a year after a 5-day waiting period. Two-thirds (66.7%) of the insured worker's average daily wage is paid for the first 3 years; 50% is paid for up to 180 days a year in each subsequent year. Benefits are paid every 2 weeks.

Maternity Leave

Female employees in Tunisia are entitled to 30 days of paid maternity leave upon a child's birth. In the case of illness or complications arising from pregnancy and confinement, a female worker is entitled to 15 days of additional leave. Leaves are granted upon the employee providing a medical certificate. Qualifying mothers are eligible to receive maternity benefits from the social security fund of two-thirds (66.7%) of the average daily wage during the period of maternity leave (30 days) and any subsequent extension on medical grounds (up to 15 days). This allowance is granted only if the employee has worked for at least 80 days in the last year preceding the quarter of her delivery.

Paternity Leave

Tunisia's Labor Code provides paternity leave to fathers upon their child's birth. Private sector employees are entitled to 1 day of paternity leave, which they must avail themselves of within 7 days of the child's birth. The employer and employee must agree on when the leave is to be taken.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

In Tunisia, employers and employees must give one month's notice in writing. This notice period is the same for all categories of employees. If the provisions of an individual or collective agreement require a longer period of notice, those provisions will be applied. The employer must indicate the reasons for termination of employment in the notice letter. If compensation is paid in lieu of notice, the amount must be at least equal to wages payable for the notice period's length or its remainder. The employee has a right to time off to seek other employment during the second half of the notice period, without any salary loss.

Severance Benefits

In Tunisia, every employee bound by a contract of employment for an indefinite term and dismissed after the expiration of a probationary period is entitled to receive a severance allowance (unless the employee was dismissed for serious misconduct). The allowance is calculated based on one day’s salary (paid at the moment of the dismissal) for each month of active service with the same company. The severance allowance cannot exceed three months’ salary, regardless of the duration of effective service. However, collective agreements can stipulate conditions more favorable to employees.

Social Security

Pension

In Tunisia, to qualify for an old-age pension, an employee must have reached 60 years of age with at least 120 months of contributions. A person is entitled to an early pension at 55 years of age with at least 360 months of contributions. The old-age pension amount is equal to 40% of the insured's average earnings in the ten years before retirement plus 0.5% of average earnings for each three-month period of contributions exceeding 120 months. The amount for early pension is reduced by 0.5% for each quarter (2% for each year) when a person retires before reaching 60 years of age. Both employees and employers pay social security contributions. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

In Tunisia, the law provides survivors benefits to eligible survivors, including the deceased's widow(er) and children under the age of 16 (age 21 if a student, no limit if disabled or an unmarried daughter without income). The benefit is provided to the dependents only if the deceased was an insured pensioner at the time of death or had at least 60 months of contributions. The amount of benefits depends on the number of survivors as a percentage of the old-age or invalidity pension the deceased received or was entitled to receive. In case of death due to a work accident or occupational disease, survivors of the deceased employee are eligible to receive benefits that the employer covers. 

Invalidity Benefit

In Tunisia, insured employees who have been assessed with at least a 66.7% permanent loss of earning capacity and who have made at least 60 months of contributions are entitled to invalidity benefits as long as their employment had ceased due to the invalidity. The degree of disability is assessed annually by a medical commission until the insured reaches 55 years of age. Invalidity pension is 50% of the insured's average earnings in the last ten years before the disability began, plus 0.5% of average earnings for every three months of contributions exceeding 180 months. In the case of disability caused by a work accident or disease, employees are eligible to receive benefits from employers based on the degree of their disability.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Taxpayers are classified into residents who pay tax on their income from sources within or outside Tunisia and non-residents who are liable to pay tax on personal income derived from in-country sources. The tax year in Tunisia is the same as the calendar year. The income tax in Tunisia is progressive and varies from 0% to 35%. Non-resident taxpayers pay a 20% flat tax on income. The head of the family is subject to tax on their own income and that of dependent children (their income is reported on the head of the family's tax return). Spouses can also report the income of children on their tax returns in certain circumstances. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

In Tunisia, there are several visa categories, including the following: Entry visa: up to 90 days' stay Transit visa: up to seven days' stay Temporary visa: up to one year's stay Ordinary visa: extended stays. 

Work Permit

Foreign employees who wish to work in Tunisia must possess an employment contract and a residence card that includes authorization to work in Tunisia. Under certain circumstances, work permits are also issued without employment contract, for example, in case of managers with full powers and legal representatives or employees with international organizations. Employment contracts signed by a foreign national with a Tunisian company should not exceed 1 year. Moreover, the contract is renewable only once with the approval of the relevant authorities. The contract may be renewed more than once if the company is undertaking development projects that local authorities have approved. Both the contract and its renewal must be approved by the Ministry of Employment.

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