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Hire in The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Small village in green hills at Congo River, Democratic Republic of Congo

Currency of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese Franc (CDF)

The Capital of The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa

Time Zone in The Democratic Republic of the Congo

GMT+2

Important Facts About the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Introduction to Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), often referred to as Congo-Kinshasa, is a country located in Central Africa. It is the second-largest country on the continent, spanning approximately 2.3 million square kilometers. With a population of around 112 million, the DRC stands as the most populous Francophone country globally. Kinshasa serves as the capital and largest city, hosting an array of economic, political and cultural activities.

What to Know about Democratic Republic of the Congo's Geography

The Democratic Republic of the Congo shares borders with several countries. It is bordered by the Republic of Congo to the west, the Central African Republic to the north and South Sudan to the northeast. Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi lie to the east, Tanzania to the southeast and Zambia and Angola to the south. The country has a diverse geography, including vast rainforests, the Congo River Basin, plateaus and mountains.

Climate in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC experiences a tropical climate characterized by high temperatures and heavy rainfall throughout the year. The equatorial region receives the most precipitation, while the southern parts are relatively drier. The average temperature ranges from 24°C to 29°C.

The Culture of Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC is a culturally diverse nation with more than 200 ethnic groups. Kinshasa and other major cities showcase a blend of modern and traditional cultures. Music and dance are essential elements of Congolese culture, with various music genres, such as Soukous and Ndombolo, gaining international popularity.

Religions Observed in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Christianity and Islam are the predominant religions in the DRC. While Christianity, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, holds a significant following, Islam is practiced mainly in the eastern regions. Traditional indigenous beliefs and practices are also retained among certain ethnic groups.

Languages Spoken in Democratic Republic of the Congo

French is the official language of the DRC. The country has an extensive linguistic landscape with over 200 indigenous languages spoken. Lingala, Swahili and Kikongo are among the major regional languages used for everyday communication and regional trade.

DRC Human Resources at a Glance

Employment Law Protections in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Labor Code of the Democratic Republic of Congo (2002) serves as the primary legal framework governing employment relationships in the DRC. Additionally, there are other important rules and regulations that play a significant role, including:

  • Constitution of the DRC
  • Decree No 08/40 of 30 April 2008
  • Employee’s Compensation Act, No 23 of 1998
  • Institut National de Sécurité Sociale (INSS) (“Social Security Decree”)

Employment Contracts in Democratic Republic of the Congo

According to the Labor Code, an employment contract must be in writing. If the employment contract is not in writing, unless otherwise proven, it will be deemed to be for an indefinite period. Failure to mention whether the contract is for a fixed term or for a specific project will result in the contract being deemed to be for an indefinite period.

Before signing the contract, the employer must give the employee a copy of the draft contract and all necessary documents at least two working days in advance. If the employer refuses to fulfill this obligation, the employee can terminate the contract within 30 days of signing it without giving notice or paying compensation.

Fixed Term Contacts for DRC Employees

As per the Labor Code, any fixed-term employment contract must clearly indicate if it is for a specific period, project or temporary replacement of an employee. The Congolese labor law forbids hiring workers for permanent job roles on fixed-term contracts.

In general, a fixed-term employment contract typically has a maximum duration of 24 months. Nevertheless, this duration is reduced to 12 months in the following situations:

  • When the employee is married but living separately from their family.
  • When the employee is a widower, separated from their spouse or divorced and living apart from their children for whom they have custody.

A fixed-term employment contract may not be concluded with the same employer more than twice, nor may it be renewed more than once, except in the cases listed in the Ministerial Order n°063/CAB/PVPM/ETPS/2011.

If the employee continues working after the fixed-term contract expires, the contract will automatically convert into an open-ended contract.

Pre-Employment Checks

Pre-employment checks are not prohibited and most labor agents in the country do conduct pre-employment checks.

DRC's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period/Trial Period

According to the Labor Code, any employment contract may have a probation period. If there is a probation period, it must be in writing and it cannot be longer than six months, depending on the job duties of the employee. For a manual worker, the probation period cannot exceed one month.

Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The legal working hours of employees may not exceed 45 hours per week and nine hours per day. They must be given a minimum of 48 hours of uninterrupted rest within a period of seven days, usually taking place on Saturdays and Sundays.

DRC Laws Regarding Overtime

If an employee works beyond the stipulated working hours, they are entitled to overtime pay according to the following rates:

  • 30% for each of the first six hours worked beyond the stipulated weekly working time or the time considered equivalent
  • 60 % for each of the following hours
  • 100% for each hour of overtime worked on the weekly rest day

Termination

If an employer wants to terminate an employee’s employment due to gross misconduct, they must inform the employee of their intention to terminate the contract within 15 days of discovering the misconduct.

If there is no gross misconduct, the employer must notify the employee of their intention to terminate the employment contract by following the notice period requirements.

According to the Labor Code, employers are allowed to lay off employees due to economic reasons or for structural purposes. However, they must first consult with their employees by sending them or their representatives a notice at least 15 days prior to taking any action.

Whenever an employment contract between an employer and employee is terminated, for any reason, the employer must provide the employee with a certificate. This certificate should state the duration and nature of the employee’s services, along with their start and end dates. Additionally, the certificate should detail any benefits due to the employee and include the registration number of the contract at the National Institute of Social Security.

DRC's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods

If an employer intends to end an employee’s employment due to severe misconduct, they must inform the employee of their decision to terminate the employment contract within 15 days of discovering the misconduct.

When there is no gross misconduct, the employer must inform the employee of their intention to terminate the employment contract. Either party can terminate the contract by providing the appropriate notice according to the length of service:

  • one year or more: one month’s notice
  • more than six months but less than one year: two weeks’ notice
  • less than six months: one week’s notice

Redundancy/Severance Pay in Democratic Republic of the Congo

If an employee with an open-ended contract is dismissed without just cause, they have the right to be reinstated. If this is not possible, they can claim damages as set by the Labor Court. The amount of damages is determined by factors such as the nature of the services hired, the employee’s seniority in the company, their age and any rights they have acquired. The maximum amount of damages that can be claimed is 36 months of the employee’s last remuneration.

Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in DRC

Personal Income Tax in Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the DRC, the personal income tax is calculated according to the following annual progressive tax table:

Income Bracket (CDF) Tax Rate
0 – 1,944,000 3%
1,944,001 – 21,600,000 15%
21,600,001 – 43,200,000 30%
43,200,001 and above 40%

According to tax regulations, an individual’s personal income tax cannot be more than 30% of their taxable salary. Additionally, any indemnities or allowances given to an employee as part of their contract termination are subject to a specific tax rate of 10%. Casual employees who are hired on a day-to-day basis are taxed at a preferential rate of 15% on any sums they are paid.

Social Security in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Social and employment contributions in the DRC are as follows:

Scheme Employer Contribution Rate Employee Contribution Rate
National insurance fund (Institut National de Sécurité Sociale or INSS) 1.5% (occupational risks); 5% (pension); 6.5% (family benefits) 5% (pension)
National office for professional training (Institut National de Préparation Professionnelle or INPP) 1% – 3% * NA
National office of employment (Office National de l’Emploi or ONEM) 0.2% NA

*3% for state-owned companies and private companies with up to 50 employees; 2% for private companies with 51 to 300 employees; 1% for private companies with over 300 employees.

The deadline for filing INSS, INPP and ONEM returns is the 15th day of the month following the month in which the salary was paid.

*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged might differ.

Important Information for DCR Employees

Salary Payment

Employers are responsible for paying their employees’ salaries in cash during working hours at the agreed time and place, and in legal tender. Monthly payments must be made no later than six days after the relevant period. It is the employer’s duty to pay the agreed salary regularly and punctually, with an interval not exceeding one month.

In the case of service termination, the worker must receive all unpaid wages no later than two working days after the termination date.

Providing any portion of the wages in non-monetary forms is prohibited.

Payslip

Employers should record payments on the date they are made in a payroll book provided to the employee at the time of payment.

Annual Leave

Employees are eligible for annual leave upon completing a year of continuous service. The amount of leave granted depends on the employee’s age. Those above 18 years of age earn one day of leave for each month of service, resulting in 12 days of leave for a year of employment. On the other hand, employees under 18 years old earn one and a half days of leave for each month worked, entitling them to 18 days of leave for the year. The number of leave days increases with one day with every five years that the employee has worked for the same employer.

Payment in lieu of the leave shall only take place in the event of termination. The payment of this indemnity must be made within two working days following the end of the contract.

Sick Leave

The Labor Code guarantees paid sick leave for employees who are unable to perform their duties due to illness or injury. During this time, the employee is entitled to receive two-thirds of their regular pay. Sick leave can last for a maximum of six months.

Maternity & Parental Leave

All female employees are eligible for 14 weeks of maternity leave, which is divided into two parts:

  • six weeks of leave before the baby is born
  • eight weeks after the baby is born

During maternity leave, the employee is entitled to receive two-thirds of their regular pay, while also maintaining any contractual benefits that were previously agreed upon.

Female employees have the right to take paid breaks for breastfeeding. During the period when a new mother is breastfeeding her child, she is legally entitled to two 30-minute breaks every day to allow her to nurse the child. These rest periods are paid by the employer as part of the employee’s working hours.

Circumstance Leave

Employees are entitled to the following circumstance leaves:

  • two business days for their marriage
  • two business days for a male whose wife is delivering a child
  • four business days for the death of the spouse, or a parent who is in the first-degree
  • one business day for the marriage of a child
  • two business days for the death of a relative in the second degree

Public Holidays

There are typically nine public holidays. If one of these holidays happens to fall on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the day before.

Benefits to the Employee in Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC Statutory Benefits

Employees have the right to various benefits as mandated by law and collective agreements. These benefits include retirement pensions, occupational risk insurance, family benefits, annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, circumstance leave, etc.

Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in DRC

General Information

Visas

The DRC has a visa policy that varies depending on the nationality of the traveler. Some countries are visa-exempt and their citizens can enter the DRC without a visa for certain durations, typically ranging from 15 days to 90 days. However, many nationalities require a visa to enter the country.

The DRC offers visa durations spanning from seven days to six months. There are two main visa types available: the Single-Entry Visa and the Multiple Entries Visa. The Single-Entry Visa allows a traveler to enter the DRC once, while the Multiple Entries Visa permits multiple visits within the designated validity period.

Work Permits

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) offers two primary types of work visas:

  • Standard work permit: This permit is intended for non-national employees who have signed contracts with companies registered in the country. The validity of the standard permit typically ranges from one to two years, depending on the terms of the employment contract.
  • Work-specific visa: Non-national employees planning a temporary stay in the DRC for specific work purposes can obtain this one-year visa. It is designed for short-term work engagements and is non-renewable.

Public Holidays Recognized by Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2024

Occasion Date
1 New Year’s Day January 1
2 Martyrs’ Day January 4
3 Heroes’ Day (Laurent Kabila) January 16
4 Heroes’ Day (Patrice Lumumba) January 17
5 Labour Day May 1
6 Liberation Day May 17
7 Independence Day June 30
8 Parents’ Day August 1
9 Christmas Day December 25

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