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Hire in Lebanon

Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Lebanon.

Aerial view of Byblos, Lebanon

Currency of Lebanon

Lebanese Pound (LBP)

The Capital of Lebanon

Beirut

Time Zone in Lebanon

GMT+2

Important Facts About the Country of Lebanon

Introduction to Lebanon

Lebanon, formally known as the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is situated in Western Asia. Positioned at the junction of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland, it has cultivated a culturally diverse identity influenced by various religions, thus enriching its historical narrative. Serving as both the capital and the largest city, Beirut also acts as a focal point for tourism within the country. With a population exceeding five million, Lebanon is classified as an upper-middle-income nation.

What to Know about Lebanon's Geography

Lebanon is located between Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus sits to its west across the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second-smallest country in continental Asia, with an area of 10,452 square kilometers.

Climate in Lebanon

Lebanon has a moderate Mediterranean climate. Winters in coastal regions are typically mild and wet, while summers are hot and humid. Winter temperatures usually plunge below freezing in more elevated areas. Heavy snow cover persists until early summer on the higher mountain peaks.

The Culture of Lebanon

Lebanon’s culture reflects the legacies of numerous civilizations spanning thousands of years. Despite their ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational variety, the Lebanese share a ubiquitous culture. Lebanese Arabic is widely spoken, and the country’s cuisine, music and literature are deeply steeped in broader Mediterranean and Arab Levantine norms.

Religions Observed in Lebanon

Lebanon stands out as the most religiously diverse nation in the Middle East, boasting 18 officially recognized religious groups, including four Muslim sects, twelve Christian denominations, one Druze community and a representation of the Jewish faith. The population was estimated to be 33% Christian and 67% Muslim.

Languages Spoken in Lebanon

Arabic is the state’s official language, while French is also officially recognized. Lebanese Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic are spoken nationwide.

Lebanese Human Resources at a Glance

Employment Law Protections in Lebanon

The principal legislation overseeing employment dynamics in Lebanon is the Labor Law of 1946. Essential legal references encompass:

  • Emerging Decrees of Labor Law, as amendments to the initial Law dated 1946
  • National Social Security Funds Law
  • Collective Agreements Law
  • Occupational Emergencies and Injuries Law
  • Occupational Health, Safety, and Welfare Law
  • Code of Obligations and Contracts
  • ILO Rules & Regulations

Furthermore, employment matters in Lebanon are subject to decrees and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Labor, as well as customary practices.

Employment Contracts in Lebanon

Employment contracts can be executed in writing, but this is not mandatory. The written agreements must be in Arabic, but they may be translated into another language if either party does not speak Arabic. However, from a legal standpoint, the casting language will always be Arabic.

For employers with 15 or more salaried employees, there must be internal rules regulating their business. These internal rules must be approved by the Minister of Labor and incorporate the Labor Law guidelines.

Although employment contracts can be fixed term or indefinite term, unwritten agreements are presumed to be infinite.

The Labor Law did not specify on the minimum terms an employment contract must have. Therefore, the basic rights established by applicable legislation, such as maximum working hours and minimum leave entitlement, are assumed, in the absence of more favorable clauses for the employee.

Fixed Term Contacts for Lebanese Employees

Fixed-term contracts are executed for a particular amount of time or the completion of a specific task. These contracts are exempt from the severance pay and termination notice requirements. If a fixed-term contract is renewed, either through a renewal agreement or continuous execution, and the duration of actual employment exceeds two years from the joining date after renewal or extension, the contract becomes indefinite. In such cases, the employee is entitled to the same severance pay as would be provided under an indefinite-term contract.

Pre-Employment Checks

The law does not prohibit pre-employment checks.

Lebanon's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period

The probation period in Lebanon is three months for indefinite contracts. During probation, the employer or the employee may terminate the contract without notice. The same employee may not serve more than one probation period with the same employer, nor can it be renewed.

During probation, the employee is ineligible for any absence, including sick leave. However, if an employee wishes to take leave, it will be deemed as unpaid leave.

If the employee completes the probationary period, it must be counted as continuous service with the company.

Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Lebanon

The standard daily and weekly working hours are eight hours and 40 hours, respectively. The maximum allowable daily and weekly working hours, including overtime, are 12 and 48 hours.

If the workday exceeds six hours for men and five hours for women, the employer must ensure that employees receive at least one hour of rest in the middle of the day. Furthermore, the weekly rest period for employees should not be less than 36 consecutive hours.

Lebanese Laws Regarding Overtime

The salary for overtime hours is equivalent to 1.5 times the standard hourly wage.

Lebanon's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods

Notice periods must be given in writing. During a notice period, the employee must continue to work and be paid in full unless the employer specifies otherwise.

The employer or employee may pay the other party at the employee’s normal wage rate for all or a portion of the notice period.

The notice period required is dependent on the employee’s duration of service:

  • Less than three years: one month
  • Three to six years: two months
  • Six to 12 years: three months
  • More than 12 years: four months

Termination

There can be a mutual agreement to terminate a written contract without any compensation or payment of damages. However, when one party breaches the terms of the agreement, the other party can claim compensation. And, if the employee was terminated without proper notice, the employee should be compensated for not being given the notice period.

The employer may terminate the contract without indemnity or prior notice in the following circumstances:

  • The employee on probation failed to satisfy the employer within the first three months of employment.
  • The employee committed an intentional act or negligence that may harm the interests of the employer. But the employer must write to notify the Department of Social Affairs within three days upon verification of the act.
  • Despite numerous written warnings, the employee committed three severe violations of the internal rules within a year. For these warnings to be considered officially valid, they must be filed at the Ministry of Labor within three days of serving them to the employee.
  • The employee has falsely declared his/her nationality.
  • The employee was absent for more than 15 days in a year or more than seven consecutive days without a lawful excuse or valid reason. The employee must notify the employer of the reasons for his absence within 24 hours upon his return. And the employer must document in writing to inform the employee of the number of days that will be regarded as absences without legal justification.

When any party terminates the employment contract due to misconduct, within one month of being notified of the termination, the party requesting compensation must file a suit.

Restrictive Covenants

Limitations after termination are acceptable as long as they adhere to the following general principles:

  • The covenant restricting activities does not exceed what is essential to safeguard the legitimate business interests of the company.
  • The limitations imposed by the covenant are reasonable concerning both geographical scope and duration.

Severance Pay in Lebanon

If an employee experiences an unjust or unfair termination, they have the right to receive severance pay from the employer, which typically amounts to between two- and 12-months’ salary.

The assessment of the separation pay should consider the following factors:

  • The nature of the job
  • The age of the employee
  • The duration of employment
  • The employee’s health and family circumstances
  • The extent of the harm caused
  • Any misuse of the termination authority

Data Protection

While the Labor Law lacks explicit provisions for safeguarding employee data, recent legislation such as the e-transactions and Personal Data Law governs and oversees the collection and utilization of personal data.

Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in Lebanon

Personal Income Tax in Lebanon

An individual who resides in Lebanon for 183 days or more within a calendar year is classified as a resident and is liable to pay taxes on income earned within Lebanon.

Employers are mandated to deduct taxes on behalf of their employees. Personal income tax rates are applied to annual taxable income at progressive rates as follows:

Taxable Annual Income (LBP) Tax Rate %
Up to 360,000,000 2%
360,000,000 – 900,000,000 4%
900,000,000– 1,800,000,000 7%
1,800,000,000 – 3,600,000,000 11%
3,600,000,000 – 7,200,000,000 15%
7,200,000,000 – 13,500,000,000 20%
Over 13,500,000,000 25%

Social Security in Lebanon

Employers and employees in Lebanon contribute to The National Social Security Fund (NSSF)* based on the employee’s monthly gross salary.

Type Employer Contribution (%) Employee Contribution (%)
End of service allowance 8.5% 0%
Sickness and maternity 8% 3%
Family benefit 6% 0%
TOTAL 22.5% 3%
  • The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.
  • NSSF is currently under default with coverage and support not being 100% fulfilled due to currency devaluation and constant changes being applied to NSSF to rectify its status.

Important Information for Lebanese Employees

Salary Payment

Employees whose pay is based on an annual or monthly wage must be paid at least once a month.

Payslip

There is no statutory requirement for employers to provide employees with payslips. However, this practice is recommended.

Timesheets & Record Keeping

Employers with at least five workers are required to maintain a file for each employee that includes their name, occupation, age, nationality, address, marital status, date of employment, wages (and any adjustments to them), disciplinary sanctions, penalties imposed, occupational injuries and diseases sustained, and the date and reason for termination of employment. The file must have a leave card that details yearly leave, sick leave and other types of leave taken.

Annual Leave

After one year of service, an employee is entitled to 15 working days of annual leave with compensation. The employer may select the time of this annual break based on the needs of the business.

Employers employing more than 15 employees onboard must provide a different annual leave scheme, composed of the following:

  • 15 working days of annual leave (up to five years tenure)
  • 17 working days of annual leave (five to 10 years tenure)
  • 19 working days of annual leave (10 to 15 years tenure)
  • 21 working days of annual leave (above 15 years’ tenure)

By market practice, employers apply the rule for the 15-employees annual leave entitlement even if they employ fewer staff.

Employees cannot be terminated on their annual leave unless they are working for another employer at that time.

Public Holidays

Public holidays are flexible in Lebanon. Usually, there are 15 public holidays.

On public holidays, employees are entitled to a day off with pay. If required, an employer may ask an employee to work on a holiday. In such situations, the employer must provide the employee with a day off on another day and pay them at their regular rate.

Sick Leave

The duration and payout of sick leave are dependent on the employee’s tenure:

 

  • Three months to two years: 0.5 month with full pay + 0.5 month with half pay
  • Two years to four years: 1 month with full pay + 1 month with half pay
  • Four years to six years: 1.5 months with full pay + 1.5 months with half pay
  • Six years to 10 years: 2 months with full pay + 2 months with half pay
  • More than 10 years: 2.5 months with full pay + 2.5 months with half pay

The employee is granted sick leave based on a medical report. The company may request that its own physician confirm the information contained in an employee’s medical report.

If this duration exceeds one month within one contractual year, the employer may cut annual leave to eight days for that specific contractual year only.

The employee cannot be terminated while on sick leave unless he or she is employed by another company at that time.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are granted a maternity leave of 10 weeks, which encompasses days both before and after the delivery date, contingent upon the presentation of a medical certificate specifying the expected due date. The pre-natal leave period should not surpass 20 days, while the post-natal leave period should not fall below 50 days.

Furthermore, it is prohibited for an employer to terminate or issue notice of termination to an employee who is pregnant or currently on maternity leave.

Bereavement Leave

Employees have the right to paid leave for a duration of up to three days upon the death of a first-level relative, comprising father, mother, spouse, child, grandchild, sister, brother, grandfather, or grandmother.

For the demise of a second-level relative, such as an uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, or mother-in-law, employees are entitled to paid leave for a period of up to two days.

In the event of the passing of a third-level relative, including first-degree cousin, second-degree cousin, or grandparents’ siblings, employees are granted paid leave for up to one day.

Upon returning to work, employees are required to furnish proof of the death (e.g., obituary paper) to the Human Resources department.

Marriage Leave

Employees are entitled to a one-week paid leave for their marriage, which is granted as a one-time benefit during their tenure with the company.

Benefits to the Employee in Lebanon

Lebanese Statutory Benefits

Statutory benefits for employees in Lebanon include social security insurance covering sickness, maternity care, family allowance, end-of-service pensions, work-related accidents and diseases. These benefits are administrated via a private workmen compensation insurance policy.

Employees in Lebanon are also entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave and other special leaves prescribed by the labor law.

Other Benefits

In addition to the basic legal entitlements, it is customary for employers to provide supplementary benefits such as private health and life insurance, food allowances, and allowances for family and education expenses. Education allowances are compulsory, with the current maximum ceiling set at 18,000,000 LBP for the period of 2022-2023 (Note that updated rates for 2024 will be released sometime between February and April). Transportation allowances are also mandatory, currently established at 225,000 LBP for each working day. Furthermore, additional leave entitlements such as paternity leave may also be offered.

Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in Lebanon

Visas

To visit Lebanon, most visitors will have to secure a Lebanon visa. Only Lebanese nationals and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are exempt from visa requirements.

Citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates may stay in Lebanon visa-free for up to six months every year. Citizens of other nations may obtain visas upon arrival or at the embassy closest to them.

The most commonly issued visas include:

  • Lebanon Tourist Visa: Specifically for individuals entering Lebanon for tourism or leisure activities.
  • Lebanon Transit Visa: Issued to those transiting through Lebanon en route to another destination country.
  • Lebanon Residence Visas (long-term visas, such as work visas): Granted to individuals planning to reside temporarily or permanently in Lebanon for purposes such as employment, study, family reunion, or retirement.
  • Lebanon Business Visa: Provided to individuals traveling for business-related purposes, such as attending meetings, conferences, etc.
  • Lebanon Work Visa: This visa category serves as a residency permit for individuals intending to work in Lebanon. To obtain this visa, an employer in Lebanon must apply for authorization on behalf of the employee at the Immigration Division of the Ministry of Labor. The Work Visa is initially valid for 90 days from the date of issuance, with the option to extend it for up to three months upon the employee’s arrival in Lebanon.

Work Permits

Any foreigner obtaining prior authorization from the Ministry of Labor must apply for a work permit within ten days of entry to Lebanon. The Ministry may rescind the earlier approval if the foreigner does not arrive in Lebanon within three months of the approval date.

The work permit may be issued and renewed for a maximum of two years from the day it was initially issued. However, if the renewal application is not submitted at least one month before the expiration of the work permit’s validity, it is immediately deemed invalid, and the foreigner is subject to all actions and fines outlined in the applicable laws and regulations.

Upon obtaining a valid work permit, the employee is required to submit an application to secure a work residency permit from the General Security.

Public Holidays Recognized by Lebanon in 2024

Occasion Date
1. New Year’s Day January 1
2. Armenian Christmas Day January 6
3. St Maroun’s Day February 9
4. Rafik Hariri Memorial Day February 14
5. Annunciation Day March 25
6. Good Friday March 29
7. Easter Sunday March 31
8. Eid al-Fitr April 10
9. Labor Day May 1
10. Orthodox Good Friday May 3
11. Orthodox Easter Sunday May 5
12. Martyrs’ Day May 5
13. Resistance and Liberation Day May 12
14. Eid al-Adha June 16
15. Islamic New Year July 7
16. Ashura July 16
17. Assumption Day August 15
18. Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday September 15
19. Independence Day November 22
20. Christmas Day December 25

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