Our labour law in Zimbabwe recognizes written and unwritten contracts of employment.
The Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) stipulates that every person who is employed by or working for any other person and receiving or entitled to receive any remuneration in respect of such employment or work shall be deemed to be under a contract of employment with that other person, whether such contract is reduced to writing or not.
However our law mandates that once an employer engages an employee the employer shall inform the employee in writing of the following particulars which are the essential elements of a contract of employment;
(a) the name and address of the employer;
(b) the period of time, if limited, for which the employee is engaged;
(c) the terms of probation, if any;
(d) the terms of any employment code;
(e) particulars of the employee’s remuneration, its manner of calculation and the intervals at which it will be paid;
(f) particulars of the benefits receivable in the event of sickness or pregnancy;
(g) hours of work;
(h) particulars of any bonus or incentive production scheme;
(i) particulars of vacation leave and vacation pay;
(j) particulars of any other benefits provided under the contract of employment.
A contract of employment that does not specify its duration or date of termination, other than a contract for casual work or seasonal work or for the performance of some specific service, shall be deemed to be a contract without limit of time.
This means that an employment contract which does not specify when its ending or is silent on its duration is deemed to be one of a permanent nature.
Except where a longer period of notice has been provided for under a contract of employment or in any relevant enactment, and subject to compliance with other relevant provisions of the law the notice of termination of the contract of employment to be given by either party shall be—
(a) three months in the case of a contract without limit of time or a contract for a period of two years or more;
(b) two months in the case of a contract for a period of one year or more but less than two years;
(c) one month in the case of a contract for a period of six months or more but less than one year;
(d) two weeks in the case of a contract for a period of three months or more but less than six months;
(e) one day in the case of a contract for a period of less than three months or in the case of casual work or seasonal work.
A contract of employment may provide in writing for a single, non-renewable probationary period of not more than—
(a) one day in the case of casual work or seasonal work; or
(b) three months in any other case;
during which notice of termination of the contract to be given by either party may be one week in the case of casual work or seasonal work or two weeks in any other case.
The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.
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