Can expatriates work in Tunisia? What are the labor market's requirements and conditions? Find out in this article.
Whether you are about to work or set up a business in Tunisia, the first thing you should do is to inquire on its labor market beforehand. Indeed, this will allow you determine you have the required qualifications and skills to work and live in this North African country.
According to the National Statistics Institution, unemployment rate rose up to 15.2% among the active population as at the end of 2015. This involves around 605,000 Tunisian workers among a population of 3,199,000 inhabitants.
The Tunisian labor force is shared between three main sectors, namely agriculture (18.3%), industry (31.9%) and services (49.8%).
However, men are less affected than women. In fact male unemployment accounts for 12.4% while female unemployment accounts for 22.2%.
Note that unemployment is mainly concentrated in the Greater Tunis (Tunis, Manouba, Ben Arous and Ariana) with around 195,000 unemployed, followed by East center with some 84,000 unemployed, the West center with some 74,000 of them, the Southeast with around 73,000, the Northeast with some 63,000, the Northwest with some 62,000 and the Southwest with around 51,000.
Policy for the protection and encouragement of the local workforce
Tunisia has adopted the African Charter on the Human and Peoples Laws on March 16, 1983. According to article 15 of this Charter: Everyone has the right to work under equitable and satisfactory conditions and shall receive equal pay for equal work.
A national policy on emigration and immigration has been developed so as to eliminate all forms of frustration within the Tunisian population. However, there are some restrictions regarding the employment of foreign nationals and thus favoring that of locals so as to reduce unemployment rate.
In all cases, national and foreign companies operating in the country may hire foreign professionals whereby the required expertise is not available locally. However, there is a limit regarding the number of foreign nationals that can be hired by sector.
Active labor force: 3 millions 199 000 people
Sectors: agriculture (16 %), industry (30 %), services (60 %)
Unemployment rate in 2015: 15,2 %
Minimum wage in non agricultural sectors as at May 2014:
- 48 hours regime: 348 dinars 96 millimes, calculated as follows: 319 dinars 904 millimes under the minimum wage, 26 dinars 112 millimes as transport allowance and 2 dinars 80 millimes as attendance bonus.
- 40 hours regime: 274 dinars 559 millimes per month
Agricultural minimum wage as at May 2014:
- Ordinary workers: 12 dinars 304 millimes per day
- Skilled agricultural workers: 13 dinars 537 millimes per day
Working conditions and wages
The Labor Code, as amended by Law 96-62 of 15 July 1996 fixed laws regarding working conditions in Tunisia. In fact, the code regulates the legal working age, the legal working week, entitlement to leaves, as well as employment contracts for both Tunisian and foreign workers.
Minimum working age
In Tunisia, children are allowed to work as from the age of 16. However, the ability of children to the work must be determined by medical supervision until the age of 18. In fact, a child can only remain in continuous employment provided he undergoes a medical examination every semester.
The legal working week consists of a maximum of 48 hours. Its duration can also be reduced without going lower than 40 hours a week.
An employee is entitled to a one hour rest during his working day. This break can be taken once or several times.
As regards part-time jobs, the legal working week should not exceed 70% of the normal working week. Note that accumulation of full-time and part-time work is prohibited.
Agricultural and non-agricultural workers, and their dependencies are entitled to a weekly rest day of twenty-four consecutive hours. This rest day may be granted either on Friday, on Saturday or on Sunday. In the agricultural sector, the rest day may also be granted on the weekly market day.
All employees are entitled to a paid day off per month annually, provided he has been working for the same employer for a month at least.
However, the duration of the requested leave can not exceed a period of fifteen days with twelve working days. After five years of service with the same employer, the employee is entitled to an additional leave per period.
Leave dates are fixed on the 1st January of each year. In general, these are granted every year from June 1st to October 31.
The minimum salary
The minimum wage in Tunisia is guaranteed by a decree adopted following consultation with employer and employee trade unions in all sectors. Negotiations can thus be made between the parties concerned in compliance with this decree. Hence, the minimum wage in non-agricultural sectors is fixed for men and women aged 18 or less.