Employment relations in Tunisia are governed by the Labor Code of 1956. Labor contracts may be for a definite or an indefinite period of time. A definite period contract may specify that it is valid for either a limited period of time or for a specific task. If the parties continue such a contract after the agreed expiration date, then it becomes a contract for an indefinite period.
A labor contract may be terminated by agreement of the contracting parties or as a result of resignation or dismissal of the employee. In the latter case, the employee is entitled to severance pay. The Labor Code sets standards regarding other employment conditions, such as the maximum number of work hours per week, the minimum wage level, overtime work rate and annual leave. Regional labor inspectors are responsible for the enforcement of such regulations. Worker health and safety standards are regulated and enforced by the Social Affairs Ministry.
The law providing incentives to foreign investors has granted wide employment facilities for expatriate personnel. For instance, foreign managers acting in their capacity as employers are not required to hold a work contract, and their company or enterprise may, with a simple declaration to the appropriate authorities, hire up to four expatriate technicians who may choose either a foreign social security system or the Tunisian system to which they must contribute a fixed amount set at 20 percent of their gross income.
Social security payments in respect of Tunisian employees are paid by the employer who contributes 20 percent of the employee’s wage to the system and deducts 6.25 percent from the employee’s wages for this purpose to be paid on the employee’s behalf.
The right of workers to form unions is secured in the Tunisian Constitution and in the Labor Code. The right of unions to strike is conditional upon the fulfillment of certain conditions, such as giving ten days advance notice and receiving the approval of the Central Labor Federation.
Tunisian law protects the right to organize and to bargain collectively. Working conditions (such as wages) are fixed through the negotiation of approximately forty-five collective bargaining agreements, which determined standards applicable to entire economic sectors.
The government must confirm the collective bargaining agreements, though it cannot modify them. After government confirmation, the agreements are published in the official journal, a mandatory condition for the legal validity of the agreements.