Afghanistan’s GDP has grown by 64% since 2002 and the fiscal position is bolstered by continued revenue growth. The country’s major exports include natural gas, dried fruits, carpets, cotton, and wool. Since the end of Taliban regime, the infusion of billions of dollars from expatriates and foreign investors has enhanced the country’s growth during the last decade and half. The Afghan government invites foreign companies as part of its policy for growth, and foreign trade is an essential component of the country’s economy. The combined value of imports and exports is equal to 56% of the country’s GDP.
Currency: Afghan Afghani (AFN)
Principal Languages: Dari, Pashto
Government: Islamic Republic, Presidential System
Capital City: Kabul
Major Cities: Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kunduz, Ghazni
A written employment contract is mandatory in Afghanistan. The contract can be for a fixed or indefinite period, in which a probationary period of more than 3 months is allowed only after mutual consent between the employer and employee. The “fixed term” in a fixed-term contract cannot be longer than 1 year. The terms and conditions are deemed to be valid for an indefinite period if within 2 months of the fixed term’s expiry, the contract is not renewed or cancelled. The mutually-agreed changes made to the fixed-term contract after its expiry cannot be lesser or inferior in terms of wages and employment terms and conditions of the expired contract.
The employment contract must contain a statement validating that the remuneration, privileges, and work duties are within the legal framework of the country.
A copy of the contract needs to be submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Contracts of employees aged less than 18 need to be signed by their legal representatives.
The regular work schedule in Afghanistan has 40 hours a week. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs can approve reduced or increased working hours during a day but the weekly average over a period of 1 year should not be more than 40 hours per week.
The stipulated work hours for employees as determined by the government are below:
- Employees in the age group of 15 years to 18 years – 35 hours/week
- Pregnant women - 35 hours/week
- Employees in hazardous activities - 30 hours/week
Also, workers in certain occupations such as teaching, health work and others work lesser hours based on respective legislation.
Working hours can be reduced on account of the seasons of the year, the month of Ramadan, and severity of hot or cold weather. In the case of an occupation for which determination of weekly hours is difficult, the responsibility of calculating weekly hours is taken up by a relevant authority. Increase or decrease of working hours is confirmed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
Overtime is paid at 25% higher than the normal rate on normal working hours. Any work done on holidays is paid at 50% higher than the normal rate.
The following public holidays are observed in Afghanistan:
- The last day of the week (Friday – Weekly rest day)
- The first day of the [solar] year (Nawroz)
- 28th of Assad (the Independence Day of the country)
- 8th of Sawr, Victory of the Islamic Revolution of Afghanistan
- The 3 days of Eid- ul- Fetar
- 4 days of Eid- ul- Adhah and Arafa
- 12th of Rabiul Awal, the birth day of the Great Prophet of Islam (Peace be Upon Him)
- 10th of Muharam-al- Harram (the day of Ashura)
Some other days may be declared by the State of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as public holidays.
In Afghanistan, a worker gets recreational, sick, and urgent leave every year:
- A worker is entitled to 20 days of recreational leave with pay.
- A worker aged less than 18 is entitled to 25 days of recreational leave.
- Workers employed in hazardous work get 30 days of recreational leave.
- Workers may be granted more than 20 days of recreational leave per year upon following the due legal procedures.
- Teachers take leaves according to the rules of their educational institutions.
- Employees are entitled to paid sick leave of 20 days per year.
- An employee can take sick leave for 5 days by giving a notice in writing, but for subsequent days, he or she needs to present a medical certificate.
- Employees are allowed to use other leaves after using 20 days of sick leave during a year.
- Employees hired during the first half of the year are entitled to full annual leave while those hired in the second half get 50% of annual leave.
- Urgent leave of up to 3 days in succession and a total of 10 days in a year is allowed.
- Employees can take urgent leaves for death of a close relative such as parents, siblings, spouse, child, father and mother in-law, aunt, uncle or on the birth of their child.
- Pregnant employees are entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave, one-third of which is granted before delivery and the rest after delivery.
- In the case of an abnormal delivery or delivery of twins or more than 2 babies, an additional 15 days of leave is granted.
- The employee on maternity leave needs to report at her workplace within 5 days of the expiry of her maternity leave.
A worker is entitled to 10 days of leave with pay for marriage.
Leave for Teachers and Professors
Teachers and professors shall receive the usual annual leave if they don’t get the benefit of such leave from their educational institution.
Wage and other rights during Recreational Leave
- The employer needs to pay wages and other allowances in advance for the period of recreational leave.
Pilgrimage (Hajj) Leave
- An employee is granted a maximum 45 days of paid leave for the Hajj pilgrimage or pilgrimage of other sacred places.
- The Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs needs to issue a certificate for the employee to receive the benefits of the pilgrimage.
Pension and Social Security
In Afghanistan, an employer is not obliged to make a social security contribution. The government pays into social security account of employees based on the amount of their contribution. The employer is also allowed to pay into the social security accounts of its workers.
Social Insurance Programs
Under Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance, the social benefits available to employees include old-age, survivor, disability, sickness and maternity benefits. Old-age pension is payable to persons aged 65 or older with a minimum 10 years of contribution, or 55 years old with a minimum contribution of 25 years. The employer needs to contribute its share in these contributions and the value of benefit is equal to 50% of the latest salary.
Types of Social Securities
Benefits under social security include:
- Food allowance
- Medical services
- Lump sum payment at retirement equal to 10 months of remuneration
- Child birth assistance
- Burial assistance
- Medical services for employee and his or her family members according to the financial capability of the Administration
- The usual retirement age is 65 that can be extended by 5 years with the consent of the employee.
- After completing the default working period of 40 years, an employee is entitled to receive retirement benefits according to their latest wage.
- Retirement benefits of government administrative employees, scientific researchers and workers of higher education institutions are regulated by relevant legislation.
Retirement from arduous work
- On completion of every 5 years of arduous work, the employee’s working period for obtaining benefits is reduced by 1 year while for every 5 years of underground work or work considered harmful to health, the working period is reduced by 2 years.
- The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and Public Health determines the standards and rules regarding hazardous work.
Pension from multiple sources
- An employee can choose to collect his or her pension payments from one source in case there are multiple pension sources.
- Survivors of pensioner are entitled to receive pension payments from all pension sources.
- An increment in pension of retired employees and survivors of the deceased is granted in proportion to a raise in the general level of wages.
Monetary privilege of education
The monetary privileges on account of completion of scientific and other forms of higher education shall be regarded as an essential part of wage in benefit calculations.
Supplement to Wages
Supplements are added to wages subject to certain conditions such as unfavorable conditions of work, requirement of high technical skills and other factors as stipulated by the legislation.
The administration can provide incentive payments to improve work efficiency and promote product quality through a system of remuneration and encouragement. The rules and provisions for incentive payments are determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in consultation with the employers, and also require approval of the Ministry of Finance.
How GPS can Help
With our Global PEO/Employer of Record services, companies can expand into Afghanistan and hire their employees without having to establish a branch office or subsidiary in Afghanistan.
- Your candidate is hired via our Afghanistan PEO. If needed, we can also help you find the right talent in any country with our comprehensive global staffing services.
- Your new employee begins work quickly as we take care of employment contracts, statutory and non-statutory benefits, and running their payroll - all in full compliance with Afghanistan laws.
- Global PEO Services experts manage all day-to-day operational issues such as employee expenses, and severance/termination if required.
- With no contractor risks, pass on the compliance burden to Global PEO Services.
Spin Off/M&A Support
- Ensure continuity of payroll, benefits and HR support when acquiring or spinning off a business with employees overseas.
24/7 Support in 100+ Countries
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Ready for Growth When You Are
When ready, we can seamlessly transition you from the PEO/EOR model to your own legal entity and provide ongoing international HR, finance, legal, compliance and staffing support. Learn more about our end-to-end international expansion services.