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Recruiting employees

Personnel may be hired through private employment agencies which charge for their services or by the placement of advertisements in the local newspapers, television or radio.

Employees may also be recruited through the Employment Exchange operated by the Ministry of Labour. Employers desirous of recruiting employees through this exchange may do so by contacting the Ministry and giving details of the positions they wish to fill within their organsation.

Immigration and work permits

Nationals of Commonwealth countries, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Suriname, Japan, Korea and the Unites States of America do not require a visa to enter Guyana on arrival for a stay not exceeding three (3) months.

Persons from those countries who desire to extend their stay or take up residence must apply to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Foreign nationals are required to obtain work permits if they wish to be employed in Guyana. Requests for work permits are made by way of application to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The following information is necessary when applying:
  • Full name
  • Employer (in country of origin)
  • Nationality
  • Prospective employer in Guyana
  • Date of birth 
  • Age
  • Passport number 
  • Duration of stay
  • Marital status
  • Profession
  • Work permits are generally valid for the duration of the applicants stay in Guyana up to a maximum of three (3) years.


    Wages and salaries vary considerably depending on the industry and are usually determined in the contract of employment. However, there are statutory provisions regulating the minimum wage payable in certain occupations and the Minister of Labour is empowered by law to determine the minimum wage payable in any occupation in Guyana.

    National Insurance

    The National Insurance Scheme is operated by the National Insurance Board under the National Insurance and Social Security Act. Contributions are made by the employer and the employee in proportions of 7.2% and 4.8% respectively.

    Benefits include sickness, maternity leave, employment injury, pensions and funeral grants.

    The scheme does not make allowance for the payment of unemployment benefits. NIS deductions are made at the source and it is the responsibility of the employer to make such deductions and forward them to the Board within the prescribed time.

    More Information

    Health Insurance

    It is advisable that employers take out health insurance in respect of their employees. Insurance companies operating in Guyana offer Personal Accident Coverage (PA) to individuals as well as Group Insurance Coverage. It should be noted that insurers are reluctant to insure less than ten individuals for any one group policy.

    There are several local and regional insurance companies and brokers which can provide or access services to meet the specific needs of customers.


    This is governed by the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act. An employee is redundant where his termination of employment is part of a reduction in the work force.
    The employee is entitled to be notified as early as possible but not later than one month
    from the date of the existence of any circumstance occasioning redundancy.

    An employee is entitled to notice in the following manner:
  • Two weeks for less than one year’s service;
  • One month for one or more years of service

    Redundancy benefits are payable to employees who have completed one year or more of service and are calculated on the basis of the wage paid at the time of redundancy.

    Termination of employment

    This is governed by the Termination of employment and Severance Pay Act.

    A contract of employment for an unspecified period of time may at any time be terminated
  • by mutual consent of the parties;
  • on any ground of redundancy; or
  • by either party for good or sufficient cause or by notice given to or served upon the other party.
  • The employment of a new employee serving a probationary period may be terminated by either party for any reason without notice during that period.

    An employer is entitled to summarily dismiss, without notice or payment of any severance or redundancy allowance or termination benefit, any employee who is guilty of serious misconduct.
    Unless there are exceptional circumstances the Act requires that before an employee is dismissed for misconduct he should have been given adequate warning. An employee is entitled to seek redress from the High Court where he is unfairly dismissed or disciplined.

    An employee who has completed one year or more years of continuous employment with an employer is entitled to be paid a severance allowance equivalent to one, two or three week’s wages for each completed year of service depending on the length of service.


  • The Trade Union Recognition Act provides, inter alia, for recognition of the majority Trade Union by the employer and negotiations in good faith on the part of both Union and employer for the purpose of collective bargaining.

    The Act also provides that a workers employment cannot be made subject to the condition that he shall or shall not join a trade union and no employment can be terminated or adversely affected by the employer as a result of an employee being an officer, delegate or member of a trade union.

  • The Prevention of Discrimination Act provides for the elimination of discrimination in employment, training, recruitment and membership of professional bodies and the promotion of equal remuneration to men and women in employment who perform work of equal value.

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act provides, inter alia, for the registration and regulation of industrial establishments for the occupational safety and health of persons at work.

  • The Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act provides for the conditions governing termination of employment and the grant of redundancy or severance payment to employees.

  • National Insurance and Social Security Act: This Act establishes a system of National Insurance and social security providing pecuniary payments by way of old age benefits, survivor’s benefits, sickness benefits, maternity benefits and funeral benefits.

    It also provides as a substitute for compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance, a system of insurance against injury or death caused by accidents arising out of and in the course of employment or resulting from disease due to the nature of employment.

  • Factories Act: provides for the registration and regulation of factories.
    Every factory is required to register with the Labour Authority. Every owner, occupier or manager of a factory must within thirty days after the factory comes into operation make application (there is a prescribed form) to the Labour Authority for the registration of that factory.

  • Accidental Deaths and Personal Injuries (Damages) Act: provides for compensation in cases of accidental deaths in general and in cases of injury of workmen.

    Where personal injury is caused to a workman by reason of during the course of his employment he, or if the injury results in death, his personal representative and anyone entitled in the case of death has the same right of compensation and remedies against the employer. However, the Act limits the sum recoverable as compensation.

  • Accidents and Occupational Diseases (Notification) Act: provides for the notification of accidents and occupational diseases to the Chief Labour Officer who is responsible for the administration of the Act.

    Where any accident arising out of and in the course of the employment of any worker occurs causing loss of life or disability to such worker written notice thereof must be sent by the employer to the Chief Labour Officer.

    An employer is required to keep a register of all accidents in respect of his employees.

  • Employment of Young Persons and Children Act: This Act was passed to give effect to conventions signed by the Government of Guyana on November 28, 1919 and July 9, 1920 at general conferences of the International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations.

    It defines a child as a person under sixteen years old and prohibits any child from being employed in an industrial undertaking and the employment of any young person or woman at night in an industrial undertaking.

    However, the competent authority in each country is responsible for defining the line of division which separates industry from commerce and agriculture.

  • Holidays with Pay Act and Public Holidays Act: The Holidays with Pay Act provides for annual holidays with pay for workers in certain occupations and gives the Minister power to prescribe for holidays with pay in any occupation.

    They are regarded as a safety measure for workers in high-risk areas of work.
    The Public Holidays Act makes provision for the payment of wages and the fulfillment of obligations owed by employers in respect of such holidays.

    A public holiday is one kept as a holiday by all banks, educational institutions, public offices and government departments.

  • Equal Rights Act: prohibits discrimination in the pay and benefits given to men and women performing the same work.
  • Labour Act: charges the Department of Labour with the regulation of the relationship between employers and employees and the settlement of differences between them.

    It makes provision, inter alia, for the regulation of wages the rights of employees and the duties and obligations of employers, the payment of wages and deductions there from and the hours of work of employees.

    Trade Unions

    Trade Unionism is very active in Guyana. Membership in trade unions is voluntary. Legislation provides, inter alia, for recognition of the majority Trade Union by the employer.

    Disputes are resolved bilaterally, that is, between the Union and the employer. Where no agreement can be reached the matter is then referred to the Chief Labour Officer. Arbitration is the last course of action taken and may take one of three forms-
  • The parties agree that the matter be arbitrated and choose an arbitrator;
  • A Tribunal is formed under the Arbitration Act; or
  • The Minister may make an order for compulsory arbitration where he believes that the matter at hand is such that it is in the best interest of the country that it be resolved.

    There are approximately 18 functioning trade unions which fall under the umbrella of the Trade Union Congress. Approximately 33% of the wok force is unionised.

    Holidays and Vacations

    Employees are entitled to be paid for time taken off of work for each of the country’s thirteen public/ national holidays. Employers usually pay ‘overtime’ to those employees required to work on these holidays.

    The length of an employee’s vacation is usually dependant on length of service and seniority and may vary from two to five weeks per year.

    Occupational safety

    The Occupational Safety and Health Act governs the registration and regulation of industrial establishments and makes provision for occupational health and safety at work.

    An “Industrial establishment” means a factory, shop, office or workplace.

    The Act requires every industrial establishment to be registered.
    The Act requires the establishment of a safety and health committee at every industrial establishment at which twenty or more workers are regularly employed.
    The main objective of the Committee is the promotion of co-operation between employers and employees in investigating, developing and carrying out measures to ensure the Safety and Health at work of the employees.

    The employer is responsible for ensuring that the Committee is established and maintained.

    Taxation of employment income

    Link to taxation

    Making contact:

    Ministry of Health and Labour
    Tel. # 592.2.65861
    Fax # 592.2.54505
    Ministry of Home Affairs
    Tel. # 592.2.63454
    Trade Union Congress
    Critchlow Labour College Compound
    Woolford Avenue
    Tel. # 592.2.61493