Shift In Iraq Labour Law For The First Time In 18 Years

On August 17th the Iraqi Parliament passed a revolutionary new labour law, replacing the old one which - remarkably, given the change the country as a whole has experienced - has remained entirely unchanged since 1987.

The new law will come into effect 90 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of Iraq.     

According to the Iraqi officials, the new labour law meets several core conventions of ILO (International Labor Organization) and is a step towards improving the fundamental rights of Iraqi workers.

The final text of the new labour law has not been made available to the public yet, however the draft law circulated during the passing process encompasses the following key elements:             

Wages:             

  • Wages are required be paid in Iraqi currency (dinars), unless otherwise specified in the employment contract.
  • In a significant move for gender equality, salaries must be equal for men and women for the same type of work.           

Working Hours and Leave:         

  • The daily working hours must not exceed 8 hours per day, subject to the exceptions provided in the Labour Law - except for certain exceptions
  • Each worker shall be entitled to a rest period of no less than 11 consecutive hours of rest between two working days, calculated as starting at the end of the effective working day and the beginning of the following day of work.
  • Every worker is entitled to at least one weekly rest period of no less than 24 consecutive hours. Friday shall be the weekly day of rest and may be exchanged by another day of the week.
  • After completing one year of service, a worker shall be entitled to at least 20 days leave for each year of work.
  • A worker may take their annual leave all at once or divide it up over several periods.
  • Every worker is entitled to 30 days of paid sick leave over the course of 12 months.
  • Overtime pay rates shall not be less than 50% of the usual wage if it is daytime work and no less than the twice the wage if it is nighttime work, work during a day of rest or if it is an arduous or harmful work.             

Collective bargaining:

  • Workers’ unions and federations may conclude collective agreements on behalf of its members if authorised to do so by the workers.  

Contracts:                                        

  • Three copies of individual employment contracts shall be presented in writing and approved by the relevant legal authority or department for the private sector, with each party receiving a copy and the third copy to be deposited with the party which approved it.
  • The employment contract shall be signed for a determined period, provided said period does not exceed one year, for the performance of a specific job or provision of a service related to a work or enterprise ending on a specific date or expected date.
  • If a temporary employment contract has been renewed more than once, it shall be deemed a contract for an undetermined period.
  • When the worker decides to resign, he is required to give notice to the employer at least 30 days in advance. If the worker quits without notice or before the expiry of the notice period specified in the contract, the worker shall pay to the employer compensation equivalent to the notice period or fraction thereof.
  • For the violations of different aspects of the law, there are penalties payable up to 500,000 dinars (£300 at time of writing)