Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

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4. Results: Answers
Labour and Employment
Employment benefits
Is there a national minimum wage that must be adhered to?

Answer ... Under the Labour Law, a minimum wage may be proposed by a specific committee established within the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and submitted to the Council of Ministers for enactment. The minimum wage shall be determined and updated regularly, subject to economic factors.

At the time of writing, the minimum wage in Iraq is IQD 350,000 (approximately $293.29).

The employer shall be subject to a penalty of not less than twice the legally prescribed minimum wage if it violates the Labour Law’s provisions governing the minimum wage. Additionally, the employer shall pay compensation to an employee corresponding to twice the difference between the wage paid to the employee and the minimum wage, in the event that the actual wage paid is less than the prescribed minimum wage.

For more information about this answer please contact: Malek Takieddine from Aljad Law
Is there an entitlement to payment for overtime?

Answer ... The Labour Law defines ‘overtime work’ as any work performed:

  • during daily or weekly rest periods;
  • on feast days and public holidays that are officially adopted in Iraq; and
  • in excess of the daily working hours.

In principle, the daily working hours may not exceed eight per day or 48 per week.

However, certain work categories are explicitly exempted from these caps, including management roles (ie, persons who hold supervisory and managerial positions), security jobs and works that require secrecy. In such cases the applicable working hours shall be determined by instructions issued by the minister of labour and social affairs.

Working hours may be extended in some cases, including the following:

  • in case of accident or imminent accident, urgent repair of devices or machines or other instances of force majeure. In such cases, the increase in the number of working hours should be proportionate to the time necessary to prevent the suspension of normal activities in the enterprise; and
  • if the circumstances require that work be performed in continuous consecutive shifts, provided that the total weekly working hours do not exceed 56 and the employee’s right to a compensatory day of rest per week is still respected.

Working hours may also be extended by decision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, after consultation with the relevant employers and employees’ associations. Such exceptions may be granted in order to:

  • address exceptional workloads as a result of feast days, seasonal work or other circumstances;
  • repair or maintain devices, tools and machines whose shutdown would interrupt work in the enterprise;
  • prevent the deterioration of substances or products; or
  • draw up the annual inventory and accounts, or prepare for the end of one season and the start of the next.

In granting such exceptions, the ministry will specify the maximum additional working hours in each case, as well as the overtime pay rates, which shall be:

  • not be less than one and a half times the usual hourly wage for day work; and
  • not less than twice the usual hourly wage for night work or work that is arduous or harmful.

A worker should be compensated with one rest day during the week if work is done on his or her weekly day of rest.

The total amount of daily overtime permitted depends on the nature of the work performed. For example:

  • for industrial activities performed in shifts, overtime shall not be more than one hour per day, except in the following cases, where daily overtime can be extended to up to four hours:
    • work of an unusual nature; or
    • preparatory or complementary work for industrial activities; and
  • for non-industrial activities, up to four hours.

In any case, the total amount of overtime cannot exceed 40 hours over a 90-day period or 120 hours over a 12-month period.

For more information about this answer please contact: Malek Takieddine from Aljad Law
Is there an entitlement to annual leave? If so, what is the minimum that employees are entitled to receive?

Answer ... Employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 days of annual leave on full pay after one year of service. This annual leave is increased to a minimum of 30 days for employees who undertake arduous or harmful work. Annual leave increases gradually with years of service, pursuant to the Labour Law.

Any agreement through which an employee waives his or her right to the minimum paid annual leave, whether in exchange for or without compensation, is deemed null and void.

For more information about this answer please contact: Malek Takieddine from Aljad Law
Is there a requirement to provide sick leave? If so, what is the minimum that employees are entitled to receive?

Answer ... Employees are entitled to fully paid sick leave of 30 days for every year of service, up to a total of 180 days. If a sick employee exhausts this period of sick leave without recovering, he or she shall be subject to the Social Security Law. The retirement and social security fund shall reimburse the employer for any wages paid to the insured employee for that period of sick leave exceeding 30 days per year of service.

For more information about this answer please contact: Malek Takieddine from Aljad Law
Is there a statutory retirement age? If so, what is it?

Answer ... The Labour Law does not explicitly provide for a retirement age in Iraq. The Social Security Law remains the primary legislation that governs retirement in the private sector in Iraq and applies alongside the Labour Law.

The Social Security Law indirectly determines the retirement age. Article 65 states that an employee becomes entitled to a retirement salary upon termination of employment where, among other things, the employee:

  • has reached the age of 60 for men or 55 for women and has completed at least 20 years of covered service; or
  • has completed at least 30 years of covered service for men or 25 years for women.

Based on the foregoing, it is commonly accepted in Iraq that the retirement age in the private sector is 60 for men and 55 for women.

For more information about this answer please contact: Malek Takieddine from Aljad Law
Labour and Employment