Answer ... The primary instrument that governs employment in the private and mixed sectors in Lebanon is the Labour Law of 1946.
Other domestic sources include:
- the Law on Regulating Foreigners’ Employment, enacted by Decree 17561/1964;
- the Social Security Law, enacted by Decree 13955/1963;
- the Collective Agreements, Mediation and Arbitration Law, enacted by Decree 17386/1964;
- the Occupational Emergencies and Injuries Law, enacted by Decree-Law 136/1983;
- the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Law, enacted by Decree 11802/2004;
- the Code of Obligations and Contracts of 1932; and
- the Penal Code enacted by Decree-Law 340/1943.
In addition, governmental decrees and decisions issued by the Ministry of Labour and customary practices further regulate employment in Lebanon.
Lebanon has also signed a number of international and Arab labour conventions. For instance, Lebanon has signed the following International Labour Organization conventions, among others:
- Convention 139/1974 on Occupational Cancer (Law 116/1999);
- Convention 159/1983 on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) (Law 116/1999);
- Convention 176/1995 on Safety and Health in Mines (Law 116/1999);
- Convention 148/1977 on Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) (Law 591/2004); and
- the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006 (Law 235/2012).
Similarly, Lebanon has signed certain conventions of the Arab Labour Organization, including the following:
- Convention 1/1966 on Labour Standards (Law 183/2000);
- Convention 9/1977 on Vocational Guidance and Training (Law 183/2000);
- Convention 13/1981 on the Working Environment (Law 183/2000);
- Convention 15/1983 on the Determination and Protection of Wages (Law 183/2000);
- Convention 17/1993 on the Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Law 183/2000);
- Convention 18/1996 on the Work of Young Persons (Law 183/2000); and
- Convention 19/1998 on Labour Inspection (Law 586/2004).
The Labour Law applies to:
- all employers and employees, except for those expressly excluded by applicable law;
- establishments and their branches, of whatever commercial or industrial nature; and
- agencies and subsidiaries of whatever nature, whether local or foreign, public or private.
Employees in the public sector are regulated by Decree-Law 112/1959 on Civil Servants’ Regulation and Decree-Law 115/1959 on the Establishment of the Central Investigation Office.
Answer ... Lebanon distinguishes between individual and collective employment contracts, and separately regulates the latter in the Collective Agreements Law, enacted in 1964.
A collective employment contract is an instrument governing employment terms that is concluded between a party representing one or more employee trade unions and another party (ie, an individual employer; a group of employers; a representative of one or more professional bodies or one or more unions of employers).
The employee representative must be vested with the authorisation of at least 60% of the relevant employees in order to negotiate a collective agreement. The collective agreement shall be executed in writing and becomes binding upon the earlier of:
- publication in the Official Gazette by the Ministry of Labour; or
- one month after its registration at the Ministry of Labour.
Any trade union, professional body or employer that is not a party to the collective agreement can unilaterally decide to join the collective agreement without the consent of the initial signatories, by virtue of a written request submitted to the Ministry of Labour.
Answer ... Employment contracts may be oral or written. Written contracts are more common, particularly for office jobs. Employment contracts may be either fixed term or indefinite in duration.
Fixed-term contracts are executed for a specific period or for the performance of specific work. Such contracts are not subject to the severance pay and termination notice obligations detailed in question 5. Nonetheless, in case of renewal of a fixed-term contract, either by a renewal agreement or by continued execution of the contract, the employee shall be entitled to the same severance pay as would be payable under an indefinite-term contract as per Article 23 of Convention 1/1966 on Labour Standards.
The Labour Law is silent on the minimum terms to be included in the employment contract. In the absence of the inclusion of clauses which are more favourable to the employee in the contract, the minimum rights set by applicable laws – including maximum working hours and leave entitlement – are implied.