Know the Employment Act

The Employment Act, introduced in 2000, outlines the minimum standards of employment for individuals, including both Bermudian and non-Bermudian, working in Bermuda.


Here’s what all employers need to know*. Within the first week of hiring, you need to provide your new employee with a written statement of employment that includes a description of their role, wage and payment intervals, hours, vacation policy, dress code, details of their pension and any probationary period as well as terms relating to sick leave and termination.

The minimum required vacation allotment is two weeks annually after the first year of continuous employment. In addition, public holidays must be granted with pay. In the case where an employee must work on a public holiday, you must pay overtime or grant time off in lieu. Days off must be granted for public duties, including jury duty and elections. These are paid days for those who have completed at least one continuous year of employment.

Employees who have completed one year of employment are entitled to eight paid sick days each year. A separate three-day unpaid bereavement leave is earmarked for the loss of an immediate family member or loved one with whom an employee shared a household. In the event of an overseas funeral for an immediate family member, five days should be granted.

Pregnant employees are entitled to time off for prenatal medical appointments, though you may require a doctor’s written confirmation. This time is paid for those who have been employed over one year. If an employee has worked for you at least one year by her expected due date, maternity leave is eight weeks paid and an additional four weeks unpaid. Women are entitled to return from leave to their same, or a comparable, position, at the same pay.

No employee can be terminated without a valid reason, such as poor performance, misconduct or redundancy. The only exception is during the probationary period, outlined in the contract. If the employer terminates the employment agreement and the employee has worked for you more than one year, they are entitled to severance pay. Employees who terminate the employment contract must give notice, the period of which depends on how often the employee is paid.

Overtime is defined as over 40 hours a week. Unless the contract indicates the need to work more than 40 hours per week hours, overtime must be paid at a special rate or compensated by time off in lieu. In addition, other than for medical practitioners, police, prison and fire officers, everyone is entitled to a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours each week.

Your contract may provide additional benefits, but at the very least, it must uphold the minimum requirements in the Act. The Act does not apply to people under 16 years old, students or casual, part-time, temporary or volunteer employees. For more information, visit

Kellianne Smith joined the Argus Group in 2013 and is responsible for leading the global operations of the HR, OD and Administration Services team in Bermuda as well as has joint reporting responsibility for the HR/OD resources in the Gibraltar and Malta offices. She has more than 15 years combined expertise in strategic human resource management, recruitment, employee relations/ negotiations, training and leadership development.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.