Suriname is the smallest independent nation in South America. Despite most of the country being dominated by rainforests, many companies can enjoy the benefits of joining a new market when they expand their business to Suriname.
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Hiring, Negotiating, and Doing Business
When you open your company’s doors in a new country, you must follow that nation’s business and employment laws. If your company decides to handle expansion internally, compliance can become challenging quickly.
Globalization Partners is an Employer of Record that takes care of compliance during every step of your company’s expansion, including hiring, negotiating, and doing business. Our in-country experts work with our legal team to eliminate oversight without burdening your in-house team.
The minimum wage is 8.40 Surinamese dollars (SRD) per hour. If your employee’s salary exceeds the minimum wage, there are no compulsory wages. However, a candidate may negotiate predictable raises in their employment agreement. Employees also have the legal right to join labor unions, and collective labor agreements are valid.
Suriname labor laws differentiate between employment agreements, agreements contracting a party to perform certain services, and agreements for the contract of services. If you want to hire another party, you must establish an employer-employee relationship for labor performed specifically by the employee.
Under an employment contract, the employee must receive a salary. The government recognizes both fixed-term and permanent employment agreements. However, you may hire your employee for a trial period that cannot exceed two months.
A legal employment agreement can be verbal, though most employers choose to draft a written contract. This practice is valuable in the event of legal disputes. If you need to make certain provisions as an employer, such as prohibiting an employee from working for your competition, you must put those stipulations in a written agreement. If you fail to provide these provisions in writing, they will not be legally binding.
The average workweek is six days long. Most employees may only work 8.5 hours a day and not over 48 hours a week. Security professionals can work 12 hours a day during a 72-hour workweek, and employees who perform security tasks alongside other jobs may work 10 hours each day for a 60-hour workweek. The Ministry of Labor may permit longer working hours under certain circumstances, and specific industries are exempt from these maximums.
If an employee works more than six hours, they are entitled to a half-hour break after competing five hours of their shift. The head of the Labor Inspection Unit may impose longer break minimums.
If you want employees to work overtime, you must request an overtime permit from the Labor Inspection Unit. Employees cannot perform work on Sunday or nationally observed holidays.
When you expand your company to Suriname, you must abide by the country’s public holidays. Since the nation’s population includes people from several cultures and religions, your employees are entitled to paid holidays on significant dates from various places worldwide. Workers observe the following holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- The Chinese New Year
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Labor Day
- Eid al-Fitr
- Eid al-Adha
- Emancipation Day
- Indigenous Person’s Day
- Maroons Day
- Independence Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
After a full year of employment — without taking more than 30 days of absence, excluding sick leave — employees are entitled to 12 vacation days per year. Workers then receive two extra days of vacation leave with a cap of 18 days after each year of employment. While this maximum ends the compulsory addition of annual leave, you can offer extra vacation days at your discretion. Often, employers provide additional vacation days to top candidates.
Employees are responsible for taking their vacation leave each year. At least six of the awarded days must comprise a single instance of leave. If an employee takes more than 30 days of absence, you may revoke a proportional number of vacation days.
Sick and Maternity Leave
Suriname is one of a few countries in the United Nations that does not impose federal mandates for paid maternity leave. The lack of legislation surrounding parental leave can complicate hiring and employment. To gain necessary leave, candidates who plan to start or expand their family may negotiate terms for parental leave in their employment contracts. Those agreements are legally binding in the absence of laws on this topic.
Employees who receive under SRD 2,646 are exempt from paying income taxes. The taxable percentages for other brackets are:
- SRD 2,646-SRD 14,002.80. Eight percent
- SRD 14,002.80-SRD 21,919.80. 18 percent
- SRD 21,919.80-SRD 32,839.80. 28 percent
- Above SRD 32,839.80. 38 percent
The government taxes compensation for overtime separately at these rates:
- Under SRD 500: Five percent
- SRD 500-SRD 1,100: 15 percent
- Above SRD 1,100: 25 percent
Health Insurance, Bonuses, and Additional Benefits
All people are entitled to basic health care provisions under the National Basic Health Insurance Law. Everyone contributes to this fund, except for citizens younger than 16 and older than 60, as the government handles contributions for these groups. You must pay half of the required contribution for each employee and are responsible for outlining your withholding method in the employment agreement.
From birth until a person reaches 16 years old, the government contributes SRD 55 to fund public health care. The other age brackets are:
- 17-20. SRD 75
- 21-59. SRD 165
After age 60, the government resumes contributions. At this age, monthly payments equal SRD 240.
Bonuses are not compulsory. However, offering them can improve employee satisfaction and attract highly qualified candidates. Competitive benefits packages may also feature premium health insurance, extra vacation leave, and maternity leave.
Termination of the Employment Agreement
The Dismissal Board issues dismissal permits through the Ministry of Labor. Dismissal permits are relevant for termination that follows the required notice periods. These mandatory notice periods change based on the duration of a worker’s service. You may have to give up to six months of notice.
Notice periods and dismissal permits are not compulsory under some circumstances. Those situations include:
- Termination through mutual consent.
- The end of a fixed-term employment agreement.
- Termination during the trial period.
- Early retirement or death of the employee.
If you have grounds for urgent dismissal, such as theft, harassment, or misconduct, you must provide evidence of these claims to the Head of the Ministry of Labor. Under these circumstances, you may not end the contract without their approval.
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