Types of Contracts of Employment in Cameroon
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
This refers to an agreement between the employer and the employee whereby the employee willfully accepts to place or put his gainful services under the control and supervision of the employer in return for wages or salary. The two parties involved in a contract of employment are
- The employee or the worker
- The employer
Types of Contracts of Employment
There are two main types of contracts of employment, namely; contracts of specified duration and contracts of unspecified duration. Besides these two, there exist other forms of employment contracts some of which we are going to examine below.
1. Contracts of Specified Duration
In labour law, a contract of specified duration is one of fixed and defined tenure. In other words, these are contracts whose duration is pre-determined in advance by the parties themselves. Sec
tion 25(1 a) of the labour code defines contracts of specified duration as a contract whose termination is fixed in advance by both parties. According to the code, a contract of fixed duration may not be concluded for a duration of more than (2) two years renewable once.
This implies that, a contract of fixed duration has a maximum duration of four years and any second renewal of the contract automatically converts it to a contract of unspecified duration (section 25(3)).
Contracts of specified duration do not require notice before termination given that the parties had already decided on the duration of their contract and any further notice might just be considered superfluous.
The termination of such a contract depends on the expressed intention of the parties, the performance of a specified activity or the occurrence of an event so stated in the contract.
Therefore, a contract of employment of specified duration may not be terminated prior to its expiry except in the case of gross misconduct, force majeure, or by the written consent of both parties (section 38).
2. Contracts of Unspecified Duration
A contract of unspecified duration is defined by section 25 (b) of the code as a contract whose termination is not fixed in advance. These types of contract are very common and by law, they are meant to last till the worker attains the age of retirement.
However, this does not mean that contracts of unspecified duration are permanent and interminable for by virtue of section 25 (b) of the code, this kind of contract can be terminated legitimately at any time by either of the parties provided he/she provides notice of such termination.
This notice of termination must be in writing, stating the reasons for such termination; if it is from the employer, these reasons must be well justified.
During the period of notice of termination, both parties must respect contractual obligations as before and in addition to this, the worker shall be allowed one day off each week (with pay) for the purpose of seeking other employment and paid for these days off (section 34).
However, a contract of unspecified duration can be terminated without notice in case of gross misconduct, force majeure (unforeseen circumstances) or pregnancy (section 84).
Other Forms of Contract of Employment
The 1992 labour code of Cameroon identifies other forms of labour contracts besides that of specified and unspecified duration.
Section 25(4) of the labour code recognizes occasional, temporal contracts,and seasonal contracts under which certain workers may be recruited as employees. Such employments are mainly dictated by the unexpected developments in the industry or enterprise.
a) Temporal contracts: It is an employment contract aimed at replacing a worker who is absent, or whose contract has been suspended, or for the realization of a given task for a period of time.
According to article 5(2) of ministerial order 37 governing these contracts, temporary contracts may not be concluded for a period exceeding from one day to 15 days or may they be renewable more than once i.e. it has a minimum of one day, and a maximum of 30 days.
b) Occasional contracts: This is an employment contract aimed at executing some improvised activities in the enterprise e.g. urgent repairs to avoid accidents. Its duration is not above 15 (fifteen) days.
c) Seasonal contracts: These contracts are mostly practiced in agricultural and other harvesting units of the country. It is dependent on climates of the year. It should not exceed 6 (six) months.
According to article 7(1) of Law, No 93/577/P19 of July 1993 seasonal, temporary and occasional jobs which extend beyond their legal tenure without termination will become converted to contracts of unspecified duration.
However, the termination and subsequent recruitment of a seasonal worker will not make his contract that of a specified duration. In the case of P and T Delegation Buea v AbahAleh Martin, it was thus held that a worker who was recruited to work from 1/7/94 to 30/9/94 was a seasonal worker.
The court of appeal Buea came to this conclusion because there was evidence to prove that, there was a yearly provision being made for the recruitment of seasonal workers in this institution.
A similar situation was seen in the case of Lay Private Education v Ebede Patrick Agiwhere it was held that a seasonal worker who was recruited and terminated before being re-employed on a permanent basis could not consider the period of temporal work in the calculation of general damages for the wrongful termination of employment
Types of Contracts of Employment in Cameroon
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